Picking up where we last left off, Zak was on his way to Stavanger. We had plans to meet at the local bus station in Stavanger, but without cell service in Norway, I was a bit nervous something would go wrong and I’d spend the better part of the afternoon searching for him. Luckily everything worked out perfect! I gave him the biggest hug ever and we set off to check into our hotel.
Norway just so happens to be one of the more expensive countries in Europe. I ate lunch in the airport and got the cheapest sandwich I could find – 70 KRON, about the same as $12. Granted it was in the airport, but nonetheless. So the first thing we did after checking in was go grocery shopping. Not only would we have gone broke from eating out everyday, but due to the Easter holiday, we were afraid a lot of places would be closed. We picked up a few apples, bananas, bread, peanut butter, jelly, chorizo, cheese and some chips for about $40. It could have been worse. Here is a great photo of Zak enjoying our gourmet dinner our first night in Norway.
The next morning we had plans to attend an English mass at the local cathedral, but we woke up early only to be disappointed. We were the only ones who showed up for the English mass and it seemed the church crew was using this opportunity to practice their hymns. Instead, we went back to the hotel, ate breakfast and waited for the 11am Norwegian mass. This mass was much more busy; so busy that my view the entire time was a large stone column. Good thing I understood what they were saying… not quite. But it was interesting anyways. For communion, it was somewhat of a “free for all.” Everyone heads towards the alter, grabs a mini-chalice and takes turns kneeling at a semi-circle pew near the priest. He comes around, gives communion, servers follow filling your goblet with wine. Then that group stands up and heads back to their seats, as new parishioners fill the pew.
Since we had already seen the ins-and-outs of the teeny city center of Stavanger, we decided to explore a little father outside the limits. We walked towards the coast and followed it for awhile then took turns choosing left or right. We found ourselves in quaint neighborhoods full of mini-houses and green roofs. When we finally wandered back to the center, 5 miles later, we took a break with some slackline. Slackline is a pretty trendy sport in the states right now, and we were thrilled when we found a public, 24hour one near the harbor.
Since our chorizo was all gone and there was no fridge to save the last of our cheese, we decided to go out to eat for dinner. We landed at a restaurant (referred to me by a local I met on the bus from the airport, Sara) named Egon. We both got burgers (we needed fuel for our big hike tomorrow), and besides my semi-soggy bottom bun – they were great! Best burger I’ve had in Norway by far ;). I asked Sara for a typical Norwegian dish that I had to try and she replied by telling me a lot of Norway has been taken over by fastfood and chain restaurants and I would have to set up a date with someone’s grandma to enjoy some homey Norwegian cooking. So burgers would do.
We were anxious to get to bed that night because the following morning we would be catching the first ferry over to Tau to hike to the top of Preikestolen, a.k.a. Pulpit Rock (which is what my next post will be about!), and needed as much rest as we could get. We fell asleep that night to Tom Hank’s castaway and I hoped it wasn’t a premonition to our climb.
By the time Tuesday came around, our last day in Stavanger, we were a little burnt out. I was craving tortilla de patata and dying to show Zak the city I had spent the last 3 months in. We slept in past the continental breakfast and were left with two choices – bread and jam or cornflakes. We opted for both. We set off to explore any remaining back alleys we had missed in the days prior and got some cool photos out of it. Before heading to the Oslo airport we met up with someone I had met in my short time in Stavanger, Sara. She is from a small Norwegian city close to Oslo but is studying to become a nurse in Stavanger. We met on the bus from the airport and she offered to meet up for pizza that night to welcome me to the city. We chatted over ham and pineapple pizza and she told me all there was to know about the charming port city of Stavanger. This time we just met up for a drink on our way out of town, as she had not yet met Zak. I promised her she had a couch to sleep on if she ever made it to Ohio and she said she’d take me up on it, as she and a friend really want to drive from the East coast to the West, but are waiting until they are old enough to rent a car.
And with that, we were off for the Oslo airport where we would spend 10 quick hours in a shanty airport motel room before finally settings sails for the homeland – Spain! I was ecstatic to show Zak Sanse and hopefully sway him into realizing its the best city in all of Spain!
Good luck to my friends at home as they are nearing finals week! Can’t wait to see all of you!