TRAVEL | Alesund, Norway - A tour in the Land of Trolls and the Fjords

Trolls. Fjords.
Those are the 2 words I remember the most as I think of the time I was in Alesund - the 2nd stop of our cruise. They were the main subjects of our 8 hours tour that day.

Fun Fact: Alesund is the most important fishing port in Norway and the town's fishing fleet is one of the most modern in all of Europe. Alesund is noted for its concentration of Art Noveau architecture.

Our whole day in this stop was dedicated to discovering the beauty of the Fjords and the Land of Trolls - an area outside Alesund. And it started with our tour bus picking us up from the port at 9am.

Along the drive, first we passed by Sjoholt, in the Romsdal county, located on the northern shore of the Stor Fjord(Great Fjord), and spotted the house of Ivar Aasen - founder of Norway's 2nd language, Nynorsk. Then we stopped at a bus stop to take photos of the stunning view of Stor Fjord.

Stor Fjord is the 5th largest fjord in Norway stretching for 68 long and beautiful miles, that then splits into Geiranger Fjord.
**FJORD - is pronounced as "fi'yord" and is defined as a long narrow arm of the sea bordered by steep cliffs usually formed by glacial erosion.
I was making fun of myself after I found out because I was pronouncing it as it's spelled! lol

Marveling on the beauty of these fjords reminded me of how beautiful nature and God's creation trully is! I literally couldn't stop staring.....
I felt so close to the clouds... It was an indescribable feeling!
The fjords made me love Norway even more after Bergen....

Continuing on the road along the Stor Fjord, we then next stopped at the small village of Stordal, famous for its Rose Church, built in 1789.
And I say small village for a reason! Stordal has less than 1000 inhabitants. Aside from fellow tourists from our bus and other tour buses that day, I don't think I've seen one village resident while we were there.
This village is so serene, as it's surrounded by mountains, rivers and picturesque farms and yards.
It will be very lovely to live here I think, but at the same time, I know I'll get bored. haha
I bet you're wondering about those plants on the roof (aside from my goofy face).. And yes, those are real plants! This perfectly reveals the ancient way of Norwegians insulating their homes.. Pretty amazing right? That's the olden "house heaters". And it's funny how the guide said that if the plants needed trimming, home owners would literally throw a goat up in there to eat the greens. haha

Moving on with the tour, we passed by another village - Valldal, famous for its delicious strawberries (which we weren't able to try because strawberries were not in season yet?...)

Then comes our next stop at the breathtakingly beautiful narrow and deep ravine of Gudbrandsjuvet!
We walked over a bridge from one side of the ravine to the other. All I could remember while being there was how powerful the water flow sounded like. It's amazing how the water formed deep potholes and intricate formations over time, exactly showing the force of water.
And to top the beauty of this ravine is a beautiful yet tragic love story behind its name. According to our tour guide, the name Gudbrandsjuvet was after a man called Gudbrand who fell inloved with the only daughter of a very rich and powerful man in the village. The woman loved Gudbrand back dearly but her father was against their love, that's why these lovers ran off one night and were pursued by men sent by the woman's father. Until they hit the ravine as the dead end and had to jump! -together!
Their pursuers assumed them dead and reported it to their master, not knowing that the lovers survived and lived happily ever after on the side-valleys above Gudbrandsjuvet, until the death of the woman's father. The valley is still called Gudbrandsdalen up to this day.
How tragic and romantic... It reminds me of the classic Veronian love story of Romeo and Juliet.

Heading back on the road again, our next stop was at the Trollstigen(Troll Road) Visitor Center. It's a beautiful stop by Road 63, where Trollstigen Plateau is at, where scenic views of the Troll Road, the Mountains - the King, the Queen and the Bishop, as well as the waterfall Stigfossen are simply amazing!
We didn't have the time to go all the way up to the plateau (that I regret so much) but we still enjoyed the views from half way.

After this stop, we then moved on to the most exciting part (as the tour guide said) - driving down the Troll Road - through 11 hairpin bends! Yes, it was super narrow and steep! My heart was beating fast and my stomach was churning! (as I looked down)... Gladly though our driver was very talented and confident. He's been driving on that road for almost 30 years and even claimed that he can drive on it easily, blindfolded! Well, ofcourse we were relieved and laughed about it but didn't let him do so! haha

**I wasn't able to snap photos while on the bus because of slight fear I was experiencing that moment. lol. Plus, even if I did, I wouldn't want to post blurry photos in here (due to the winding bus). Feel free to check some photos out in the internet to see how crazy looking Troll Road is.

I remember an interesting fact that our guide brought up during the drive: Norwegians and even tourists love to hike or bike from the bottom of the Troll Road up to the top." How crazy." I thought!
They must be very motivated in order to do such a difficult activity.... Which also made me think, maybe if I do that atleast once a month both for fun and for exercising purposes, I'll be in my ideal/dream figure! haha. Who's with me????

Finally, we reached the bottom alive! haha
And fittingly, we stopped at the a restaurant for our lunch that served us local salmon dishes, local meats, veggies and desserts, as we listen to fascinating stories about Trolls.
(That's the front of the restaurant and souvenir shop at the same time.)

It's quite strange, but Norwegians "do" admit their belief in Trolls. It's a very important part of their very existence and culture, they say. These mystical creatures they believe to be living in the mountains & don't show themselves during daylight and only after sundown and dark.
One tourist asked our guide "Are they cute and cuddly like many storybooks or movies depict them?" and the guide laughed and said "Well, it depends.. We believe Trolls vary in sizes and in looks. Some are cute, cuddly and smaller than others; while some are ugly, bigger and more brusque! And as I always tell everyone who asks me if have I seen one, 'I wake up with one every morning(pertaining to her boyfriend) and he's quite cute and cuddly!'" Everyone had a good laugh!

After our fun and delicious lunch, we head on to the road again to see the Troll Wall (Trollveggen). It's the tallest vertical rock face in Europe - 1100 meters from the base to the summit. It's very famous to climbers and parachute jumpers, even until today even though parachute jumping has been banned by the law since 1986. Again, my thought was "Are they crazy??!!" haha
Just by looking at how tall and steep it is from the bottom already tells me that it's "very deadly" to jump off from! Unless I really want to commit suicide, then I'll try parachute jumping from up there! haha

This was our last stop in the Land of Trolls and drove back to Alesund....The drive is close to an hour.. It was around 4pm that time and I was fighting my drowsiness so I won't miss anything interesting on the road. hahaha
Along the way, we passed by the famous Rauma line train track that goes to Alesund, Bergen, and Oslo. Our guide said that one train scene from the famous Harry Potter movie was shot from there.

Before we got dropped off the port, we drove around the city centre of Alesund and enjoyed the view of Art Noveau buildings.

There was a huge fire lasting 16 hours in 1904 where 850 houses were burnt and 10,000 people became homeless. But with help from the local population, foreign contributors and even travelers, the town was rebuilt on 1907. How awesome!
I love how the buildings are so detailed and decorated with imaginative and colorful ornaments...
I'm so into European artsy buildings obviously, right!…

When we reached the port, we still had time to kill before the ship leaves, so hubby and I walked back into the town centre which was only 5 minutes away, and looked around some more.
Then we chilled at a fancy coffee shop and tried Alesund's cappuccino and pastry that were very delish! There's not a day that ends without a coffee break when you're with me and my husband.. haha.

Here are some more photos of Alesund taken from the Norwegian Jade's deck.

And that's a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed the day's journey with me as you read along.

"Tak Tak!" (Thank you so much in Norwegian)

I'd love to know your thoughts about this article through your comments...
Was it interesting enough to make you want to see Alesund and/or Norway in general?
Or if you have been there, share your experiences too!
Thanks for reading and till our next travel destination together!

Much love, Christie


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