According to the guide we had today it rains 300 days of the year in Alesund which means you have around an 80% chance of being rained on. We fell into that group!
After a pretty rough night at sea it was pretty nice to finally see land and sail into some slightly calmer waters. I guess we could have expected the North Sea would be rough (it actually wasn’t that rough) but it was the whistling wind and constant movement that meant it was nigh on impossible to get a good night’s sleep.
Alesund is a pretty town nestled within some fairly well spread out islands. In fact if someone had asked me to describe a Norwegian town before we headed out on this trip I am sure we would have described something very close (spotlessly clean, lots of brightly colored houses with the occasional whiff of fish, offset by some very attractive scenery).
We had an afternoon hike book so after docking at 10 we decided a walk around the town would keep us busy for a couple of hours. A quick look at trip advisor also told us that the number one attraction in town is the Fjellstua which is a lookout and focal point for a number of walking trails around the town. Those who are feeling more energetic can take the 418 steps that lead to the top. We weren’t feeling energetic but decided on the steps anyway. It’s definitely worth it for the view as it affords a 270 degree panorama of the town and surrounding inlets and hills.
A stroll back down and we were back on the ship for a quick lunch prior to our pre-arranged hike.
We had arranged a short hike with guide (along with 53 of our closest friends) up the Sukkertoppen (or sugartop). The weather had been closing in all morning but we were assured (rather weakly it has to be said) that the sugertop has a micro-climate and while it looked completely clouded in from this side. I wasn’t convinced. The path up to the sugar top is steep, slippery, rocky and muddy so you need decent gear to get up it. As we ascended into the clouds the weather got worse and it started raining quite hard. Guiding was pretty poor and the group quickly thinned out such that only five or so actually made the top. 31 of our group had actually bailed half way up and high-tailed it for the bus back to the ship. I am sure that the Sukkertoppen is pretty spectacular on a good day but today in these conditions it was actually no better than a wet weekend in Wales!
Still overall it was good to get off the ship and Alesund was indeed very pleasant. We now have another full day at sea as we head up to the North Cape. Interestingly, as we head further north sunset has been getting later and later and today we are at 11:40 with sunrise at 3:30. A good job we have thick curtains.