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Seduced by Sandefjord

by Mike

7 July 2014 • When I looked through the window of my hotel room on the seventh floor, it felt like watching a model railway, or should I say a miniature ferry port? I was in Sandefjord and the lovely diorama was real.

My friend Philippe and I were in Sandefjord for an assignment on the rebuilt ferry OSLOFJORD, operated by Fjord Line. As we arrived in the Rica Hotel I realized how splendid it would be to have a room on the highest floor, for some photography. I got room 761, which has a sideward view over the ferry terminal. Perfect. Even better would have been one of the frontal balcony suites, but that was beyond budget.

An evening walk around the harbour makes you feel very relaxed

It was the last day of June, and of course we knew about the long Norwegian summerdays. Still it was a surprise to see the sun flooding the green and blue landscape that late in the evening. The photographer in me was enthusiast.

Colours so saturated that it almost hurt the eyesColor Line reflectionsPuddle art on ferry terminalPuddle art (2)I took this photo in front of the hotel. The composition was about having the ship in between the two arcs. Only minutes later I realised this was the skeleton of whale baleens.

The town is known for its Viking history and the successful whaling industry. It made Sandefjord the richest city in Norway, and it is still possible to see a preserved whaling catcher, the 1950-built SOUTHERN ACTOR, part of the whaling museum. It is fully operative with its original steam engine intact. 

SOUTHERN ACTOR, the preserved steam-powered whale catcher.

Another tribute to the history of whaling is a fantastic sculpture in the middle of the roundabout between the Rica Hotel and the ferry terminal. Created by Knut Steen at the end of the 1950ies the monument shows whalers rowing amidst the waves (the fountain) in an open boat, with on the bow a man ready to throw a harpoon. The sculpture slowly rotates on its own axis. The low evening sunbeams transpierced the water, giving the scene a very dramatic look.

The whale tail and the harpoon

After having photographed our own long shadows –it was half past nine– we walked to probably the best seafood restaurant in Sandefjord, the Brygga 11.

Two hungry guys, so thin

Brygga 11 had been recommended by the young woman at the hotel reception. A decisive argument was the fact that we could dine on the terrace with a scenic view on the fjord, the marina and the ferry port. A lovely place! So lovely that we returned the day after. Exquisite food. Outstanding service with a smile. Pure happiness.

A seafood restaurant with the fishing boat alongside? Freshness guaranteed!As starter I had the "Akevittbrett" with marinated salmon and herring. The first evening I tried a local beer. The day after I took the same starter with a glass of delicious Aquavit.Grilled catch of the day flavoured with Chorizo spices, Polenta, baked Carrots and Chorizo vinaigrette.Moules Frites with mussels from Trøndelag

And no, chef Geir Skeie does not use whale in his menus.

The view from the terrace.Almost midnight, and still so much light in the sky.

Sandefjord seduced us. After the magnificent light, the serenity of the landscape, the long shadows and the saturated colours, the mirroring of the water, the mouthwatering food, etc... we were ready for a short night. The day after we had to embark the Fjord Line ferry at 06:15 am. We were ready for it.

Text & photos: Mike