Stavanger, Norway was an 18 hour overnight visit for my cheap SAS/United flight home to San Francisco in late July. I stayed a couple of miles outside the city at Clarion Hotel Energy and took an evening stroll down to the waterfront to find out what I would find in Stavanger, the fourth largest city in Norway and so-called ‘oil capital’ of the country.
Having never been to Stavanger before I found myself in Hotel Energy in an area that looked like the suburbs of Stavanger. A cycling path to the city was outside the hotel door beside the main road the bus had taken to Stavanger from the airport. Google Maps showed the cycling route went directly into Stavanger and I followed the ‘Madlaruta’ walking 3 km from the hotel into town.
Within about ten minutes on the Madlaruta cyling path I passed from a built up mixed-use stadium and arena area around Clarion Hotel Energy on one side of the road and residential housing on the lake side of the road to find myself beside a large green park space separated from the cycling path by a fence.
Another 100 or so meters and the fence ended. I scampered down a muddy trail from the cycling path to the lake.
Swans on Mosvasnet Lake in Stavanger.
Mosvasnet is a city lake and became Stavanger’s drinking water and fire-fighting water source from 1863 to 1931. Stavanger needed more water capacity in the 20th century and developed another larger reservoir elsewhere. A look at Google Maps shows many lakes scattered around the Stavanger peninsula.
The area around the 110-acre Mosvatnet lake has been park land for more than 150 years. There were several joggers, cyclists and dog walkers around the lake.
Past the lake park I crossed the main road on a pedestrian/cycling bridge overpass and walked into a residential area. Norwegian houses have a distinctive style that seemed like familiar architecture to me after stays in a few other cities around Norway like Bergen, Harstad and Larvik over the past two years.
The most impressive aspect to me of this Stavanger residential street were the wide stone walls lining the street, topped with green turf.
Ledaal Royal Manor
On this same road I passed by a large open gate. The sign outside “Ledaal”.
Ledaal is a royal manor 1799-1803 built by the Kielland family.
The royal manor, Ledaal, was built as a summer residence for the Kielland family in 1799-1803. The owner was the merchant and court agent, Gabriel Scanche Kielland, the great-grandfather of the author Alexander Kielland.
The author himself has never lived at Ledaal, but was often among the guests at the wonderful parties that took place here. In Kielland’s novels one can recognize characteristics from life at the royal manor, the building and of the family members and others connected to Ledaal.
The site with its buildings and park is a national trust. The main building gives a good idea of contemporary styles and tastes, and of the social life of the upper class during the first half of the 1800s. The interior is richly furnished with furniture and other inventory in the rococo, Louis XVI, empire and Biedermier styles.
In addition to being a museum, Ledaal also functions as a royal residence and venue for official functions.
Wikipedia says Alexander Kielland is considered one of the four great Norwegian authors of 19th century literature. He stopped writing in his early 40s and focused on politics. He was mayor of Stavanger in 1891. Apparently he died from obesity and poor health in 1906 at the age of 57.
A few minutes later I walked out of the pastoral residential area and was in the tourist heart of Stavanger. Radisson Blu Royal Stavanger (70,000 Club Carlson points) on one side of the street and Clarion Hotel Stavanger (16,000 Choice Privileges points) across the street as the airport bus Flybussen.no passed by in front of the hotel. I have used Flybussen in Bergen several times too.
Google Maps shows 35 minutes to walk Clarion Hotel Energy to Clarion Hotel Stavanger. What sold me on Clarion Energy was availability of a suite for 12,000 points compared to a standard room for 16,000 points at Clarion Stavanger.
City blue Stavanger deserted streets.
Stavanger was surprisingly hilly in areas around the waterfront. Around the city of Stavanger are human figure statues.
A quick Google search explains the art project ‘Broken Column’ by London-based sculptor Antony Gormley. Broken Column consists of 23 iron sculptures 1.95 meters tall placed around Stavanger. The statue at Stavanger Fine Arts Museum is positioned at 41.41 meters above sea level and each statue around the city is positioned 1.95 meters lower with #23 positioned 1.23 meters below sea level in the harbor.
I went uphill through a residential area and back down again to the waterfront. People were lined up in cars waiting to board an auto ferry and people were waiting at the bus stop with backpacks and suitcases waiting for transportation. I walked into a shopping street, eerily quiet on a Monday evening around 7:30pm. I had been walking for over an hour and from the time I entered the dense city streets of downtown Stavanger I had only seen about 20 or so people on the streets, the living ones in motion and not mute statues.
Even locals try to be motionless.
Supposedly Stavanger gets something like 200,000 cruise ship tourists annually. There was only one cruise ship in port and still not too many tourists seen on the streets.
The old harbor is where Clarion Collection Hotel Skagen Brygge is located (20,000 Choice Privileges points). This was where I encountered the most people I saw in three hours walking around Stavanger.
Stavanger Brygge is the main wharf area with hotels and restaurants and a square a couple hundred meters near the building in my photo above. The wharf houses of Stavanger are older traditional fishing and trade harbor structures converted into restaurants and shops.
What I learned from researching my photos is I missed Stavanger Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Norway completed in 1150. I must have walked within 100 feet of the cathedral and did not notice it. No photos.
My eyes were attracted to the water feature in the city center.
Byparken, Stavanger city center near Stavanger Cathedral.
I spotted Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel Stavanger beside the park.
A quick stop inside the Radisson Blu for a pee and quick look around the hotel lobby and I was done with Stavanger sightseeing.
Of course I could have just emulated the locals for my nature break considering how deserted Stavanger’s streets were on a Monday evening in late July.
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Review Clarion Hotel Energy Stavanger, Norway.