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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

21st September, 2018

Making our approaches from the west into Storfjorden at around 06:30 on Friday, it was only around 5 miles or so until we would hang a left (or turn to port, as we navigators might say) and turn into the harbour bay in which the town of Alesund is housed.

Alesund is fairly easy to identify from afar, as it stands out from other Norwegian towns because its harbour is not lined with wooden clapboard buildings, but instead distinctive art nouveau architecture & design. This is because the original Alesund all but burnt to the ground during an unfortunate fire in 1904, and was rebuilt again shortly afterwards in themes of the times.

We swung the ship around in the damp early morning mist and were berthed by 08:00. It was overcast but dry, and the forecast indicated that this would be the case until late afternoon, at which point a deluge would arrive; and so this was the information I relayed to our passengers over the PA system during my welcome broadcast, shortly after we finished tying up.

Our Cruise Composer, Jemma, had been researching her facts also, and had discovered that perched neatly upon the hilltop looking over the town was a restaurant and viewpoint, which entailed a climb of precisely 417 steps to reach – local information which was also dutifully relayed to our passengers, eagerly listening in.

Those who did not wish to climb this ladder to viewpoint heaven, were offered the usual array of varied excursions to nearby highlights – these included an Art Nouveau City Walk, A coach tour of something similar for those less steady on their pins, a visit to nearby islands of Giske & Godoy, and the rather ominous sounding ‘Path of the Trolls.’ The latter took one on a tour of dramatic mountains, cascading waterfalls and picturesque fjords.

I decided to have a walk around the town and check the viewpoint out, and so it was that at precisely 11:32 I stepped off the gangway and at exactly 11:33, the heavens opened! At approximately 11:34, I returned on board to fetch my raincoat and hat.

Having left again, this time prepared for the rain, I joined Cruise Coordinator Jemma for a wander around town in the pouring rain, before heading up the hundreds of steps in search of good views and a nice lunch. You can only imagine my state of shock upon discovering that there were in fact 418 steps to the top, and not 417 as Jemma had earlier misinformed everyone. My state of shock was further exacerbated when, upon approaching the door to the restaurant, I read a sign stating that it only opened for supper in the evenings! We were directed towards a café located nearby which sold a small selection of cookies & buns for about £15 each; which we politely declined.

A 30 minute wander around town after descending the famed steps again revealed nothing of much open for lunch, therefore we decided to return to Saga Pearl 2 where we knew we could be guaranteed an excellent feed, whatever time of day. There was certainly no disappointment as we entered the main restaurant, upon noting that one of the dishes on offer was king prawn & fish masala curry. Mmmmm….

After publicly apologising for both the dodgy weather forecast and the Cruise Conductor’s incorrect count of steps upon my departure broadcast, we set sail out of the bay and into the North Atlantic towards…nope, not Seydisfjordur as planned, but a little place called Runavik in the Faeroe Islands. This plan was conjured up in order to avoid some more nasty looking weather heading our way from Iceland, thus ensuring our passengers’ gin & tonics would not slide from the bar surface whilst on passage…

Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.