Alesund, Norway

2018  HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Thursday, August 2, 2018

 

The city of Alesund is a very special place.  It spans several islands linked by tunnels and bridges and casts a spell on visitors with its distinctive Art Nouveau style of architecture.   The city was chartered in 1848, but it was on a dark and stormy night in 1904 that the entire city center was destroyed by fire.  Over the next three years, the city was rebuilt, almost exclusively in the Art Nouveau style.  Today, Alesund is an important fishing port, centrally located on the Norwegian Sea.

We have been here before and were enchanted by the charm of the architecture.  The history of the area encompasses the Viking Age, but this was an agricultural area and settlements were separated by great distances.  The Sunnmore Museum, just outside of town (9:00am-4:00pm daily, 7.50/pp for seniors) details the lifestyle of the early peoples along with their architecture, industry and community.

One “must do” activity in Alesund is a visit to the Fjellstua Lodge atop Mount Aksla.  You can walk up the 418 steps if you are so inclined, but the little Alesund City Sightseeing train will take you there ($24.00/pp/rt with a stop at Sunnmore, too.)  As will the HOHO for $38.00/pp.  And as will taxis for about 100.00/hour!

Of course, there is nothing wrong in simply walking around the charming town, shopping the quaint shops and enjoying a lunch or libation in a lovely café.  This is a fun, entertaining and interesting port!

Docked in Alesund with a view of Mount Aksla.
Docked in Alesund with a view of Mount Aksla.
The city is, literaly, right across the street from the ship!
The city is, literaly, right across the street from the ship!
All sorts of services are available as one exits to the city center.
All sorts of services are available as one exits to the city center.
Now that looks like some serious fun!
Now that looks like some serious fun!
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The tourist train runs to Sunnmore, up to Aksla view point and into the city center.
There were 4 of us, and this is the option we wound up doing!
There were 4 of us, and this is the option we wound up doing!
The Sunnmare Museum of Viking houses and culture.
The Sunnmare Museum of Viking houses and culture.
Sunnmore Museum
Sunnmore Museum
Turf Houses dominate the displays at Sunnmore.
Turf Houses dominate the displays at Sunnmore.
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The huts on the right are called Kyrkjebuder. They once lined the roads between a church and boathouses on the shore.
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“Church huts” were useful for several reasons: storage for goods due to be shipped, as well as received and awaiting transport to home; or for storage of the hymnals, Sunday clothes, toiletries and other items useful after a long carriage ride to church.
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Boat-building Workshop. Many farms had workshops for building boats. Income was often augmented with fishing and the farmers often built boats for themselves (and others as an additional way to make money.)
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This is a Fjordmannstova. It was built as temprary lodging for those winter fishing forays when shelter was needed but it was too far to return home while the fishing was good. These huts were for the both the crew and equipment.
The boat hall at Sunnmore has several Viking boats.
The boat hall at Sunnmore has several Viking boats.
Even a longboat!
Even a longboat!
Longboats would usually tow a smaller boat behind to carry supplies.
Longboats would usually tow a smaller boat behind to carry supplies.
There are several replicas in the water--but the motors are disconcerting!!!!
There are several replicas in the water–but the motors are disconcerting!!!!
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The Fjellstua Lodge atop Mount Aksla –that zigag path is 418 steps going up! We were glad we had hired the cab!
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View from the top of Aksla with some islands in the distance and our ship (as well as a couple of others!) docked on the left.
View from the top of Aksla.
View from the top of Aksla.
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There is a cafeteria at the top. Both inside and outside seating. The menu appears to be the same in either location.
As is the view.  But it is a bit warmer inside!
As is the view. But it is a bit warmer inside!
The sausage and french fries were quite good.
The sausage and french fries were quite good.
The hamburger was amazing!
The hamburger was amazing!
But the end of day libation remains part of our habit pattern!
But the end of day libation remains part of our habit pattern!
View from the top of some islands and bridges.
View from the top of some islands and bridges.
A map of the tunnels and bridges.
A map of the tunnels and bridges.
The church on the island of Giske built around 1050.
The church on the island of Giske built around 1050.
Giske on the left.
Giske on the left.
Alesund
Alesund
The architecture of Alesund.
The architecture of Alesund.
The oldest house that survived the fire of 1904.
The oldest house that survived the fire of 1904.
Alsund Church
Ålesund Church
And I will close this post with the Viking Laws!
And I will close this post with the Viking Laws!

 

Next, we visit Eidfjord, Norway.

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