Happy August! I am writing from Risør, a small city along the southern coast of Norway with a long, proud history of building wooden boats. Maritime culture is a big part of life in Risør and this week, thousands of boat enthusiasts from around the world flock to the harbour for the annual Wooden Boat Festival (Trebåtfestivalen). There, they find a myriad of traditional wooden boats, concerts, and activities. Even the King and the Prime Minister of Norway join in the festivities.
The King of Norway’s ship
After a fire ravaged through the city in 1861 and left just 85 houses and a church from 1647, much of the city was rebuilt and improved upon, resulting in today’s Risør of white wooden houses and picturesque views of the archipelago. The best scenic viewpoint is atop Risørflekken, a whitewashed stone hill top which very old beacon ships could use to guide themselves into the harbour in poor visibility.
In the summer, there are guided tours of the city departing from the marina at 8 PM every Wednesday.
Our tour guide, Tomas, dressed as a traditional guard
If you are curious about how it was to grow up in Risør, take the tour for a little information about the fire and a lot of anecdotes from Tomas’s childhood.
Visit Risør if you would like a taste of how it is to live in a small coastal town in Norway. The small boutiques here are full of local trinkets that can serve as reminders of your visit. Check the weather beforehand to make sure that the Norwegian summer does not spoil your plans 😉