Arriving at 7AM would not be our choice for a port visit arrival time as we prefer to get started later in the day when it is a little warmer and more of the shops are open. But 7AM it was and we would have to make the best of the time we had especially with an all aboard of 3:30 PM.
Kristiansand is the 5th largest city in Norway with a population of almost 90,000 people.
The ship moored within an easy walk of the city and very near a small harbor with some restaurants and shops called “The Fish Market”. We left the ship around 11 AM and headed off to town to visit several yarn shops that were close by.
Once on the pier we spotted a large stuffed moose that was used as a backdrop for the ship’s photographers when taking pictures of passengers leaving the ship. The photographers were long gone by this time, but we spotted them using the moose as a backdrop earlier from our cabin.
As we walked down the street towards town we spotted the Kilden Performing Arts Centre across the harbor. Completed in 2012 it looks very modern and we learned later that it will seat around 1,000 people.
The weather was beautiful and we walked about ¼ mile until we arrived at “The Fish Market”. This was one of those areas with lots of open air seating with people strolling about and it was very tempting to grab a seat and enjoy the weather and watch the world go by. If we had more time we probably would have done that, but we had to press on to get to the four yarn shops on our schedule.
Along the way we came across several sand sculptures in a park. We couldn’t tell why they were constructed but we learned later that Kristiansand occasionally hosts a sand sculpture symposium. The sculptures were starting to deteriorate, but were still in pretty good condition.
Markens Gate is one of the main streets and a pedestrian-only mall for a large part of the street. There was an interesting collection of shops and restaurants that we wish we had more time to explore.
Our first stop was Hobby Hymmelen, a store much like Jo-Ann Fabrics, that has a variety of craft supplies, fabric and a small yarn section. The yarns were mostly heavier weight than Judy likes to knit and she didn’t buy any.
Across the street from Hobby Hymmelen was Langfelt Garn, the oldest yarn shop in Kristiansand with a very nice selection of local and European yarns. Ase Helene and Kirsten Marie welcomed us into their shop and were very helpful.
Annemor Sundbo is an accomplished designer and author with a studio near the edge of the central area of Kristiansand, a little over a mile from the ship. She was meeting small groups of knitters throughout the day to show us her studio and explain what she does. We arrived about 1:45 and her presentation started at 2PM. It was very interesting and we learned more about her efforts to document and preserve the knitting patterns knit years ago.
We left at 2:30 to head back to the ship and would have time to visit our final yarn shop, Karmin, on the way. The shop has three large rooms with a big selection of yarn. Judy was intrigued with the cones of yarn lined along the top of the shelves, but she didn’t have room in the suitcases to buy any.
Another nice benefit of the ship mooring close to town is that you can return right before the all aboard time as there is less risk of being late due to transportation issues. We retraced our steps back thru town and arrived back on board with 5 minutes to spare.
Back in the room, we pulled out our suitcases and started to get everything organized for our departure tomorrow. We will be heading straight to the airport to catch an 11:45 flight so we would be leaving the ship in the first wave.
Our final dinner was just as wonderful as our first. The dessert was Baked Alaska but the days of the flaming Baked Alaska parade are long gone – along with sparklers or anything else. In fact, there was no parade at all, but the Cruise Director did announce the Chefs who came out of the galley to accept some recognition from the enthusiastic diners.
Tomono Kawamura, a classical pianist, was on the main stage this evening. We enjoyed her performance very much and she amazed the crowd with an original song she composed when she was 12.
After the show we headed back to our cabin to finish packing and get ready for a long travel day tomorrow.
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