Much of my recent work trip to Norway was spent in a conference room at the University of Stavanger, but on one memorable day, our hosts managed to combine business with pleasure by hiring a room for us to work in at Hå Gamle Prestegard, the Old Vicarage of Hå (which made us snigger slightly because Hå is pronounced whore), which dates from 1637 and has now been converted into a modern Arts and Cultural Center.
Before we had lunch and settled down to work, we were given a guided tour of the premises. We started in the basement of the Jærhus, which is the name of this traditional local type of building, which has a small exhibition of the remains of an 8,200-year-old settlement that was discovered on site.
The Viking clothes wouldn't look that out of place today !
Given the modern preoccupation with global warming, it was interesting to see how the landscape has already changed over the centuries due to the melting of the ice. The British Isles were originally all part of the same continent before a vast area was submerged by the rising tide.
There is also a gallery with changing art and cultural history exhibitions. The current displays featured a range of dresses, that were for sale, and some photos that were woven into tapestries using a printer.
This one made us laugh because it is the female artist, presenting herself as a man, and she looked uncannily like one of the young Norwegian teachers who was with us. Needless to say, he wasn't as amused as we were ! I did get slightly distracted, taking arty shots of my own through the windows which perfectly framed the landscapes beyond.
My favourite exhibition was a series of paintings, featuring how the artist represents his view of Norway.
The rugged landscapes, the vibrant green grass, the omnipresence of nature, the rain ... I can see where he's coming from.
No rain today though - we had amazing blue skies, even if it was still slightly chilly.
We decided to seize the occasion to wander down to the Obrestad lighthouse, which was just a few hundred metres away.
This involved crossing a rather wobbly wooden bridge. There was a sign that said a maximum of twelve people should go on the bridge at the same time. We noticed this after our group of about 25 people had traipsed across it all together - oops !
The burbling stream, the vast skies, the unspoilt countryside, not a hint of rubbish or graffiti - all things that we came to associate with Norway.
Even the manmade elements like the drystone walls and the farm buildings seemed to fit in with the landscapes.
The Norwegians did say that it was an unseasonably warm day though and we were very lucky.
I think it is possibly the smallest lighthouse I have ever seen !
But probably one of the prettiest too.
A final look at the view and we headed back to lunch followed by more critical literary theory about how to make our pupils think for themselves.