Some of the Hurtigruten ships, such as ours, double as cruise lines and ferries along the Norwegian coast. Throughout the day and night the ship stops to let travelers get on and off. When there is enough time in port, the cruise passengers escape for a few minutes or hours to stretch their land legs. While we pass up Floro (2 AM), Maloy (4:15 AM), and Torvik (7:15 AM), we are awake when we dock in Alesund. This town is distinguished by its renown Art Nouveau Architecture used when the city was rebuilt after its 1904 devastating fire. It is a busy fishing port and entry point for reaching the Geirangerfjord by land.
Our afternoon was marked by the 10-mile ride into the Geirangerfjord, known as the Pearl of the fjords, with its pristine water and panoramic mountain views of water falls and houses tittering on the narrow banks at water’s edge. This UNESCO World Hertitage site is breathtaking from every vantage point. We return again to Alesund to pick up those who chose to bus over to the fjord.
Wednesday, we are motivated to get an early start since Jon is scheduled to take a local bike ride in Trondheim and I want to see the town. Unfortunately, wires were crossed and Jon was left standing on the pier forgotten by his excursion leader. Since Care had remained on the ship until his intended departure, she included him in her walk around the town. Taking off, we had a misfire on our starting location and wound up back tracking to correct our course for the city center.
Trondheim, founded in 997 AD by Viking King Olar Tryggvason, it was Norway’s original capital and named “Nidaros”. The River Nid wanders around the city with colorful wooden buildings sited on its banks and bridges for pedestrians and bikers adding to the intimate scale. We explored the Nidarosdomen, a national shrine, built over the burial place of St Olav, a patron saint of Norway. It supports a mixture of Norman, Romanesque and Gothic styles and is highlighted by the Chartres-like stained-glass rose window. Following Munkegata, we walk through the heart of Tronheim passing several museums including the Museum of Applied Art, the royal residence – an old timber mansion completed in 1778 in Rococo with Baroque details, and the operating fish market.
Back on the ship, we complete our stops for today at Rorvik while fast asleep.