Day 3 |
Jun 06, 2013

Alesund, Norway

By Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: N 62º28', E 006º09'
Weather: Overcast with Rain showers
Air Temperature: 10ºC
Pressure: 1000 hPa
Wind: 5 knots

I woke up this morning hoping for a repeat of yesterday – bright sunny skies and warm temperatures – but unfortunately it was overcast and threatening to rain. In fact, the rain started to fall within a few moments of us departing for our walking tour. But, fortunately, it was nothing more than a light drizzle.

Today we were offering two tours. The first, departing at 8am was a bus tour of the outskirts of Alesund, including a lighthouse on the coast, and the second was a walking tour of the historical town of Alesund itself.

I was doing the walking tour, and we headed off at 9am with our local guide, Sisel. I have met this guide before, who is wonderful and full of amazing local knowledge. In fact, she has lived in Alesund her whole life and certainly knows the town’s history.

Our 3 hour tour took us through the old section of the city, which, in the 1800’s, had been full of wood homes, but a large fire, started by a drunken night out, resulted in the burning down of the entire town and over 10,000 people becoming homeless.

When they rebuilt, they decided not to use wood, but to rebuild with stone and in the popular style of the time – Art Nouveau – with clean lines with lots of ornamentation.

What really caught my eye were the roof tops, which are all covered with fish-scale shaped tiles – signifying the importance of the fishing industry to this small port town.

We ended the tour at the Art Nouveau Museum where we learned a bit more about the history Norway, its independence from Sweden and the eventual election of the Monarchy. The guests had an hour to roam around at their leisure and stop in the café for a coffee and slice of port wine cheesecake.

The ship departed for out next destination, the Island of Runde, at 12:30pm and everyone gathered for lunch in The Restaurant.

By the time we reached Runde, the rain had pretty much stopped, but the skies were still overcast as well as some ocean swell. However, it was still good for a zodiac cruise – so off we went.

Runde Island is well known for its amazing birdlife. There are an estimated 500,000 – 700,000 seabirds nesting on this island, including the funny little puffins, the elegant black and white guillemots and their close relative the razorbills, the slender common shags, and, of course, one of the regions largest nesting sites of the magnificent northern gannet.