1. Stavanger is the 'cradle of the Vikings'. Head for the Archaeological Museum where a guide (dressed as a Viking) will tell you tales and demonstrate Viking tools
2. Norway has a rich brewing tradition. Until around 200 years ago, no farm was complete without a brewhouse. Cheers!
all photos copyright Gilly Pickup
3. Lutefisk is a traditional Norwegian seafood dish, considered a delicacy. The recipe involves soaking a fish in lye then rinsing it in water. Is it good? Well let's say it's an acquired taste
4. Stavanger has some fabulous beaches. Yes, really. White sands and sheltered coves mean sun worshippers flock there despite the water's chilly temperature
5. The Sword in the Rock monument is made up of three swords forced into solid rock. They commemorate the place where Viking King Harald Haarfagre defeated the last of the regional princes way back in AD872 and founded the kingdom that is now Norway
6. This is crafty. A Norwegian invented the cheese slicer in 1927. It was a hot day when carpenter Thor Bjerklund opened his Gouda cheese slices and was horrified to find that they had melted and were all stuck together. He tried separating them, eventually using a plane that he used to slice wood. A few modifications later and voila! the cheese slicer had been invented.
7. Stavanger is the petroleum capital of Norway and one of the world's biggest oil exporters. This doesn't mean it's cheap to fill up here though, locals have to put up with some of the highest petrol prices in the world. Doesn't seem fair, does it?
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel/ cruise writer & author of 12 books. Credits incl: Telegraph, CNN, Daily Mail, Independent, BBC mags, Country & Town House, The Scotsman, Best, My Weekly, trade titles etc