The Jugendstil town of Ålesund and Molja Lighthouse

(This is part two of Sigrid's travel from Oslo to Ålesund.) The Rauma Railroad took me to Åndalsnes in the Romsdalsfjord, and from here, by bus to Ålesund, my destination. There is always the option of flying from Oslo to Ålesund, but there was no way I wanted to miss out on the scenic tour across Norway. The bus trip was also beautiful, passing fjords, green mountains, snowy peaks, flowers, and farms, with colors so intense that no one would believe my photos were not color enhanced.

Leaving Åndalsnes on the Romsdalsfjord.

Quaint farmland with a snow-capped mountain backdrop.

Because Ålesund is hilly, attractive staircases like these can be found all over the city.

Aspøy School bathed in evening sun.

These charming towers are typical of the Jugendstil.

Hotel Brosundet in Ålesund harbor.

Rhythmic facades and rich pastels enhance buildings along the harbor.

Silhouette of Molja Lighthouse and Christian Radich – a rare photo opportunity.

Hurtigruten's MS Midnatsol leaving Ålesund harbor.

Taking in the sunset at the end of Molja breakwater.

Harbor at sunset.

Hello Ålesund Kitty!

Molja Lighthouse.

Three fine Jugendstil neighbors.

Slate-covered roofs and narrow streets.

Christian Radich docked at the mouth of Ålesund harbor.

Arresting summer evening light in Ålesund.

Details come to life in atmospheric lighting.

Seagulls bask in the golden hour.

The sun about to dip under.

The last view before bedtime.

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Text and photos by Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Ålesund is one of the most photogenic cities in Norway. On the night of January 23, 1904, the whole city burned to the ground in a big fire. 10,000 people were left without homes. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany sent four warships with materials to build temporary shelters. After a period of planning, the town was rebuilt in stone, brick, and mortar in Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), the architectural style of the time. The structures were designed by about 20 master builders and 30 Norwegian architects, drawing inspiration from all over Europe. That is why this city is one of the most beautiful cities in Norway.

In Ålesund my destination was Molja Lighthouse. Molja is one of the most important landmarks in Ålesund as it marks the arriving point for all ships and boats coming to Ålesund. Today it belongs to Hotel Brosundet and is referred to as “Room nr 47.” The architecture firm Snøhetta (best known for the Oslo Opera house and National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York) redecorated the interior of the lighthouse and made it a bridal suite, with a bedroom upstairs, and bathroom downstairs. With its mix of comfort and rustic style, it is nothing less than beautiful.

The Queen of Norway stayed there just before me, and, before her, Thy of Total Make-over was here. And tonight, I was going to sleep here. Me in a small lighthouse. What an experience! Outside the lighthouse, Christian Radich, a full-rigged Norwegian ship from 1937, was docked and made the atmosphere spectacular. I could only do one thing – sit back, listen to the seagulls and watch the sun set in the ocean. This had been one remarkable day.

And my lullaby was the sound of the waves hitting the rocks, gently.

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