Valldal to Ålesund

Originally uploaded by mikefranklin.

Finally left for Ålesund sometime in mid-afternoon after a pleasantly bland morning. Time to say good bye to the sun-kissed, snow-capped mountains descending precipitously into cold and deep fjords, as we headed along some windy roads and through some long tunnels. The weather worsened as we got closer to Ålesund and was fairly rainy when we finally arrived at the Thon hotel.

The were unable to find my reservation, though had rooms available. This particular Thon was nicer than the one in which I stayed in Tromsø – if for no other reason that there wasn’t a note telling me that the smoke detector might sound if I showered with the bathroom door open…

Off we went to find lunch at 3:45pm or so. The city looked fairly deserted, and even the cafe where we ate didn’t have many people in it. Always interesting to see hope other people deal with ordering: I’m used to either sitting down and having a waiter deal with everything or a more cafeteria style of getting and paying for food all at once. In the few places I’ve eaten in Norway, you place an order, pay for it, then sit down and the waiter comes by sooner or later with the food. And paying by credit card – all done by the staff in the US – is nearly all done by the customer in norway, it seems.

It had started raining, so we decided our grand tour of Ålesund would be cut back to viewing the city from above, so we took a roundabout route up to the top of a hill. It may not be the fastest route, Karl Otto noted but it was the route the bus took … Once we got there, the view was indeed quite spectacular, despite the rain. Took a few shots, headed back to the hotel, said goodbye, and Karl Otto headed back to Valldal, great scenery, and an impending crush of tourists.

I’d not asked about the rate for the hotel when I checked in, so I did upon my second arrival. 1097 NOK I was told. I thought that was a bit higher than I had received in a confirmation email which I could find on my laptop in my room … but no matter, the hotel guy would give me the weekend rate of 930. I asked about wifi, and was given a slip of paper with username and password, but without a price, so I hoped it was free.

I couldn’t quite remember when my flight left, other than “about 10,” so it seemed that the reasonable bus to take was at 7:45, which meant an early start. The remainder of the evening was short; I retired early, and went to have breakfast at 6:55… surrounded by a tour group of older french people. I checked out, without paying for breakfast or wireless, and re-verified price and location of the bus to the airport – 73 NOK and around the corner.

Beautiful sunny day; I had not much time to wait for the bus, which was 77 NOK and had been for a couple of years. 30 minutes and we were at the airport. On a sunny day, Ålesund looks like a nice place to walk around. Once we arrived, the bus driver was pretty chatty about where I’d been and where I was from, but I could tell it was time for me to go when he offered to help me with my luggage.

I had indeed arrived far too early (8am) for my 10:40 flight. Check in was self-service, security was quick, and I found myself in a huge crowd of … 15 people in the terminal. I found a power outlet midway up a wall, settled down, paid for wifi, and am now waiting for my flight to oslo. oh so exciting 🙂

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