We left Bergen at around 10 last night and headed for the pretty Art Nouveau port of Ålesund. If you wanted time to visit Bergen – which is a beautiful city – you would need to have booked in for a night or two stopover as the ship didn’t stay here for very long. The Unesco site of historic Bryggen is very pretty to visit. We had visited it previously, so it didn’t matter to us.
Deep down, almost all Norwegians love the outdoor life (friluftsliv) – the thrill of being out in nature, enjoying the outdoors with all your senses. The best way to experience this seemed to be to sign up for the Winter activity pass which began today with a snowy hike to the summit of Sukketoppen in the Sunnmøre Alps. We were given very good crampons, so we didn’t need the ones we had packed – although trying to walk this path without them would not have been much fun I don’t think (although we did pass some Norwegians doing this). You get a lovely view back across the city from the mountain top.
A good alternative excursion would have been the Art Nouveau walk around Ålesund, although you could easily just walk around yourself without a guide.
The Hurtigruten line takes local cuisine very seriously and tonight, the Nordlys is offering a tempting selection from “the coastal kitchen” of carpaccio of clipfish from Dybbvik, salted leg of lamb from Hellesylt and caramelised apples with locally made Skjenning ice cream from Gangstad Gårdsysteri. .
The dress code is very relaxed and informal – no need to change for dinner – very different from the larger cruise ships.
Glad I packed: Buff, hat and gloves + sea sickness bands.
Apples are something of a delicacy here, apparently, with many varieties harvested by over 380 local farmers – hard to imagine with the view of the snowy coastline that fills every porthole.
Skjenning is a flatbread normally served on festive occasions. During production, the baker brushes the thin rolled skjenning dough with sugar an milk. Later, when it is baked on the griddle, the bread becomes caramelized. At the end of the day, the surplus of caramel that has collected on the griddle is collected and used to make the ice cream. A good example of hyper-local food production where nothing is wasted.