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16th August, 2016

Arendal, Norway

Arendal is a little gem, and one neither I nor Saga had been to before. The approach channel, once having passed the two coastal light houses built in the middle of the 19th century, curves one way and then the other as various small islands are passed. Charming painted houses line the fjord, which becomes quite narrow before widening out as the town comes into view.

In recent years this once bustling little port has been sympathetically redeveloped in places. Our designated berth looked fairly new and had modern apartments built to one end close to the water, some of the owners came out onto their balconies to watch our arrival. We were by far the biggest vessel in town. A couple of old coastal ferries lay either side, now used to train cadets in the Norwegian Merchant Navy and I was amused to see an ‘L’plate painted on one under the port of registry at the stern.

Within walking distance was the old part of town known as Tyholmen and here still exist wooden houses built as early as the late 18th century. The old Town Hall, completed in 1815 by a wealthy ship owner, is the second largest wooden building in Norway. On the top of the hill was the upper secondary school completed in 1881 and dominating one corner of Tyholmen is the ‘Trefoldighetskirken’, the Trinity Church dating from 1884 and built from 1.4 million red bricks. (approximately I presume).

Tours went off to see the coastal villages, but some folk just took a stroll around town which was surprisingly busy, apparently because there were a number of political events taking place. I took an hour to take a walk and was surprised to see many of those little tents you see in street markets, except they weren’t selling anything, more likely trying to buy a vote.

We departed in afternoon sunshine, everyone on deck as we maneuvered slowly back off the quayside. As the bridge wing passed a lady on her balcony I offered to pass over a cup of tea we were that close. She smiled, and declined, probably wanted something a little stronger as it must be quite disconcerting watching 200 meters and 38,000 tonnes of steel sliding passed your pot plants.

Captain Philip Rentell

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.