The night of January 23rd 1904 was the night of the big fire... which in 16 hours burned down 850 houses and left 10.000 people homeless. In the centre there were only 230 homes left. The whole town needed to be rebuilt and by 1907 this deed was accomplished - in Art Nouveau style.
Art Nouveau, generally speaking, means that the new homes were decorated with towers, turrets and imaginative and colourful ornaments, often from the natural world (leaves, fruits and so on).
Having only ever used a sauna once for about two minutes I was determined to experience it properly in Norway! And the camp ground at Alesund was perfect. Alot of camp grounds in Norway have saunas and sometimes they are free.
The sauna I used was only about £1 so it didn't really matter to me. And the best thing was that I had it to myself both times I used it. What a way to warm yourself up after a cold rainy day!
As in many harbour cities in Norway, local fishermen will line up at the quay and offer fresh steamed shrimp right from the boat - preferably this morning's catch.
In Ålesund this happens at the Brosundet canal. You buy the shrimp by volume and peel and eat them right there sitting on the bench at the canal.
The locals in this western region of Norway are quite religious, but less conservative than in the southern areas of Norway (around Stavanger or Kristiansand S).
They are much more enterprising, rather smart people, with a good sense for doing business, the only ones in Norway...
At Bremsnes on the island Averøy , you may find this stone, accoding to local legend Harald Hårfagre sat down and had his hair cut on this stone .Well who was Harald Hårfagre ? HH where the king who gathered Norway under one kingdom . The story says that he made the promise not to cut his hair before Norway where gathered under one king ,when he started his work doing so. Well he might have felt that this were the spot to have a hair cut.
Most Norwegians are very approachable and helpful. Since English is compulsary second language from 4th grade, everyone above the age of 10 have at least some basic English skills.
A traffic rule: Having lived five years in North America, I had to 'rediscover' a few things in Ålesund, such as the fact that the pedestrian has the right of way. This means, that if you are driving, watch out for pedestrians! They might not care that you're headed right for them - you are expected to stop! Likewise, I had a hard time getting used to the fact that cars actually did stop when they saw that I was going to cross the street.
I was walking in the city centre when I heard some music and I found the citizen's band of Alesund to play around the town. Nice music and nice event!!!