July 19-20, 2013
Kristiansand is the gateway back to Denmark and not much else. After the hike to Preikestolen and the slow windy drive through southern Norway we arrived just before dinner and left the next morning on the 6:45AM ferry to Hirtshals, Denmark.
No need for a fancy hotel for such a short stop. Still, the incredibly small room at Yess Hotel might have been just a tad too much of a budget option. Fine for sleeping but absolutely no extra room for sorting through your bags. It is, however, convenient to the ferry dock, just a 2 minute drive. TripAdvisor reviews.
Dinner at Hos Naboen was surprisingly good. We weren’t expecting much from this Friday’s style Norwegian eatery on the main shopping street, but wanted to take advantage of the outdoor seating area on such a gorgeous summer evening. The first one we’ve had in the last week.
We split the mussels to start – plump, tasty and perfectly cooked they were served in a white wine cream sauce with carrots and fennel.
For mains we tried the lamb skewers – also perfectly cooked medium rare and tender and served with tabbouleh salad and two vegetable side relishes made from quality ingredients. The salmon, served in a beurre blanc sauce with a side of potatoes, if not the most imaginative dish, was well done. TripAdvisor reviews.
Ferry to Denmark
Taking the ferry to Hirtshals, Denmark was as easy and orderly as you would expect from a Scandinavian operation. Two lines, Fjord Line and Color Line run the express 2 hour and 15 minute route with several departures during the day, more in summer.
We prepaid the reservation on line for the Fjord Line. With the number of cars queuing at 5:30 on a Saturday morning, I wouldn’t doubt that reservations are a good idea if not essential.
Fares vary wildly depending on your travel date, with Saturday in mid-July the most expensive. You can also add on comfort seating and the buffet breakfast – a wide selection of average food with hordes of children running around the dining room, not surprising at the height of summer vacation.
The best part of the trip was the crisp early morning views leaving the harbor.