Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

The pretty Old Town of Stavanger, Norway.

Looking like a collection of doll houses, this perfectly manicured community is the residential part of Gamle (old town) Stavanger, on the southwestern coast of Norway. Lovingly restored and maintained, 173 wooden houses from the 1700s wind along narrow walkways paved with cobblestones. It’s the largest collection of such houses in Western Europe.

Stavanger was originally nothing more than a pretty village with a well-sheltered harbor. It’s growth spurt started in 1125 when an English bishop came to build a cathedral. Like in so many other places during the early Middle Ages, the cathedral made the town, almost overnight. More people meant more commerce, and Stavanger grew into a fishing capital. Once herring stocks became scarce in the 1800s, the town turned to sardines, and a canning factory was built. By 1900, there were more than 50 sardine canneries here. Shipbuilding also filled the town’s coffers, and then, in the 1960s, Stavanger became Norway’s oil capital after oil was discovered in the North Sea.

For this shot, I had a perfect vantage point from an upper deck of our cruise ship.

Categories: Architecture, cruises, culture, History, Norway, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

  1. Jim

    Nice looking place. Shall I move there? How cold was it? Do they drive on the correct side of the road, or the right side? What is the rest of the town like?


    • Great questions Jim. I was there in July and it was in the 70s, so very comfortable, but I hear the winters are pretty cold. They drive on the Right side of the road! Like most towns, it’s a mix of old and new. I only saw the area around the port, but that was pretty impressive. Lots of restaurants and cafes and a delightfully charming shopping section with narrow walkable streets that wind around, lots of interesting small shops, and again, restaurants. What I saw was very livable, but whether you should move there or not is a question only you can answer (it’s not THAT far from where you are now, so I suggest a visit). One thing to consider: Norway is rather expensive throughout. I’ll be posting more on Stavanger, so stay tuned. 🙂


  2. Goodness gracious – we were wondering how you got the shot. Imagine how overwhelmed you might be living in one of those houses, looking out onto an immense cruise ship! We love the nordic countries.


    • If someone else had taken this shot, I’d be wondering how they did it, too. Helicopter maybe? I can only say that the height of those cruise ships really comes in handy for photography. Isn’t it amazing how close the ship is to the houses. It was that way in a lot of ports. I imagine the occupants get used to it. How many countries have you been to? Plenty, I’ll bet, in your line of work.


      • We’ve visited all countries in Europe that are part of the Pet Passport scheme and quite a few others that aren’t – but that’s always nerve wracking as it depends on how good a knowledge the person you’re dealing with on the day has as to whether there’s a battle or not! One of the strangest ports we’ve sailed into is Venice – now those cruise ships don’t half tower over that beautiful city!


    • I can only imagine the bureaucratic nonsense you have to deal with in those non-Pet Passport countries, but I can tell you are dedicated to what you do and the service you provide, no matter the hassles. As to Venice, yes, that would be quite a sight: a cruise ship towering over St. Mark’s Square and all the tiny canals. Incongruous, to say the least (but another great photo angle 🙂 ).


  3. I live in one of those ‘restored villages’. The collapse of the fishing fleet has made tourism our primary source of income. We so appreciate your visit!


    • I look forward to visiting restored villages, as I’m sure most tourists do, so we are happy to oblige. It’s a wonderful way to actually see and feel the history of a place. But I was wondering—don’t you feel a bit like you’re living in a fishbowl? I’d love to see your village. Do you have a link?


  4. Amazing it looks just like a model village


    • Great observation. It truly does! I can imagine Hans, the model maker, leaning over his little table-top town and placing the tiny canons at lower right 🙂 Jerry, my S.O., says it looks like Legoland. Ha.


  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I really thought this was a photo of a model village at first glance – amazingly cute:)


    • Things do seem cuter when they’re small, don’t they. Even people 🙂 When you’re on the ground, walking around this village, the houses are quite large and roomy and there are flower boxes everywhere. No cars allowed, thank goodness, on the cobblestone streets.
      I really enjoyed reading about Dinan on your blog. Please let me know when the Mont St. Michel post is up.


  6. Your amazing eye makes it look all too easy. Question: I follow your blog through my wordpress feed. Sometimes it gets buried, however. I noticed on the right hand widget that there are Gravatars of your followers, so I’m assuming that there is a subscribe by email option that I”m missing. Could you point me in that direction. I don’t want to miss a post of yours. If you have a FaceBook author’s page, please show me the way there as well.

    Much Mahalo,



    • Music to my eyes, Lara, when you said you don’t want to miss a post of mine. There is indeed a subscribe by email option. It’s a tiny button in the lower right corner of the lauhala mat background.
      I only have a FB personal page at the moment, and I’m not contributing much because this blog has taken over my life (in a good way). But I’m certainly happy to have you sign up as a friend if you’d like to . Eventually I will start a FB author’s page, too, and will definitely let you know.


    • Awwww! So kind of you to say 🙂


    • Oh dear. When you’re on my blog home page, can you take a screenshot and send it to me via email so I can see what you see. When I’m logged in, the Follow icon is top Left. When I’m logged out, it’s at bottom right, way in the corner of the background mat.


      • Oh, I’ve done that! I was wondering if you had an email subscription. I will just hunt for you in my feed. I just didn’t see my profile in your community.


    • Lara, I’m sorry for all the difficulty. I have added a new “follow this blog by email” wigit to my sidebar, so that should make things much easier for everyone who would like to follow me this way. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. Still learning how things work.


      • We are all still learning. That is what is great about community. We feel comfortable enough to ask the questions everyone else is thinking.


  7. Great shot, I was wondering how you got up there! Also I like your interpretation of growth


    • Thanks, Nicole. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. Perhaps I should have said I was hanging from a helicopter ladder to get the shot; that sounds more exciting. lol.
      It took me a while to choose a photo for growth. Everyone was doing such a wonderful, creative job with plants, I wanted to find something different.


  8. What a beautiful town.. 😉


  9. It really does looks like a dollhouse village.


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