Entire city built in the art nouveau style? Of course that’s a place I am going to make it to.
I took my first overnight boat from Bergen to arrive in Ålesund the next morning. I may have drank to much coffee, ate too much Nutella and developed a slight addiction to the web comic girls with slingshots..
Personal problems aside it was a great voyage and on my list of “things to do when I visit Scandinavia at a not super-awkward time”.
There were lots of beautiful houses. The architect and craftsmen who built the town threaded Nordic and Viking art into the art nouveau style creating something very unique. On my first morning I went to the museum which was a bit small but very well done. Well, they had a time machine (Some of you may call it a room with blinking lights and tiny screens). There was a presentation of the 1906 fire that burned down the entire town in a day, also, there was a history of art nouveau itself set out on 3 large screens in another room. So… I learned that in Glasgow there were some great artists.
The rest of my time in Ålesund was spent quietly. A long walk up the town mountain to look at the views and freak myself out by exploring the WW2 abandoned outposts that overlook the harbour.
I went on one last boat trip into the fjords stopping at one of the tiny towns set between mountains and ocean. Just 30 people live there.
(I’m pretty proud of the healthy? Backpacker lunch I packed to. Norway: not the cheapest place on earth).
I went on some boats. I hunted them fjords down.
These are from a day trip from Bergen and the sunlit spots on the Hurtigruten from Bergen to Ålesund (sounds a bit like olesund)
Oslo’s best touristy thing is the Vigeland sculpture park (rated in the “top 25” park list) one person made all of these incredibly expressive sculptures and they’ve been put on display in a giant city park.
I road one of Oslo’s numerous yet incredibly ghetto city bikes from my hostel in grünerloken (the cool east side of the city) to the park. 3 speeds and you can easily feel any incline. Shitty brakes have a similar effect.
A little sweat and I made it- 20 seconds before the tour busses pulled in. Ah well.
I decided getting cake at Oslo’s best bakery was a much better idea than biking back right away
I managed to get one more cultural thing squeezed in that day and that was a ferry ride to Oslo’s open air museum. It was fairly interesting… I find history is romanticized a bit too much in these kinds of things. It’s very easy to just walk around in the sun and remark how cute the buildings are. I mean, unless you ask the interpreters something and also end up learning farmers preferred to not use candles very often because they were made from fish oil. Yum.
A building really worth looking at was the museums Stave church.
wooden church with very ornate woodcarving on the door and around the alter. It also has a distinct lack of windows. Turns out windows have a distinct lack of ability to keep heat in- something useful in a Scandinavian winter. (Fireplaces weren’t really an option)
The capital of Norway before Oslo, nowadays it’s a bit smaller.
The harbour is breathtaking. In this city I didn’t leave the harbour-side. I spent my time walking around the cobbled streets and taking pictures of bryggen and the fjord.
It’s a pretty relaxing place to travel in seeing as most of the museums close at 4pm. There is nothing you really have to see either, I just stopped in at the city history museum an the Norway culture museum.
The evening was spent hiking to the top of the nearby hill to see the fjord and many fit Norwegians jogging past me.
The hostel I stayed at happened to have a roof terrace-unarguably the perfect place to practice guitar and drink a very average expensive Norwegian beer.
Departure day. Before hopping on a boat northwards to Ålesund I got on another boat for a brief cruise through some of the fjords. It was very windy. We shot through the waters leaving Bergen quickly, everyone’s shutters snapping frantically to try and catch images of the sky, mountains, ocean.
We slowed as we came to a narrow pass and i quickly volunteered when the chance to help collect a bucket of waterfall to drink came up.
The one big sight I was rather disappointed in was the fish market. There’s lots of fish… If only I liked fish. Or whale. If I liked whale I would have been over the moon!
I don’t think I’ve ever wasted so much time finding accommodation.
The only two hostels in Oslo were booked up Friday and Saturday nights. Standing in the Tourist office I pinned my hopes on a quick airbnb response in light of my emergency couch being super unresponsive.
Luck with airbnb was on my side though- upon finding a room I got myself settled and my great host offered me some coffee and brunost Norwegian cheese (brown cheese).
I’m always wary in the beginning of meeting new people but this guy was a real traveler. Going by himself and traveling as often as possible, he spent a month in the Philippines and has been to china and Cambodia.
We walked up to Ekeberg park, overlooking Oslo fjord and harbour. On the way back we passed some statues (Oslo’s favourite thing) and the bridge where Munch was inspired to paint the scream.
I Never made it to the Munch museum, something I really regret. Oh Oslo, I had so many plans for you. Maybe I would have got further is your coffee didn’t suck.
My first full day I walked past the new opera house just to look around. At the entrance I was given a pamphlet written in Norwegian but with some sort of schedule on it.. For free open house activities! Home of the opera and ballet I got to see snippets of singing grandly in the foyer and dance pieces from the new show. Getting to see the ballet was extra special since I only saw the last 5 minutes of “so you think you can dance” on tv before I left that morning.
Afterwards I managed to end up on the most radical street tour I’ve yet been on. Advertised as a free Oslo tour it, our guide was an anarchist-artist and led us through the city looking at street art and talking a bit about cultural history in the area. Atop an art school overlooking the city we all imitated the scream.