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davidx Alesund - A travel report by David
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Alesund,  Norway - flag Norway -  Møre og Romsdal
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davidx's travel reports

Art Nouveau Ålesund and Molde, 'City of Roses'

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Why city of roses? No idea. I didn’t see one! Ålesund was destroyed by fire early in the 20th century. With much international aid, the rebuilding was in the style of the times; hence, an Art Nouveau town.

Old Apothecary's shop, Ålesund
Old Apothecary's shop, Ålesund
These are on the opposite side of the wide Moldefjord. A bus would go via Åndalsnes at the end of the fjord but it is possible to go by bus and ferry. Therefore, since I wanted to put Åndalsnes with Geiranger, I have put these two together here. We have only seen Ålesund from the Norwegian Coastal Voyage and for one night on our return journey to Bergen by bus and train from Svolvaer in Lofoten – see my other reports for this. However there can be no doubt that the area would justify a far longer visit. You don’t need to be an art nouveau fanatic to admire the uniform character of much of the town. [I would guess that there was a period of slack planning followed by insistence that new buildings should be compatible with the art nouveau style. The accommodation mentioned below is itself an art nouveau building, originally a warehouse, and by Norwegian standards it’s not very expensive. We thoroughly enjoyed prowling around the streets and examining the buildings – I think a real fanatic would still be there! As well as the trip to Molde there are some fabulous fjords to be visited, a stave church beyond Åndalsnes, some very scenic islands and Norway’s southernmost ‘bird rock’ of Runde. When I visited Molde from Åndalsnes by bus on a previous trip, the weather was obviously declining fast from a pretty mediocre start. Hence I wasn’t able to appreciate what I’m sure must be a fantastic view from the park. It is claimed that over 200 mountain tops can be seen and I don’t doubt it. However I was delighted to find the International Jazz Festival in full swing. I had no idea it was on so it was a great treat. I had a wait before the long distance ferry to join with the Ålesund to Åndalnes bus and I went to the nearby island with a fihing museum, a quite unanticipated delight.

Favourite spots:
In the museum
In the museum
I thought simply in terms of killing time when I took the little boat to the fishing museum and hence the magic of the place was a total surprise – to me the far more major one at Bergen doesn’t hold a candle to it! It’s more a museum of fishermen’s lives than of fishing as such and the guide conjured up images of crowded huts with many man and a single woman for the cooking and cleaning – sexist occupation! The owner’s house was some contrast! I have never enjoyed any museum more – which says a lot. The whole world of fishing, long enough ago, was brought to life as though it were yesterday. Details can be found on [attractions, scroll down, museums, scroll well down – and you’ve got it]

What's really great:
'Museum' Island
'Museum' Island
Something worth mentioning was the general friendliness of the Norwegian people and the way they would do ‘that bit extra’ to help. Examples of this were: · The way the driver of the bus into Ålesund put us down as near as possible to our accommodation and made sure we knew where to go. · The way the proprietors of the guesthouse tok a pride in the history of the building and went out of their way to talk about it · The near competition among Norwegian visitors to the fishing museum to be my personal interpreter [I was the only foreigner in the party] so that the guide had enough time to let us see more.

One of many, Art Nouveau, Ålesund
One of many, Art Nouveau, Ålesund
Bird enthusiasts could be forgiven for regarding the ‘bird rock of Runde as a must.

Brosundet Gjestehus, Apotekergata 5, Ålesund
Tel: +47 7012 1000
This is an excellent place to stay. It’s not dear by Norwegian standards. The building is in the art nouveau style and is an old warehouse next to a delightful harbour. The buffet breakfast is fine and, if you wish, there are self-catering and washing [clothes!] facilities. Otherwise you will have to go out for your evening meal – if only all hardships were like this - -. If you do stay, make a point of looking at the old photos on the landings of all floors.

Near the restaurant
Near the restaurant
Hummer Kanari, Kongensgt. 19
Tel: [+47] 70 12 80 09
Ålesund seems to have any number of really expensive restaurants and also places that, while quite cheap, would only appeal to the ravenous. Pam had noted this place from our short walk from m/s Polarlys on the upward coastal voyage. It has a restaurant with the normal high prices but also provides a ‘Bistro meny’ at quite reasonable prices.
We both had pasta dishes customised a bit into Norwegian by the fish they used and quite simple puddings but everything was very tasty and there was a wonderful atmosphere where people of just about every sexual orientation and families were all eating happily. Far from your fast food joint!

Other recommendations:
International Jazz Festival, Molde
International Jazz Festival, Molde
We were disappointed not to have time to visit the nearby Sunnmøre Museum, open air and it sounds great.

Published on Friday December 31th, 2004

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Sat, Jan 01 2005 - 03:48 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

nice report indeed

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