Posted by: travelrat | May 8, 2013

Walking around Ålesund

Alesund 2

19th March 2013: Ålesund

The morning turned out bright and clear, although a little cold. Our tour didn’t start till 1 p.m, so we devoted the morning to a short exploration of this delightful little town, which is spread over several islands near the mouth of a fjord.

We later found that Ålesund is sometimes called the ‘Venice of Norway’. Maybe that’s a little clichéd, but the pastel-coloured art nouveau buildings of the town centre are rather reminiscent of the island of Burano.

In 1904, a disastrous fire broke out, which completely destroyed the city centre, leaving 10,000 people homeless … although, remarkably, only resulting in one death. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, who often spent holidays in the area, immediately sent four warships laden with materials to build temporary shelters. Meanwhile a team of architects and master builders drew up plans to rebuild the city in stone and brick in the art nouveau style of architecture popular in Europe at the time.

Since the high price of stuff in Norway is legendary, we naturally had to check some of them out. Just one example; a street stall was offering fish and chips at NKr 99 a portion … that’s nearly £13 in English money! And, this in a town where one of the main industries is fishing!

‘That’s about what you’d pay for fish and chips in a restaurant at home’
‘Yes, but twice what you’s pay at a take-away chippy!’

We passed several moored fishing boats where the fishermen were displaying their catches for sale; mainly cod at this time of year, most of which is caught in the fjord itself. Different fish are caught at other times of the year; the name of the town itself, in fact, means ‘Eel Creek’.

Ålesund 8

 

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