Day 3 |
Jul 13, 2010

Kristiansand, Norway

By Astrid Guenther-Weigl, Biologist, Veterinarian

Co-ordinates: 58° 08’10’N, 007° 59’50’E
Weather: Sunny, blue sky
Air Temperature: 18°C
Pressure: 1009 hPa
Wind: 6.3 km per hour

We were on our way to Kristinsand when I woke up this morning. The sky was blue, the rain from yesterday had stopped, perfect conditions for another wonderful experience.

At 10.30 I went to The Theatre to listen to Toby Musgrave’s talk about Plant Hunters: Joseph Banks, William and Thomas Lobb, George Forrest and Joseph Hooker. It was fascinating to hear what adventures and hardships these adventurous botanists endured to bring back plants from the world’s remotest locations. The lecture ended just in time to see the ship arriving at the harbor of Kristiansand, the county capital of Vest-Agder County in Southern Norway.

Once the ship was cleared by the officials, everyone had the option to explore the town on their own. I went off for a short walk along the water’s edge and admired the beautiful red-colored wooden houses. The city of Kristiansand was named after its founder King Christian IV in 1641 and for the sandy land that the city was built on.

After an early lunch we disembarked for the day’s excursion. Our bus tour brought us first to the Vest-Agder county museum, an open-air museum with charming old buildings in a lush green environment. Unbelievable how small the houses were and how many people had to live in there. The 450-year-old farmhouses with their turf-covered roofs were impressive, but very dark inside.

Our next stop was at the old church of Sogne, Norway’s oldest half-timber church with wonderful baroque paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. But it was the drive back that I liked the most. The street went along deep valleys with dark blue shimmering waters and steep hills covered with red and white painted wooden Norwegian houses. After 20 minutes we reached the charming Hollen village.

After a short walk through Hollon Gata, beautiful with its white painted houses and nice yards, we arrived at the sea where everybody admired again the Norwegian architecture, the glittering waters and the many small private vessels.

After buying the most expensive coffee and chocolate I ever had, which I enjoyed nevertheless, we returned to the ship. Meanwhile it was after 5 p.m. and not much later we gathered in The Theatre for recap, which was as always very informative. Shoshanna and Claudia explained the difference between bird song and call, Toby told about giant trees and Kara provided us with information on whale hunting for further discussions.

An exquisite dinner with nice companionship and illuminated by sunlight streaming through The Restaurant windows at nine o’clock in the evening was the perfect end of a perfect day.