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Published: June 26th 2014
Kristiansand Norway 23-25 June 2014
We had another lovely drive from Treungen on 23 June, again, following a rivers & fjord to Kristiansand . We decided to call into the Kristiansand Zoo & Amusement Park before getting into the town as we wanted to see some Nordic animals, just in case we don't see any in the wild. All we have seen so far was one female elk.
The park was huge. It had an Asian, Nordic, African, fishing, local farming, jungle, pirate and rides and games sections. We saw the lions being fed and then the Nordic animals (Lynx, wolverine, wolf, fox). We were there for over 3 hours but I am sure some of the families would be there all day as there were water slides and other rides. We saw lots of little children dressed up as pirates - very cute.
We then drove into Kristiansand and checked out the ferry terminal, changed our ferry time as we were ahead of our schedule by 6 days. These long days facilitates so much more time to do and see things. It is fantastic. Kristiansand was a town we had quickly driven through nearly 3 weeks ago,
after we left Oslo. We are going to catch a car ferry back to Denmark in a couple of days, on 23/6.
Kristiansand is located on Norway’s southern coast and has long been a favourite summer holidays spot among Norwegians. The sea and surrounding fjords are perfect for recreational activities like fishing and sailing. Kristiansand is the business and cultural capital of Southern Norway. Nicknamed “the coolest riviera” by the media, it is a modern city with a cosmopolitan history.
The port has a lot of cruise ship arrivals in the summer, and is one of the biggest cruise ship ports in Norway. From the cruise ship port, is a walking distance to city centre. The town's centre is quite compact, which means that everything is within walking distance.
We parked our motor home near the ferry terminal and then walked into town.
The town is set out on a grid system with one of the major roads being a pedestrian mall. Here, all the restaurants, cafes, tourist info and some shops were.
Kristiansand Cathedral was impressive in the Neo-Gothic style, which was by the square and tourist information centre, in the very centre of
town. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Norway. Beautiful inside and was worth visiting to see the chandeliers, the 4 wooden statues of Mathew, Mark, Luke & John, and the paintings.
We visited the Fisherman's Warf (Fiskebrygga) were we saw lovely restaurants and fish mongers at work. There were plenty of live fish and crayfish in tanks in the Fish Market. We saw locals arriving in their boats and anchor up here. On the Tuesday, when we went back, we have a beautiful fish dish at one of the restaurants. Later that night, we went back to listen to a concert which was being held as part of the summer season celebrations.
The boardwalk was next, (Strandpromenaden
) alongside the seafront, which led us through beautiful parks, Norway's second largest fountain park, and a public beach - Bystranda, the Town Beach. We then walked along the rest of the waterfront which included a Christiansholm Fort (built in 1672 by Frederik 3rd)
The next day we visited Posebyen which is what's left of Kristiansand's old town. It still occupies several blocks on the eastern part of the town centre. Here we saw small, white, single-storey, wooden houses
occupy a whole block. Very peaceful just a few minutes' walk from the busy shopping streets.
On the Tuesday, we rode our bikes towards the city (2kms) to visit the Agder Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden and Gimle Gård which are two museums, located at Gimle, east of river Otra. In the botanical garden we found a collections of trees and plants from the local area. As soon as we arrived, we saw the very substantial white wooden, 2 story Gimle gård is a former mansion, now a museum. We got a feel for it by looking through gates and windows....as both were closed!!!!
Next we rode to Baneheia Park in Kristiansand which is a lovely park just outside the city centre. It is surrounded with steep cliffs and had lush natural areas. There were also 5-6 beautiful lakes of different sizes and shapes. While we were riding around, we were hoping the very black cloud and the thunder we had started to hear, was heading away from us. Fortunately it did.
We then rode about 1.5kms to Odderoya which is an island joined to the mainland at the Fish market and Performing Arts Centre. Our
bike skills were challenged here as it was incredibly hilly. A number of times we got off and walked our bikes up the hills. We saw many battery points from WW2, with excellent views towards Denmark.
After that we rode back to our campsite, relaxed with a coffee before packing up and driving to the Kristiansand Cannon Museum, where we found the world's second largest cannon ever to be mounted on land. It was mounted by the occupying German forces in 1940 to guard the shipping lanes of the Skagerak.
A bit on cycling in Kristiansand: There are dedicated bike lanes along most of the main roads. All the bike ways are well marked for direction and with distances. Oh we wish Australia had as many bike facilities as in Europe. And Norway's cities are a lot smaller that in Australia.
At about 5.00pm we drove back into the city and went back to the Fish Markets as there was a concert being held. This happens every Tuesday & Thursday during the summer. the bands are funded by all the restaurants which would be fantastic business for them. There was a local group who were performing, who
were excellent entertainers. All the locals loved them and were singing along with them.
After watching the concert and having dinner, we parked with all the other motor homes, in the line at the Ferry Terminal, ready to drive onto the ferry the next morning. This is the great benefit of having a motor home, you can camp anywhere.
We caught the Fjordline Ferry at 6.45am to Hirtshals in northern Denmark. This was after we were woken at 4.45am by ferry staff. We had to go into a different line of vehicles. Once we got in a new line and we had to wait again, I had my shower on board and made some coffee.
Loading a big car ferry was a precise logistical task and the staff were obviously a well oiled machine with fitting vehicles with different height, length, width, weight..and not to mention motorbikes, ATVs etc. We got away on time for our 2 hrs 15 mins journey.
It was goodbye to Norway for the time being but we will be visiting the northern region up to the North Cape after Iceland and Sweden.
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