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::: Nordstjernen :::

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      First there was a short stop at Austrått Fort, a battery erected by the occupying forces during WW II.







      The triple-barrelled gun emplacement extends deep below ground along with other installations, which would be possible to visit were more time available. However our main objective on this occasion was the nearby Austrått Manor.

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        The manor house as seen today dates from 1656, but has its origins far earlier. Its story is bound up with that of the nobility and indeed with much of the history of Norway. Following a major fire in 1916 resulting from a lightening strike, restoration has taken place, much aided by a fortunately detailed architectural report made earlier.







        We were enthusiastically welcomed to the manor.

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          Here is our group in the courtyard. The wooden carved columns at the upper gallery level were originally more Baroque in style before their reconstruction in the 1950’s. Their theme is the biblical story of the “wise and foolish virgins”, or “bridesmaids” as it is sometimes translated. And what a delight they are. We speculated on whether the “good” or the “bad” maidens were more alluring and and likely to be more fun! –but at this point I must severely restrain myself from posting page after page of pictures here in Nordstjernen’s thread –and the courtyard is but one aspect of the extensive tour of the manor we enjoyed that afternoon!

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            Continuing on to Brekstad, we visited the Culture Centre, adjacent to the Tinghus.



            Here we were shown the gallery with an exhibition of tapestry artworks of Hannah Ryggen.

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              As we left, I paused in a corridor of this multi-purpose building to photograph this mural. Ørland Air Base is close by.

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                Continuing our bus tour we next reached Grandefjæra, a notable location for bird watching. (There had not been sufficient numbers for an alternative excursion that would have spent more time there, but Uthaug farm, also included in that excursion, was within easy reach of the ship.)





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                  Ørlandet is said to be attractive to artists with its expanses of flat land, wide skies and effects of light and weather, and this was aptly demonstrated as we were leaving Grandefjæra.

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                      Skirting the airbase, we returned to Uthaug, but not before a short detour and photo stop at a place from where the Kjeungskjæret lighthouse can be viewed from the coast. Try as I might, I could not incorporate the pile of stones artistically into a composition, but another of those bales of hay came to my rescue! Perhaps my difficulty was simply that I had already seen the perfect picture from hereabouts –HurtigruteMartin’s atmospheric image of the lighthouse with the passing hurtigrute Vesterålen.

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                        Back in Uthaug, the dear lady who had been giving information about the farm was still on the quay, waving her flag as enthusiastically as ever, and it was to her and a few remaining onlookers that we finally waved goodbye as Nordstjernen departed.


                        Next instalment: Ålesund and Geiranger

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                          Re: ::: Nordstjernen :::

                          Delightful as always Cecilia.

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                            Arriving in Ålesund, Thursday 30th August 2012

                            Peering through the porthole window, I hardly recognised where I was!
                            “If this is Thursday it must be Ålesund”, right?… But Nordstjernen was in cruise ship mode, and this was not quite the recognisable approach of a regular hurtigrute.

                            But once out on deck, I could see the familiar outline of Aksla, with Fjellstua looking particularly prominent from this angle as the ship passed the “opposite” side of Slinningsodden before turning and heading towards the Cruise Terminal.





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                              Looking towards the hill of Storhaugen I was thinking of the day in July 2010 when I’d looked down from there at the QM2. Now little lady Nordstjernen was about to take her place at the cruise terminal.

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                                There was plenty of room next to the offshore vessel Island Intervention.

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