Saturday, September 19, 2015

North from Bergen

On Saturday, it was time to say goodbye to Bergen. Joe took the Flybussen back to the airport. He was happy to retrieve the book he had left on the plane, and picked up our car. I waited at the Bryggen; I was developing a headcold and needed to find a pharmacy, and we decided we'd best change some American money into Norwegian to cover tolls for our trip. 

Soon we were driving on the gorgeous E39 where we saw countless waterfalls and went through numerous tunnels, some of which were long ones.

Our destination was Floro, a place we had deemed to be halfway to Alesund, our real destination. The ride was just beautiful. 

Floro was a quiet little nondescript kind of place; it reminded us of an American seashore town in November. We stayed at the Comfort Inn there, a very barebones place that didn't even have shampoo, but it was clean and comfortable. The desk clerk sent us down the street to a recommended restaurant and we had a delicious meal of salmon and mushroom risotto.

In Scandinavia, as in many other parts of Europe, a substantial breakfast is included with a hotel room. On our driving days, we packed up some meat, cheese, bread and fruit from the breakfast buffet and took it along for our lunches. Besides being economical, this was practical, because we had no idea whether there would be a place along the way where we could purchase lunch.

We were on our way out of Floro by ten o'clock on Sunday morning, thinking it would take about four hours to get to Alesund. The countryside was just beautiful: Everywhere we saw amazing (and you know I do not use that word easily) mountains, fjords -- large and small, and waterfalls. Again, the road was interrupted constantly by tunnels and we had to take three ferryboat rides to reach our destination. We had packed some meat, cheese and bread from the breakfast buffet in Floro, so we didn't really need to spend time (or money) in a restaurant, but still it was six o'clock when we pulled in.


Alesund is a beautiful place. In 1904, this town of 12,000 inhabitants was totally destroyed by a fire (wooden buildings). Cities and philanthropists throughout Europe responded, and reconstruction took four years. This was at the peak of the Art Nouveau period, and all of the buildings in the center of town were built in that style. 

We stayed at Hotel Brosundet for two nights. The room was on the small side, but beautifully decorated in a contemporary style and with the most comfortable bed so far. 

The desk clerk sent us to Lyst, a small restaurant a few blocks away. Cod is the specialty of the region, and Lyst's version did not disappoint. I really wasn't feeling well -- the headcold I picked up in Bergen had settled in and Joe, as well, was developing symptoms, so I wasn't able to finish my dinner. We returned to the hotel and turned out our lights by 9:30.

The next time I looked at the clock, it was 9:30 in the morning!

After breakfast our first stop was to the apothecary shop where the pharmacist picked out a drug for Joe and a cough remedy for me and then we went on our way. 

The first stop was the Alesunds Museum. It was a great place to start -- we learned about the history of the area, the fire, the reconstruction. We also learned about the Uraed, a very unusual egg-shaped sailboat that took four intrepid sailors from Alesund to Boston, in 1904. There was a model of the boat in the museum, so we could go inside and see how small it was; outside was the original vessel.

The scenery in Alesund is beautiful. Water everywhere and these Art Nouveau buildings everywhere we turned. 

We just wanted to wander around and take pictures and soak it all in.

We went to the Art Nouveau Museum, which was so well-done. We entered a "time capsule" that took us back to 1904 where we learned more about the fire, the reconstruction, and the Art Nouveau movement in general. Everywhere we saw beautiful things.

There are gorgeous doors all over Alesund. I'd be happy to have this one for my front door!




Actually, this one would probably be better for my front door.






2 comments:

Barbara Anne said...

Thank you for the wonderful photos and description of your experiences and the scenery. What a wonderful way to spend vacation time!

Wouldn't it be lovely if nations worked together for the betterment of people in this day and time as they did to beautifully rebuild Alesund in 1904?

Hugs!

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

WOW! What an incredibly beautiful place. Hope you have recovered from your head cold