How many times I’ve been in Ålesund? A dozen. Surprisingly I never climbed the almost 500 stairs to the top of the Mount Aksla. Time to do it!

It is six o’clock. We start to approach Ålesund.

Our little ship is berthing behind the huge MEIN SCHIFF 1.

In Ålesund everything is nearby. Within minutes you are in the city centre, famous for its Art Nouveau style buildings. The town has a very consistent architecture, since most of the buildings have been built in the years after the big fire of 1904, which destroyed all of the mainly wooden houses.

Thanks to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany the town was quickly rebuilt in stones and bricks, in the, at that time, contemporary Jugendstil or Art Nouveau style.

Jugendstilsenteret – The Art Nouveau Centre of Norway

Today I have a mission: I decided to hike to the top of the Mount Aksla. It is an invigorating climb of ‘only’ 418 stairs, perfect to stretch the legs after too little exercise on the ship. In less than twenty minutes I reach the Fjellstua, the café with the most amazing panoramic view over the archipelago, the delightful town centre, and the Sunnmøre Mountains.

Mount Aksla. Do you see the stairs?

Halfway, time to take a picture

Looking back. Soon on top.

My ship on the left, and MEIN SCHIFF 1 on the right.

Hurtigruten’s NORDKAPP

A perfect landscape for some tilt-shift manipulation.

Time to go down again, and enjoy a bit of the maritime festival.

Bringing the rescue boats to the children.

Oooh, why is time flying so fast? Just before re-embarking I discover a fantastic microbrewery pub and burger bar, just in front of the ship, in the old customs house on the Storneskaia (Stornes Quay). The manager tells me Molo Brew opened a couple of days ago. This is a place I certainly want to visit again, to do some Norwegian beer tasting.

It reminds me to do a quick jump to the Vinmonopolet, the state-owned liquor shop. I want to bring home some local beers. And indeed, I find some great IPA’s. No worries to bring them home. No flights, weight limits.  The All-Ways cruise starts and ends in Zeebrugge, Belgium. 

Time to say goodbye. To the city of Ålesund and to the passengers of MEIN SCHIFF 1.


Words and photos: Mike Louagie 

Mike is onboard classic cruise vessel BERLIN, chartered by Belgian cruise tour operator All-Ways. With a couple of workshops he tries to inspire people, to grab their cameras and smartphones, and learn them to achieve better results, and come home with superb souvenir photos