Rogaland was one of my favorite areas of Norway and a place I’d like to return to in better weather to see where the ocean meets the fjords. At its heart lies Stavanger, Europe’s oil center with charming wooden houses clustered together in a quiet downtown.
After a night of pizza and rest at the merely-functional-but-still-expensive Skansen Hostel we were on the road early to catch the ferry from Stavanger to Tau. First, though, we stopped at the swords in the stone monument near Stavanger where Norway’s joining under a single ruler is commemorated by three towering viking swords. The guidebook noted that there were viking carvings nearby the monument, but after hunting for them for several minutes without success we hurried back to the car to get out of the rain.
Following a quick and foggy ferry ride we stopped at Solbakk to see more viking carvings and which, this time, we luckily were able to locate on a rock along the water. Why the vikings chose this spot in 500 B.C. to create their religious drawings of ships and sun is unknown, but were I a viking I, too, would worship the sun and the main transportation mode in the land.
Our plans for a hike to the country’s top view of the Lysefjord, the pulpit’s rock, was, once again foiled by the weather. By chance we stopped instead at what our guidebook described as a pre-historic settlement, Landa park. The park turned out to be more of an under construction living history museum built on grounds where a pre-historic settlement once sat circa 2,000 B.C. The land was recently purchased by a German family of carpenters who are hoping to turn the park into a real attraction with demonstrations on viking life and a campground, and, from looking at their Facebook page it seems as though they are well on their way after a successful summer season. Though it was not officially open during our pre-season visit we received a private tour and demonstration in a smattering of German and English by the papa who was most proud of his garden.