Friday 12th September 2014, 7.50am (day 1,114)
Last day in Stavanger. I was waiting for my bus back to the airport, and on the other side of the road, these guys were waiting for their bus to, wherever. I’m home now — and hopefully, so are they.
There is nothing to admire technically or aesthetically about this picture but this is one of those occasions where it makes it onto this blog because it truly encapsulates the day and tells a story. Back at the turn of the millennium I wrote my PhD on the work of this guy, Jürgen Habermas, who I — and a lot of other people — would say is the world’s greatest living political theorist. Largely through coincidence he was giving a public lecture in Stavanger this week when I happened to be here, so I got the chance, after all this time, not just to hear him talk but meet him and question him on his work. The musical equivalent (for me) would be to, say, have turned up somewhere random and found Ian Curtis or Jello Biafra giving a gig (and the former has been dead for 34 years). And another thing — Habermas is 85 years old but is also a brilliant advert for never ever retiring, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone his age who’s so hale and mentally alert, and also still obviously gives a crap about everything. Yes, we can say that today, I met one of the heroes of my life and was certainly not disappointed. Not bad for a Thursday.
Spectacularly gorgeous day today in Stavanger, as nice a day of weather as I’ve experienced anywhere. I was not the only one thinking that the best way to end the working day was to sit outside in the sun and enjoy a beer. Taken outside the ‘Dickens’ pub (so called because Charles Dickens was not Norwegian and probably never came to Stavanger in his life).
Day 1,111 of the blog, so something of a numerical curiosity, and worth trying to mark with a decent photo, at least. This is the old Port of Stavanger, still used by cruise ships and tourist fjord cruises, caught in the evening light but with a dark and stormy sky behind — though the storm never actually came. I like the single seagull caught in the rays.
My knowledge of ornithology is not that fine-tuned, so I can’t identify which of the 40 or so species this is, but it’s definitely a cormorant. I’m travelling again — this is taken in Norway, but not on the sea: instead, this fine specimen was resting on Stavanger’s city centre lake, Breivatnet, which has featured on the blog before.
Home from Norway this morning on the twice-weekly Stavanger-Manchester flight. All of Norwegian’s planes have some Scandinavian historical personage of note on the tail fin, but I thought this was a particularly good one. I admit this picture is slightly out-of-focus, but it did best encapsulate the day.
Stavanger is the fourth-biggest city in Norway (and the first three have also featured on this blog at some point — Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, in that order). It is the home of the Norwegian oil industry, and totally dominated by it — the university has a big mock oil rig right in the centre of the campus, and I bet you anyone you talk to in a bar or at the airport (unless it happens to be me) will be working on some petroleum-related task. This picture is taken over the pool of Breivatnet, which prettifies the city centre. And another thing you can tell from this picture — it’s nearly winter…
Yes, I’m travelling again – couple of days’ work in Norway. But after this trip I’m at home, at least am projected to be at home, for four and a half months, by far the longest such period since I started this blog. So I’ll have to find inspiration there. I’m sure I can do it.
Yes, I also spend a lot of time in pubs, I admit it, but that also means I appreciate a good one and the Cardinal certainly is good — I would go so far as to say that it’s the best I’ve found in Norway. Stunningly broad (if expensive) range of beers, great atmosphere: definitely a prime example of the genre. You’ll find it on the street called Skagen, close to the quayside in the city centre.
Last picture of this Norwegian tour. Time I spent some weeks at home. I could claim this little cache resided beside some grand fjord, but actually, this nest was to be found literally in a car park of the University of Stavanger. The seagull whose eggs these were was around, watching me very carefully: as I would, in similar circumstances, I guess.