Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jaeren and Hundvag

We successfully made it through our first week of work!  Everyone in the office is very friendly and helpful.  We will hopefully be starting Norwegian lessons soon.  Unfortunately, the lessons are for Bokmal (the official written language of Norway) but most Norwegians around here speak a dialect specific to Stavanger.  I guess no one said it would be easy..  We are excited to try, though, out of respect for those around us that are constantly speaking to us in their own second (sometimes third or fourth) language -English.  It is very inspiring!

With the end of our first work week came our first official weekend in Stavanger.  It was kicked off by a happy hour at Timbuktu, a bar/restaurant on the harbor.  Jeff and I decided to eat at the restaurant before the happy hour began (Norwegian happy hours generally start after 7 to give everyone a chance to eat at home and take cabs to the bar).  The restaurant served fish dishes and sushi - and it was scrumptious.  A cod for Jeff and maki for me!  We made it home fairly early so that we could have a head start on our first adventure..

Saturday - Jaeren Drive and Lighthouse Tour
Sources of Inspiration - Norway National Tourist Roads and Lighthouse Tour

Using the links above made planning for this little day trip very easy and we will definitely be using both sites again.  Another great one is Visit Norway.  Aside from using this blog as a way to store our memories and share our stories, I'm going to try to document our trips so that others may use them as inspiration for their own!

A map, of course!
We started our drive from Stavanger and headed North to the (1) Tungenes Lighthouse. While the weather was less than perfect being cold and windy, at least it wasn't raining!  The light snow on the ground also added to the dramatic landscapes. It will be interesting to visit these places again in a different season.  The wind was especially piercing at this lighthouse so there aren't too many other pictures to share

Tungenes Lighthouse
We hugged the coast on the rest of our drive rather than taking the main highways.  This led us to a beach and a view of the (2) Feistein Lighthouse.  The pictures of the lighthouse weren't near as exciting as those of Pistol and I hiking, of course, but you can still see it on the horizon on the left side of the picture below.  By the way, if it weren't for my husband, pictures like this wouldn't exist.  It was a little bit of a climb after parking the car on the side of the road.  I'm glad he makes me more adventurous :)

As we continued driving south, we saw many signs for beaches (strand in Norwegian).  As is our habit, we made a few stops along the way to check them out.  Many have public parking and even with the inclement weather the lots were full.  We have heard many times - there is no bad weather in Norway, only bad clothing.  The beach goers we saw certainly lived up to this saying - all parkas and gloves on this day.  One beach in particular had a boardwalk through the dunes from the parking lot and a great view from the top of the dunes, as you can see below.  Snow on the beach was certainly a first for us!

Our next stop was the (3) Obrestad Lighthouse, with its interesting mural, followed by the (4) Kvassheim Lighthouse.  At this point, the sandy beach had turned to stone and it was still quite windy as you can see by Pistol's ears.


The area between all the lighthouses is known as Jaeren and is very agricultural in nature.  This means it is relatively flat.  The geography quickly changed as we drove furthur south toward (5) Egersund, morphing into rocky hills separated by smooth lakes.  It's no wonder that this drive is one of the National Tourist Roads.  We turned back at Egersund, once the largest fishing harbor in Norway, and made it to our apartment in time for dinner at our favorite Thia place in the sentrum - Manee Thai!

Sunday - Lundsneset Walk in Hundvag
Source of Inspiration: Lundsneset Walk

We slept in again - I love weekends.  We really didn't have much planned for the day so, over a breakfast of cereal and bananas, we decided to take a walk based on the suggestion of our new favorite site (linked above).  Hundvag is an island north of Stavanger and only a five minute drive away - how could we resist?  Good thing we didn't because between the sea, mountains, sheep, and cute houses it was wonderful.  

By the way, we have been heeding the advice of our Norwegian orientation leader, Gene, and I wanted to share it.  He suggested we explore our immediate area first and work outwards versus taking a big trip to Spain in our first month.  This way, the little things around us would still feel special.  I know he must be right if I get this excited about an afternoon walk!  

Hope you all had a great weekend too!  

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