This is journal entry 6, our fifth day in Norway in which we explored Avaldsnes in Haugesund, Norway.
My six-year-old son and I have embarked upon a 14-day Eurail trip from Oslo, Norway to Bodo in the Arctic Circle. We started in Oslo for 2 days then to Stavanger where we had a city break and explored Vikings. Today we explored Haugesund, the homeland of the Viking Kings. Follow our Daily Journal Entries on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with #VisitNorwayUSA.
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Traveling to Haugesund via Stavanger
It was another early morning for us. We were going to take the five minute walk from our Radisson Blue Royal Hotel in Stavanger to the bus station however, we were met with rain and hail. So, we opted for the taxi instead. Please note, the walk to the bus station is very easy and downhill.
This was our first bus ride in Norway. We had no real idea what to expect. Bus travel in the states is not that glamorous to say the least, but we were adventurously optimistic. To our surprise, the bus was very nice with huge windows and wi-fi. We hopped on and settled in. We were happy to be there on time, and to be warm. Off we went.
Travel Tip: Hop in the first seat and get a great view!
The three hour bus ride to Haugesund is absolutely killer. The coolest part is that it takes a ferry! Yeah! There we were, minding our own, when all of a sudden the bus drives right onto a ship! In all my travels, I have never been on a bus, on a ship! The Little was cracking up. We grabbed our valuables and hit the deck. Upstairs there’s a service level where you can get pretty much anything to eat. The cruise was so cool. A nice breath of fresh air and a view. Who would have thunk it. Before we knew it we were back on the bus and just like that, we drove off right into the flow of traffic. What a trip!
Travel Tip: We LOVED, like LOVED, LOVED the pancakes folded in half with buttercream in the center. Slap some blueberry jam on that and OMG, heaven. Super cheap too!
Haugesund, Norway First Impression
We were met by this super nice and bouncy guide from the Haugesund Tourism Office. She was so nice to pick us up. It was pretty cold and very windy. A quick five minute drive landed us at the Scandic Hotel Maritim. It was beautifully located right on the canal where all the happenings are, well, happening.
Travel Tip: Get the higher room, you get a better view of the wharf. The gym is from the 80’s don’t bother. I thought Jane Fonda was going to pop out in a unitard.
Things were pretty quiet in Haugesund. It was Easter week so, the only things open were restaurants. Still, we were eager to check it all out, but not until we took a little trip to Avaldsnes, the home of the Viking Kings.
A Little History Nibble About Vikings and Norse Mythology
- The Iron Age in Norway 500 BC – 800 AD – ish Viking Age 793-1066 AD
- Vikings were farmers, artists, craftsmen and amazing storytellers
- They whittled wood into wondrous creations often depicting the Gods
- They built incredibly fast ships
- Both men and women trained intensely for battle (women were called Shield Maidens)
- We know little about the actual ‘Pagan Religion’ which Vikings followed as it was handed down by ancestors of the Iron Age
- We know far more about the ‘myths’ -stories that survived the transition to Christianity as they were made into tales and myths much like those in Ireland hence, Norse Mythology
- Their storytelling of these myths were so profound they made it into Old Norse Prose called Eddas (wonderful literary works which represent the old pagan beliefs as folk tales) in Iceland some 200 years after their conversion to Christianity
- These legends are still so mystical and intriguing, they have stood to influence some of the greatest stories of all time
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, H.C. Andersen and Marvel Comics all use references of Norse Mythology
For more information on Viking and Norse Mythology go here
Avaldsnes, Home of the Viking Kings
After a few minutes of driving we arrived to Avaldsnes, the oldest throne of Norway and home to Viking King Harald Fairhair. This was home to not only Vikings, but many of their Iron Age ancestors. It’s here where legends of Gods and heros come together, and you can feel every bit of that magic as soon as you arrive to this special place.
It was pretty cold. We really wanted to go to the Viking farm but the wind and frigid temperatures wouldn’t have it. So, we opted to explore the Norwegian History Center instead. Here are 10 things to know about the Norwegian History Center at Avaldsnes:
For the Avaldsnes website click here
A Quick City Break Photo Lineup of Haugesund
We were bummed that we couldn’t see the Viking Farm but there will be next times. We were starving and I wanted to get some blue light shots of this beautiful city. So we hit the wharf and snapped our way to Egon’s, a super adorable, family-friendly, little chain restaurant with loads of meal choices (which we loved..even pizza). Then called it a night.