Stavanger had 3 periods of good fortune, beginning with the herring, which departed. Fortunately, in the 1900’s, it was the sardines, and many a time I can remember King Oscar Sardines in a tin that my mother used to make into sandwiches. Apparently, there’s a good chance that they came from Stavanger. It is now a city of 115,000, the 4th largest in a country of 4.5 million.
Off we went by a well air-conditioned bus, in contrast to the older, feebler air-conditioning of the Alesund bus, which combined with the very last seat, under the rear window, and unseasonable hot temperatures created our very own Norwegian sauna. Talking with another couple who took Tuesday’s train from Vik to Flam, the one we were wait-listed for, but didn’t get, we were extremely fortunate, as it, too, lacked air-conditioning, but had very abundant glass area. They baked!
Well, if it’s Norway, there’s got to be a folk museum. This time, we were whisked off to the iron age, about 500 AD, and a small farm, with a lovely blonde guide wearing a blue green dress. This color was achieved by some interaction between plant material and urine. Lovely!
From there, to a TV tower, where the city lay below. Then a cobblestone walk to Old Stavanger with many interesting preserved white houses, quite close to the quay.
On the tour bus, we met Byron, a retired pharmacist, who worked for Upjohn in OB and oncology medication, and is in the process of moving from western North Carolina to Johnson City, TN. We also met Dale, from Huntsville, AL, who retired from the army as a lieutenant colonel after time in ranger school and parachute school. I did not have the opportunity to get his opinion of Andrew Bacevich’s view of the new American Militarism…. I suspect we wouldn’t have enjoyed a political conversation, either.
Stavanger was the home of Rolf or Rollo who made his way down to Normandy apparently pillaging as Vikings were want to do in their prime. It was these Viking descendants, including William who visited England, ending the Anglo Saxon kingdom, dethroning Harold in 1066. But you all knew that! Did you know that Harold the Fair Haired united Norway in the 800’s before it came into the Danish kingdom, and long before Norway separated itself, peacefully, from Sweden in 1905.
At dinner, it was education night. Tom was a recently retired school librarian, from the pit of Camden, NJ. He is married to Nancy, an administrator of Christian school in a Philadelphia suburb and she described a very happy work experience. Tom had been attacked by his students. Jack, who taught business courses in high school, is married to Carol, who is a college administrator at Arizona State University. Everyone seemed to feel that “No Child Left Behind,” is a loss. The Beef Wellington, at dinner, was a gain, however.