STAVANGER, 120km from Flekkefjord, is something of a survivor. While other Norwegian coastal towns have fallen foul of the precarious fortunes of fishing, Stavanger has grown and flourished, and is now the proud possessor of a dynamic economy which has swelled the population to over 100,000. It was the herring fishery that first put money into the town, crowding its nineteenth-century wharves with coopers and smiths, net makers and menders. When this industry failed, Stavanger moved into shipbuilding and ultimately oil: today, the port builds the rigs for Norway's offshore oilfields and refines the oil as well.
None of which is terribly enticing, and certainly no one could describe Stavanger as entirely picturesque. However, it's an easy city to adjust to, has a couple of enjoyable museums and a raft of excellent restaurants and lively bars. If you stay a while, you can sally out into the surrounding fjords, where the hike to the Preikestolen rock is one of the most popular jaunts in southern Norway.