Destination Norway Day 6 Journal, Viking Kings and Norse Gods at Avaldsnes Haugesund

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.

 

Haugesund

Bus ride

 

Travel Tip: Hop in the first seat and get a great view! 

 

Haugesund by bus

The Little looking out the bus window taking int he view of rocks laced with salty waters.

 

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

Nothing but beautiful views in Haugesund.

 

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.

 

scandic hotel maratim haugesund

Our room at the Scandic Maratim Hotel rocked, very spacious and clean with a perfect view of the canal and wharf. PS best breakfast on our whole trip.

 

scandic hotel maratim haugesund 2

We had this beautiful sliding door that led to a patio with a glass enclosure that you could open all the way. It was so clear! Watching the sun set and rise over the colorful little wharf buildings was just so pretty.

 

 

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.

 

Viking statue

A Viking depicted at the Norwegian History Center

 

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:

#1

Avaldsnes Haugesund 17

The Norwegian History Center Is in the ground. A set of stairs (there’s a lift too) winds you into the earth landing you in a well appointed history center which takes you through 3,000 years across the ages and even touches a bit on Norse Mythology.

#2

Here we are playing an old Viking game. It's very interactive for kids with games, a classroom, and a fun audio tour with movies Would love this to be my living space... what a view!

The back of it is floor to ceiling glass opening up to the protected earth’s rolling green hills and mossy rocks laced with gentle waters. Here we are playing an old Viking game. Would love this to be my living space… what a view!

#3

The Little Fairytale Traveler Avaldsnes Haugesund 13

It’s very interactive for kids with games, a classroom, and a fun audio tour with movies. Here The Little is checking out Viking Age artifacts.

#4

Viking artifacts

There are Viking artifacts and killer displays. The rings were worn on the neck as a sign of power and great wealth. Usually by a King.

#5

avaldsnes 1

It’s been told by Snorre (Icelandic historian, poet, and politician) the God Odin came to Avaldsnes in 998 AD to tell King Olav Tryggvason great and wondrous stories about the past. It was also told that Thor waded in these waters.

#6

King Harald Fairhair

A replica of King Fairhair and his Queen Gyda. The unification of Norway is thought to have been founded on their love story as she refused him until he was “King over all of Norway”. He took a vow not to cut or comb his hair until it was so. He succeeded and is known as the 1st King of Norway and he reigned right here in Avaldsnes!

#7

Avaldsnes Haugesund 8

The beautiful untouched landscapes of Avaldsnes. The round entrance was built to symbolize Mime’s Well, the source of all knowledge and wisdom in Norse mythology.

#8

 

The unification of Norway is something of a love story. It begins with a marriage proposal that resulted in rejection and scorn from Gyda, the daughter of Eirik, king of Hordaland. She said she refused to marry Harald "before he was king over all of Norway". Harald was therefore induced to take a vow not to cut nor comb his hair until he was sole king of Norway, and when he was justified in trimming it ten years later, he exchanged the epithet "Shockhead" or "Tanglehair" for the one by which he is usually known.

Vikings believed the soul raised from the body after one’s passing. This is represented in this display at the Norwegian History Center

 

#9

The LIttle Fairytale Traveler Avaldsnes

Give yourself at least an hour and a half for this alone. This kid…He’s always being funny! The Little as a Viking ha!

#10

Avaldsnes Haugesund 13

How a person of importance would have been laid to rest inside a ship’s tomb as depicted here.

 

For the Avaldsnes website click here

Haugesund 3

The beautiful canal just on front of our hotel that runs the length of the city’s edge.

 

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.

 

Haugesund

More of this pretty waterside city.

 

Haugesund

Restaurants line the wharf here.

 

Egon Haugesund

The patio with its warm blankets at Egon. Loved it.

 

 

For more information check out Visit Haugesund. For trip planning to Norway VisitNorway.com! Check out my Yonderboxes for the cheapest hotel booking exclusive to my readers!

Special thanks to Visit Norway USA. While they and the local tourism offices are funding all air, hotels and meals, this in no way shapes my opinion of my journey through Norway. An additional thank you to Visit Haugesund for guiding us during our stay.

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About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

10 Comments on this post

  1. What an awesome trip, I love Nordic countries but have yet to go to Norway…it’s on my list! Joining in with #GlobalKids

  2. I love how interactive it is and that photo (no.9) is super cute!! The buildings look like something from a toy town. I’ve never been to Norway but it looks so atmospheric, I’ve got to get there soon!

    globalmouse / Reply
  3. […] It was under two hours and just as scenic as all the other trips through Norway. Like our trip to Haugesund, our bus was loaded onto another ferry which lent scenic views of the surrounding mountains and […]

  4. […] 2 days then to Stavanger where we had a city break and explored Vikings. Then we explored Haugesund, the homeland of the Viking Kings and […]

  5. […] 2 days then to Stavanger where we had a city break and explored Vikings. Then we explored Haugesund, the homeland of the Viking Kings and then Bergen! Now we’re in […]

  6. […] Hair united the three districts of Norway into one kingdom. (More on this later from Avaldsnes, home of the Viking Kings). The crowns on the swords represent the different districts which took part in the […]

  7. […] This towering monument commemorates the legendary Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872, after which Viking King Harald Fair Hair united the three districts of Norway into one kingdom. Of all the Viking sites this is one […]

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