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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
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Reports

Friday, 31 August 2001
Sandnes --> Stavanger (N)

I was brought from Sandnes to Stavanger where I met the future music artist Geert Jan and his wife Gry. At night Geert Jan and I went out and I experienced a strange night in limo's, free entrances and free drinks. What am I as I get things for free?
Monica woke me up this morning at 9.30am. When I had my shower I got downstairs in the kitchen and saw that the table was all set for my breakfast.

Monica poored in coffee as I read a note from John Are where he tells me that Monica will drive me to Stavanger tonight and he already had to go to work.

I had breakfast and after playing with the cat it was getting time to get backed again and we loaded the car with my backpack.

Monica drove me to Stavanger, making a quick stop at John Are's job for a goodbye, and we passed the famous Three Swords at Hafrsfjord, the inlet of the North Sea.

Viking Harold I won (in 872) a decisive victory there that made him king of all Norway.

Monica dropped me in front of the Aftenbladet newspaper of Stavanger, where a reporter from this newspaper wanted to meet up with me.

Eventually he let me wait 15 minutes and then took me out for a walk. On the streets he talked most of the time and asked a few questions. He said that most of the questions are answered on the website and halfway up to the park we met the photographer who instantly took pictures of me.

The reporter thanked me for the quick conversation and had to run to the park with his photographer as he had to report about a teachers' strike going on there.

I've never had such an bewilderd interview.

It was 11.15 and I explored the centre of Stavanger, with its wooden houses and small streets. And ended up at the Oil Museum at the fjords inlet.


Stavanger has always been a place where people arrive over land and continue by ship or the other way round.

It has been assumed that the church was built in 1125 and the city has been celebrating anniversaries based on that. But the year is under discussion now.

Sigurd Jorsalfare - his name means Sigurd the Crusader - was king when Stavanger Cathedral was built. He donated land for the support of the bishopric.

He had been denied divorce by the bishop in Bergen. The Church at this point was too strong for him to just get rid of a bishop. Besides he was a Christian man, a crusader; so the story is that he bought himself out by installing another bishop further south.

The Vikings, as you know, sometimes behaved badly when travelling abroad, but that is not the whole truth about them. They were also merchants and clever craftsmen. They made lasting contributions to European art, technology and language.

They founded Dublin, they founded York. They established the oldest still existing parliament in Europe, at the Isle of Man (see my report about these places). And they brought the word law to the English language.

The Viking era in England started at Lindisfarne. That was where the first documented attack on the British Isles took place in 793. In the South the Viking era ended exactly when the Norman Conquest began, in 1066.

During these nearly 300 years, Norway went from being an area where a number of little kingdoms were constantly at war with each other, to becoming a well organized Christian nation under one king.

The Norwegian seas and oceans have was the heaven for fishermen of all types, and Stavanger has always been an important port to the sea. But when the fishing industry disappeared, oil became a life saver. And still is the main industry in Stavanger.


I called my host in Stavanger around 2pm and let him now I was in Stavanger. He told me that he lives just outside Stavanger, but he'd take the bus and pick me up in the centre.

It was the Geert Jan Nilsen who introduced himself to me half an hour later.

Geert Jan is originally Dutch, but has been living in Norway for the last sixteen years. His mother married a Norwegian man and the family had moved back and forth to Holland and finally stayed in Norway.

We walked to the bus stop at the Cathedral of Stavanger and I got to know him better. He once read an article about me in a Norwegian newspaper and invited me over, as Stavanger was not on my places-to-go-list.

He once was a graphic designer at the press and information office in the Norwegian military, but when doctors discovered cancer he has not been working since the last four years.

For the last four years music has been his therapy and next to listening to it, he also started to compose music.

It got him so far that he now has contracts offered by big European record lables who want to release some of his productions, where his sister Lauraine is the lead singer.

As I would not give any more detailed information in my report about this big musical project, I will reveal that I had met the producer as soon as everybody knows about his them.

The bus took us to his home, where I met his mother, who is his neighbour.

Inside the house I met Gry, Geert Jan's wife. I had quite some problems in communicating with her as she is deaf and my sign language is as bad as my Norwegian.

Geert Jan and Gry had two young children, Miranda and Emily, named after princesses from Dutch bedtime storybooks.

Geert Jan's plans were to go out tonight and show me Stavanger. While he let me have a little one hour afternoon nap, he had been arranging free entrances in some pubs and dancings and even the local taxi company would send us their limousine to take us to the town centre!

I thought I was still dreaming after I woke up from my nap.

After having dinner with the family, self caught and home cooked fish, I checked my emails on one of their two computers. Gry is a heavy internet chatter as Geert Jan is composing music on the other computer.

At 8.30pm the limousine blew the horn. I hurried in other clothing and joined Geert Jan in this free taxi.

The limo dropped us off at the entrance of Checkpoint Charlie, a rock pub which was pretty crowded for this early time of the night. The deejay played some good rock music and we got, next to free entrance, free drinks for as long as we were there.

A few guests there approached me and said that they had seen my website. One guy even invited me to a party tomorrow. I went on a picture with the bartenders and had a great time here.

Unfortunately, as you can see, I had a disk failure of all the pictures I have made this night. I am sorry, but you have to do it with these lines here only.

From the rockpub Geert Jan and I walked into the rain along the harbour and ended up in [bAlberts[/b]. "Yes, Mr. Letmestayforaday, you can just walk in."

That's was strange to experience? Does everybody read the newspapers here and learn them by head? Someway commercial places think it would be good publicity for them if they get mentioned on my website, giving me some nice privileges for this night which I just cannot reject - of course!

Alberts is a fun disco where young folks drink and party. And here a deejay was playing all kinds of very danceable tracks, but I did not make it on the dancefloor there, before we left the place at 23.30 after a few more beer.

Around the corner at Alberts was a bigger discotheque, but they don't deserve any review because it was just bad how they treated me at the door. Thanks to a friend of Geert Jan, we were on the guest list, but someway the lady at the entrance had never seen tonight's guestlist and we had six big guards standing around us, ready to... whatever. It just did not feel like a fun place to go out, already.

And we found out when we finally got in and saw an empty dancefloor and bored bartenders. Goodbye.

From here we walked to another part of town centre and ended up in the Taket Nattklubb. The guards welcomed us at the entrance and Geert Jan told them about my project. "Oh, yes, please come in. Just ask the deejay for a special cocktail; he knows all about you!" And in we walked, for free.

At the bar we found the deejay and I introduced myself and Geert Jan. "So you are the internet traveller?" he asked. "So here you go!" and he gave is just received glass of Long Island Ice Tea to me. "Enjoy!" and he walked to the deejay box.

I did enjoyed the champagne cocktail as we sad down along the dancefloor and saw how the full two floor place got filled with more people. And when the music got going, my feet were on the dancefloor!

I even met Kristin, a very attractive lady who was dancing too and I just had to ask her if she was a model. She just had to be.

But she denied it and was flattered. She told me that she's been dating a 15 years older man, but that his daugher, who's one year younger than her, poses for Playboy in New York!

As she had a very British accent, I asked here where she was from and there I had to make another statement which she agreed:

It certainly is a cliché to say that the world's most beautiful women come from Iceland, like she did.

We danced the night away and the deejay gave Geert Jan and me free drinks all night. Suddenly the big man would come up with a mix and said: "Try this, cranberry juice with wodka" or he waved with two bottles of Mexian Corona above his mixing table. "Here! Take"

It was about 3.30 when this man played his final record and when Geert Jan called the taxi company for a taxi. "Our limo would be at the entrance of the Taket Nattklubb in twenty minutes."

I thanked the deejay and said goodbye to Kristin, who might help me get invitations from Iceland and we left the place.

Outside tipsy and pretty drunk people were realizing it was raining quite a bit. For Geert Jan and me it was the limousine that kept us dry for the road back home.

Reflection on this night:

It's very strange to go out to places where people recognize me and even offer us free entrance and free drinks. One way it is great as I travel no-budget, but on the other hand it's strange to be priviledged as others all have to pay.

What makes me that special? I hope not the fact that I write about the places I visit. This website isn't worth that much I hope.

I enjoyed this night very much, but I am almost happy that things like this don't happen everynight anywhere.

About tomorrow I can tell you that I spent the day almost doing absolutely nothing and just with today's, you won't see any pictures because of this failed disk - I will be staying at Geert Jan and Gry's place until Monday morning...

Good night Stavanger!

Ramon.




Media today:

* El Diario Digital (Argentina):
"Viajero usa internet para hospedarse gratis en 100 lugares"

* Greek computer news
(editorial)




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