These past three days, Rogaland county in the south west of Norway have had royal visitors. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit have toured the county, from the north west to the south east. They used the royal yacht, Norge, as mode of transportation from Oslo and between some of the municipalities, as well as a residence on the trip. They started the visit on Utsira on September 1. Utsira, a small island located west of Haugesund, is the smallest municipality in Norway, with roughly 215 inhabitants. The Crown Princely couple was greeted by the rain and wind of the North Sea, as well as the local marching band, mayor and inhabitants of the island. The Crown Princess had to replace an ordinary jacket with a water-resistant one, as well as replace the high heels with wellington boots. She nevertheless declared the weather to be “fantastic.” At Utsira they visited the local light house, put down a foundation stone for the new school, and met with five senior citizens from the island. Both the press and the Crown Prince reported that the crossing to and from Utsira had been filled with rather high waves. Pictures from Utsira and Vindafjord. Afterwards the visit went on to the municipality of Vindafjord, where they visited a home for seniors, had a meet-greet with businesses in the municipality as well as a reception in the evening.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore her national costume from the region for the reception.
Day two started with a visit to the amusement park Kongeparken in Gjesdal municipality. (Literal translation of Kongeparken is The King’s Park, so the local press had their heading in declaring that they were the first royals to visit it.) Even with rain on day 2, it and day three of the visit had much better weather than the first day, and on the third day the sun even popped out.
A visit to a local business followed, before lunch at Byrkjedalstunet. Crown Prince Haakon visited the restaurant and candle-shop at least once before, when he was doing his military service. They proceeded to Gloppedalsura, the largest scree in Northern Europe.
At the United Nations park in Vikeså, they put flowers to commemorate the fallen UN soldiers from Rogaland. A short stop to watch sheep shearing and meet the locals was also included.
They subsequently returned to Mette-Marit’s family roots – her mother was born in the dairy in Egersund. This part of the visit was not planned in the original draft of the visit, but outraged citizens complained about the municipality being excluded, given Mette-Marit’s connection to the place.
The final day was a visit to Sokndal municipality. The day started in Jøssingfjord, where the German ship Altmark was sunk by the British just prior to WWII, and which also has some small wooden houses that are built underneath a mountain. (Yes, it is possible.) Mette-Marit lost a shoe walking on the un-even ground in the mountainside , but it was quickly remedied, with a bit of help from the local mayor. Meeting the locals in the municipality and a visit to Sokndalstrand completed the visit in Sokndal municipality.
The last municipality on the trip was Lund, where they visited a window factory, as well as visited a home for the elderly and sick.
During a press conference at the end of the trip, Side 2 asked the couple how they keep the relationship “hot and heavy” after so many years. Haakon blushed, and said he didn’t quite know where to start, as there were so many things, but traveling together on the royal yacht like this trip was a nice thing, and his wife mentioned that working together on trips like this gave them mutual references and things to share.