Monday, September 27, 2010

Cruise Journal #8--Kristiansand, Norway

The "white city" of Kristiansand

We docked at Kristiansand, our last port in Norway, on August 9th. Three years ago we also visited this port, and Bob, our travel companions Jo and Ray, and I all recalled especially the open air museum we saw on that visit, one of the cruise excursions outside of the town. This time we decided to stay in town and explore on our own.

Almost as soon as we got off the ship, we came to a location quite familiar to all of us—one where we had walked in the afternoon on that other cruise. Another fish market! But this one was enclosed, and it was in an area of most attractive shops and restaurants, built around an inlet where ducks peacefully swam.

Bob admiring lobsters!

Check out the slipping
trousers on this troll!
From there we headed for the City Center. Kristiansand is built on a grid, and thus it is easy to find your way around. Along the way we came across a display of impressive sand sculptures.  In addition to the sand sculptures, we immediately identified a "real" sculpture and knew it must be one of Vigeland's; sure enough, we found a plaque that proved us to be correct.

boy riding a polar bear, by Vigeland

Kristiansand Domkirke
In the main square in town was an imposing cathedral, Kristiansand Domkirke, which faced a lush park with many lovely flower gardens. This cathedral is the fourth to be built on this site. It was completed in 1865, after a fire five years earlier.

From there we sought out the area known as Posebyen. In Kristiansand’s early days as a fortress and garrison town, the soldiers lived in private houses in what has now become the best-preserved part of the old town. The name Posebyen stems from the French reposer, meaning to rest (French was the military language of the time.) These small, attractive, white houses have survived several fires and the threat of demolition. Nowadays, Posebyen is a fashionable place to live, and the historic houses are maintained in pristine condition by their inhabitants. The popularity of white-painted houses here has led to Kristiansand’s nickname, “the white city.”

We were in Kristiansand on a Monday, and we were amazed at how many residents seemed to be not working, but sitting at ease in the many sidewalk cafes, shopping, relaxing in the park. Soon a sign informed us that this day was the beginning of a weeklong Summer Festival, Sommerfesten!

The next day we sailed for Copenhagen and our long flight home, after a wonderful 18 days spent cruising in the Lands of the Midnight Sun!

After many days we finally saw another sunset!


  1. Super post! The cathedral is imposing. I love cathedrals. Once again the calm waters. I'm not sure what the troll is doing besides losing his pants. The boy riding the bear. I wonder how many kids 'ride' that sculpture. The white houses are classic.

  2. What a peaceful time you seemed to have -- all the scenes are serene,,,a beautiful, interesting, relaxing cruise ---

  3. Well hooray for the sanity of a weeklong summerfest. Love Octoberfest and for all the other seasons as well. Smart people.I enjoyed seeing the architecture and the witty sculpture, sand and stone and hearing the derivation of the "white city" name!