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3:35pm on Thursday, 6th July, 2017:



Today, we docked at Alesund, which is Norway's take on fin-de-siècle Paris. A fire destroyed the town centre at the last-but-one turn of the century, and it was reconstructed in Art Nouveau style. This makes it look a lot different to the other towns we've seen, although the goods on sale in the tourist shops remain resolutely the same.

Alesund has a beautiful setting, surrounded by waterways and islands and HOLY COW LOOK AT THAT CLIMB!

It's like the route to the Dalai Lama's palace, or, if you read the wrong books as a child, something out of the Rupert Bear annual.

It was advertised as having only 418 steps to the top, so naturally we made a beeline for it and charged up. The views are spectacular.

The steps weren't steep, however the prices in the café at the top were. We paid £8.40 for two ice creams, basically the same as a Solero and a Magnum. It was either that or die, though. One of the other people there tripped getting out from a picnic table and broke a plate. Given Norwegian prices, he was probably looking at paying £30 to replace it.

Going down was much easier than going up, at least for me. My wife seems to find it equally hard in both directions. I think it's something about not wanting to fall to her death.

As we reached the bottom, we encountered a man with a pushchair about to ascend. People were looking at him as if he were mad. "I am strong" he said, in an Italian accent. I believe, therefore, that "strong" is the Italian word for "completely unprepared".

After lunch (on the ship, because that's free rather than ruinous), we went to see the Art Nouveau church. We were charged a mere £3 each to enter. We tried to be quiet inside out of respect and because we didn't want to be told off for making a noise. We needn't have bothered, as a woman with the world's loudest phone bleep was taking a picture every 3 or 4 seconds. It sounded like some kind of space battle was going on.

We went to the Fishing Museum so we could deliberately snub it, then went to the Art Nouveau museum. This charged £8 each, which seemed a bit stiff to us for what it was so we didn't go in. It may be Norway's national museum for Art Nouveau, but given that Norway's population is only about 4 million that doesn't necessarily carry as much weight as it sounds.

The port wi-fi is happy to talk to my phone but not to my laptop, so it should be interesting trying to upload this.

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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).