I took a flight to Kristiansand on the south coast of Norway today to give a workshop for mathematics mentors. I made sure I gave myself a couple extra hours to take the bus downtown to explore a little. The town is fairly small and it was easy to see a lot in two hours. I started at the waterfront, where there is a very lovely park with modern fountains and sculpture. A fortress here houses many cannons and offers a fine view of the harbor. Wandering into sentrum, I saw more sculptures and lots of interesting architecture. Kristiansand has a long pedestrian street full of shops and restaurants, and I decided for the lunch special at a cute downtown cafe (whose name I've now forgotten). I had a warm soup and salad, followed by a beer while I worked on a paper in the lovely cafe. Then back to the waterfront to catch an airport bus and begin the long trip home again..
I've heard nice things about Kristiansand. Some of the folks at the workshop, the "locals", were skeptical I would find much of interest because it the city so small. But I did indeed have a pleasant afternoon exploring, and didn't think it was too small at all. I like to see new cities, but it would have been better with some company. Next time I'll need to bring a friend!