VOV: Alesund, Norway

Friday, July 22, 2022

As we got ready for the Gala night, we looked at the menu and it was just a regular night menu. We knew we weren’t going to the main show because our Alesund tour was going to start early.

We looked at each other and agreed – we were skipping Gala night, wearing jeans, and just eating in the Lido. Almost everything they were offering in the dining room, they had available at the buffet. I think this is the first time in our cruising history we have skipped dressing up for a Gala night.

I had crispy duck and noodles with some spring rolls. Chuck had the chicken pot pie.

After dinner, Chuck went to the Casino, and I went to our room for more photo processing.

I was up at 5:30. Our room service breakfast was delivered at 6:45.

Today, we were taking the 8:00 am HAL tour “Romsdal and the Troll Path.” The tour description:

Take a short sightseeing tour of Ålesund city, passing the town of Spjelkavik en route to Sjøholt village.

From Sjøholt, you’ll follow the shoreline of Storfjord, enjoying beautiful scenes from the road. You are now in an area known for both salmon fishing and furniture making. The furniture crafted here is exported all over the world. In Stordal alone there are several furniture factories.

Pass the old, octagonal Stordal Church (1789) and through Liabygd and Valldal, renowned for growing sweet strawberries. You will follow the valley towards Trollstigen (the Troll Path), passing the impressive Gudbrandsjuvet Gorge. On top of the mountain, you can still see signs of the old road built in 1028 by Viking King Olav.

In the center of the Trolltindene mountain range you will stop for a typical Norwegian buffet lunch of hot and cold dishes, desserts and coffee. A bottle of mineral water or light beer is included per person.

From the highest point on the road, at 2,800 feet above sea level, you will drive the famous Troll Path with its 11 exciting hairpin bends leading down toIsterdalen Valley. Stop to visit the famous Troll Wall — well known to mountaineers all over the planet. This wall has the highest overhang in Europe and is visited by world-famous climbers every summer.

Pass Romsdalsfjord and the picturesque villages of Innfjorden, Mandalen, Vagstrand and Vikebukt before crossing Orskog Mountain to join the main road back to Ålesund.

We were docked alongside the SAGA Spirit cruise ship. We were one of two HAL tour busses that would be doing today’s tour. Our bus left first. Our guide was from Italy, and he started right away with narration as we passed through Alesund. The bus seats were very comfortable, the sound system good, and very large windows.

Our first photo stop was at a point along the fjord. There was a restroom along with a small shop. You had to pay to use the restroom and they would only take Norwegian Krona. US Dollars? No. Euros? No. They might have taken a credit card, but we didn’t ask. I was glad I did not have much to drink this morning.

The scenery as we continued our route was beautiful. Mountainous. Very heavily forested – unlike Iceland. If you get lost in a forest here – you are lost.

So many waterfalls. Just gorgeous.

As we drove along to our next stop, we noticed a number of camp sites with campers, small cabins, and tents dotting all along the fjord. Our guide said that many small farmers had converted their land from farms to campsites for tourists because it was much more profitable. People come to participate in hiking, skiing, rafting, and base jumping.

However, we also passed a number of strawberry fields that were being harvested at this time. We also had to look out for sheep that would just wander into the traffic.

The next stop was a restroom and photo stop next to a rushing river. The sound of the water pouring over the rocks was so powerful.

At this stop, our guide bought a container of strawberries from two girls who had set up a stand. He was right – they were very sweet and juicy even though they were small. Sometimes the ones we get at the store are large, but they don’t have much taste to them.

Our next stop was a scenic overlook into the Valley.

Thor’s Lightning Bolt (according to the guide)

As we left and started driving down the Troll path into the Valley, the bus made all eleven hairpin turns. I was so glad I was not the one driving the bus.

It is called the Troll path because if you REALLY use your imagination, you can see troll faces in the rock formations on the mountains. I didn’t see any trolls, but the waterfall was impressive.

Can you find the troll?

Once we arrived in the Valley, we had our lunch stop. It was a very efficient buffet. I chose a small sample of peppered salmon, pork meatball, beef patty, mixed vegetables, and lingonberry jam. We were given slices of ice cream cake for dessert.

I had fun taking photos of the troll statues and the places with the sod roofs.

I bought my Christmas ornament.

We then stopped at the Troll Wall that people come from all over to climb. So cloudy, we couldn’t see the top.

Before heading back to the ship, we were able to make a photo stop in Alesund.

The flame marker where the terrible fire that destroyed the town started (everything was built of wood).

Statue honoring the lives lost at sea of the people trying to escape to England and Scotland during war.

The only building that survived the fire because of its location around the water.

Arrived back to the ship at 4:20. Sail-away was supposed to be at 5:00 but the ship in front of us had not yet left and we couldn’t go around it. We eventually sailed away at 5:30. We watched the sail-away from the balcony with coffee & Bailey’s.


Travel Trivia

Alesund, Norway

Pronunciation: OH-leh-sun

Legend has it that the Viking Rollon, the 10th-century founder of the dynasty of the dukes of Normandy, hailed from just slightly north-west of Ålesund. At least three statues of Rollon exist: in the town park in Ålesund, in Rouen, France, and in Fargo, North Dakota.

Photo provided by Google

On the night of 23 January 1904, Alesund, built largely of wood, was the scene of a great fire. Practically the entire town was destroyed during the night, a gale aiding the flames, and the population had to leave the town in the middle of the night with only a few minutes’ notice. However, only one person died in the fire.

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had often been on vacation to the area. After the fire, he sent four warships with materials to build temporary shelters. Eventually, the town was rebuilt in stone, brick, and mortar in Art Nouveau, the architectural style of the time. The structures were designed by approximately 20 master builders and 30 Norwegian architects, most of them educated in Trondheim and Charlottenburg, Berlin, drawing inspiration from all over Europe. To honor Wilhelm, one of the most frequented streets of the town is named after him.

Alesund has the most important fishing harbor in Norway and its fishing fleet is considered one of the most modern in Europe.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America documents

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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