Alesund, Norway–I had never heard of it. Far up the western Norwegian Coast at the entry of one of the largest/longest fjords, this beautiful small city is a quiet gem. The center of the cod fishing industry, the old wooden city burned to the ground in 1904. It was rebuilt in a marvelous art nouveau style. The light-colored smooth buildings have corner turrets and wonderful painted stucco ornaments under windows. The rock-sided Lutheran Church is quite beautiful! The interior has hand hewed wooden benches with wonderful carvings. The altar area is rich in color with a stucco carved (3D effect) painting of angels and scenes of Christ’s life. Above the exit door are inscribed the words of Jesus, “I am with you to the end of the age.” The bells in the tower all have prayers inscribed upon them, to ring out the prayers.
We spent most of the day in Alesund riding a small ship into the Hjorund fjord. The day was sunny with intermittent fog, making for magical vistas of the mountains meeting the waters. Patches of snow remain year round towards the top of the mountains, and at the end of September the winter snows will begin. The area today was a verdant green with fir and white barked birch trees climbing the steep mountain sides. Jagged peaks rose above low lying fog. The further inland we cruised, the closer the opposite sides of the fjord became. One could easily imagine the Viking villages that lay within the fjord before the 11th century, hidden from the outside world while the Viking raiders in their beautiful ships pillaged Europe. We cruised past the village where Rollo, the great Viking raider, was born. He was later to bring Vikings to settle northwest Frankia, known today as Normandy in France, and to establish the dynasty of the House of Normandy from which many European monarchs came.
Today was a day of imagination, inspiration and refreshment for the mind and body. It was God’s beauty at its finest…beauty which we were blessed to witness. WEG