"" Writer's Wanderings: Norway--Alesund

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Thursday, the first full day of our cruise was spent crossing the North Sea from Amsterdam to Norway on our way to our first port of call, Alesund. Thursday night was the last sunset we would see in the North Sea. As we headed north, eventually there would be no sunset or sunrise. The sun would be in the sky 24/7 even though at times behind thick rain clouds as it was on Friday when we arrived at the port of Alesund.

We dressed in layers and donned new windbreakers with hoods we had found on sale at the ship’s store. Grateful to have something that shed water and wasn’t a plastic poncho, we embarked on our expedition into Alesund from the cruise pier to find the Bytoget (the City Train). Expecting a small shop at least from which to purchase our tickets, we were surprised to find the ticket place was only a stand like one from which you would purchase hot dogs or such at a fair.

The City Train pulled up to the stop shortly after we purchased our tickets and we boarded to get out of the misty drizzle that surrounded us. Once aboard, the driver handed out lightweight flannel throws for the ride to the top of the observation point of the city. The ride up was not terribly interesting although we did learn that the city at one time had been burned to the ground and reconstructed.

Once we were at the top of the observation area (about 35 minutes ride) we got out and took the required tourist pictures, told our driver we would walk down from there and set out down the 430 steps or so to the bottom of the large hill. Thankfully the steps were easy to manage and were not slippery from the rainy weather.

At the bottom, instead of taking the path to the city center, we opted to be adventurous and take the path less traveled. It led us to an old church with a quaint graveyard. (Can graveyards be quaint?) We then followed along the waterfront to find our way back to the center of Alesund.

Along the way, we discovered a large replica frigate, a Swedish boat, the Goetheberg, that was used by one of the oldest shipping companies in the area. Quite impressive. If I understood correctly, the crew is made up of young people who take her from port to port to display the ship.

As we made our way back to the ship, the sun began to break through the clouds. We spent the rest of the day enjoying the view from our balcony and anticipating the next day of sailing through our first Norwegian fjords.

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