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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Day 02 - Art Deco Buildings and a Polar Bear Looking for Hugs

Today we were awakened by the swaying of the ship – “back and fore, side to side, we all sway together….” – it was pitch black when we woke but the boat “dash” cam showed a little bit of light. As we had breakfast the ship docked in Torvig, this was only a short stop to unload some cargo. The ship we’re on doubles as a supply ship to the small towns that line the fjords. So we have many short stops depending on the amount of cargo to be unloaded.

After breakfast – a buffet – we went up to the panorama area at the bow of the ship – the weather was lovely as were the views. It was cold but not more so than Scotland – it was like a lovely autumn day there. On the way up we saw the sun rise over the water – it was wonderful!

Picture 1 - The Sun Rising over the Water

Pictures 2 and 3 - Views along the Coast

Today we have a long stop at Ålesund. This town, distinguished by its numerous spires, towers and highly-ornate buildings, is renowned for its beautiful art nouveau architecture. This is due to a fire that burned a large proportion of the town to the ground in the early 20th century. As a result of that fire the entire town was rebuilt in the fashionable style of the day, art nouveau.


Pictures 4 and 5 - Docking at Ålesund; Polar and TIggy looking out at Ålesund

Once we had docked, right in the heart of the town, Mum and I went ashore. Our plan was to visit the tourist office (to see if they had a free town self-guided walk) before climbing up Aksla hill to the viewpoint at the top where there is supposed to be wonderful views over the town. Well we found the tourist information easily enough, it’s just by the harbour, but they didn’t have any free walks. So Mum and I walked through some of the town to the Byparken. This is a public park developed in 1885 modelled on an English park landscape. Pride of place within the park is a large statue of Rollo, a Viking chieftain who was born near/in Ålesund. He established the dukedom of Normandy (yes, the one in France) in 911 by marrying the daughter of the King of France. He is the ancestor of William the Conqueror, who is an ancestor of the British Royal Family.


From the park we started to ascend the 418 steps to the top of Aksla hill. We didn’t go all the way to the top but stopped just over halfway up (at step 260 to be precise), there were wonderful views over the three islands that make up Ålesund, the Sunnmøre Alps in the background and over the sea to the islands off the coast – the weather really smiled down on us for this one!

Picture 6 - View from Aksla Hill

We descended the steps back to sea level. This is not a climb/descent for those who do not like heights – the stairs are shallow but the views descending can be very off-putting as the steepness of the steps means that you can’t see any barriers between you and the fall down!

We returned to the ship for lunch - this is a buffet including hot and cold food. And pudding!!


After pudding…I mean lunch, Mum and I headed out again, this time to do a self-guided tour of the Art Nouveau town. I found this tour online in another online blog, link, and it was a good wee walk.


We started by walking along the Kongens gate. This pedestrian street is lined with Art Nouveau buildings – including one with a dragon over the door! A lot of the decorations on the buildings were painted so it was very picturesque.

Picture 7 - Here Be Dragons!

Picture 8 and 9 - Art Nouveau Buildings

Near the far end of Kongens gate there is a sculpture called Avisgutten (Newspaper Boy), this was donated by the newspaper Sunnmorsposten and shows the paper boy making a delivery. There are a lot of sculptures in Alesund – I’ve counted five so far. There was also a polar bear in a shop window – looking for a hug!

Picture 10 - The Paper Boy

Picture 11 - Polar Bear Looking for a Hug

From The Paper Boy we went through a passageway to the Skansegata, the street that runs along the narrow stretch of water that separates two of the town’s islands. On the other side of the waterway were a number of colourful wharf buildings so we had lovely views. This is known as the “Brosundet”.

Picture 12 - Wharf Buildings

We continued along the side of the water and crossed at the bridge, this gave us good views back along the waterway to the wharf buildings. By the bridge are two sculptures – Skårungen (The Fisher Boy) and The Herring Girl. The Herring Girl is a tribute to the women who worked at salting herring, one of the town’s main industries.

Picture 13 - The Boy Fisherman

We then walked along Apotekergata before turning down Molovegen. This street has the remaining wooden houses that survived the 1904 fire so you can see what Alesund would have looked like before the fire.


We had a short walk along the mole, the harbour breakwater not the animal, to see great views back over the harbour.

Picture 14 - Alesund Harbour

Having had enough of walking (our poor wee leggies were awfully tired), Mum and I retraced our steps back to the ship. Once on board we went back to the Panorama lounge to relax before a talk about the different excursions that we could go to on the cruise north.

After the talk we returned to the Panorama lounge before the day’s round-up talk at 5pm and then dinner at 6pm. For dinner, the guests have been split into three sittings – we’re glad that we’re not the ones with the last sitting at 8:15pm!!

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