Day 5 |
Aug 23, 2012

Ålesund, Norway 

By Katherine Rannaste, Expedition Staff Assistant

Co-ordinates: 62° 28’2 N – 06° 9’37 E
Weather: mostly overcast
Air temperature: 16° C

Waking up alongside in Ålesund, I looked forward to our day in this picturesque shipping town known for its Art Nouveau Architecture.

We began our tour with a Sidcel, a fantastic local guide who herself had grown up in Alesund. Rich with knowledge we walked through streets as she told us the history of the town with its characteristic Jugendstil buildings, making it one of the most beautiful towns in Norway. As one of the few remaining Art Nouveau towns in the world, the narrow cobblestone streets are crammed with buildings topped with turrets, spires and gables that bear decorations of dragonheads and curlicues. Many European towns strive to create such towns but have yet to be successful in the same way that Alesund has been.

We continued to the Art Nouveau Centre where we were guided through the first Art Nouveau building designed by ‘Hagbarth Schytte-Berg’ and built 1905–1907. It included the town’s best-preserved Art Nouveau interior. Jugendstilsenteret is an interpretation centre showing both modern multimedia exhibitions and international art and design of Art Nouveau, which was a perfect way to start our walking tour as it gave us a greater understanding of the town’s architecture. But before we could get walking again, we enjoyed a great coffee and delicious cheesecake in the interpretation centre’s own café.

Walking off the cheese, we moved through the town and came to learn that Alesund was one of the most important fishing harbors in Norway. The town’s fishing fleet is one of the most modern in Europe. The town centre is crowded onto a narrow fishhook-shaped peninsula. Without space to expand farther, most of the approximate 38,000 residents live scattered across surrounding islands and peninsulas. In addition to a picturesque fishing port along the old harbor "Brosundet”, Ålesund boasts one of the largest facilities in Norway for the export of dried and fresh fish.

As we move back down towards the harbor, we were surprised to see that the annual Food Festival was on and it gave us all an opportunity to try the local cuisine and find out more about the fishing lifestyle of the local people.

We took the opportunity to walk through the market and sample some of the best Norwegian delicacies. We did this with great excitement and our taste buds were ecstatic with new flavors that kept taking us back for more.

As I wandered back through town and down to the ship I look back already reminiscing of the sites I have just seen, a beautiful town that I am already looking forward to revisit.