Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 26 - Hurtigruten - Floro, Maloy, Torvik, Alesund, Geiranger, Molde

When we awoke at about 0430, we realized that the ship was not moving. In fact, we were docked at Maloy, and moments later we departed under heavily overcast skies and strong winds. At this point, we realized that we must have stopped at Floro about 0200 while were sleeping.

The ship continued north skirting around islands, under beautiful sweeping bridges, occasionally crossing open sections with a good cross ‘lop’ from the west. Before we knew it, we had stopped at Torvik to offload cargo and passengers. And then, we were off to Alesund for a 45 minute stop, and a quick walk down to the end of the harbour. The town burnt in 1904 and was rebuilt with a distinctive Art Nouveau style of building along the waterfront.

We spent most of the day outside on deck 5 in the wind and cold, not wanting to miss any of the spectacular scenery passing by. As the day wore on, we came in several times to warm up and put on few more clothes. From Alesund, we headed south for a short distance, and then east up Storfjorden and Sunnylysfjorden to Geirangerfjorden. What fantastic scenery; just amazing! There were spectacular waterfalls plunging from the mountainous snow-capped 1500 to 1700 m margins of the fjords, picturesque small towns and villages along the coastline, and small abandoned farming communities (now summer homes) and ‘hyttes’ dotting the higher slopes sporadically midway up the fjord sides. After dropping off some passengers for an afternoon bus excursion, we headed back to Alesund, again enjoying the fjord scenery on the return trip.

After leaving Alesund, we were chased by an ominous black line squall (cold front). As the cold front caught up and passed us, the temperature dropped and the rain turned to sleet with 3-4 mm ice pellets bouncing off the deck and railings.

Since we were assigned to the 2nd sitting for dinner, we didn’t eat until 2030. At this time, we met our dinner table mates for the rest of the trip. She was from Alsace and only speaks French and German; he is from Germany, and speaks German, French and a little English. With our English and limited French, our dinner conversation must be fascinating to others. While having dinner, the ship stopped at Molde. The town looks south over Romsdalsfjorden to the Romsdalen Alps (87 snow-topped peaks … and no, we didn’t count them).

From Molde, we headed west, then north past Julsnundet, Fraena, Gossen Island, Hustadvika and Bud towards Kristiansund.

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