We left Alesund and after sailing the Norwegian Sea all night, we arrived this morning at the tiny port of Maloy, located in southwestern Norway pop 3,200. It is an important fishing port in Norway. The town is so small the streets are not named, merely numbered. There are only elementary and secondary schools in the town.
We read there is basically nothing to do in port, so we chose to take an excursion to see the area. We booked a three and a half hour excursion called “The Highlights of Maloy”. They had so many of these tours booked throughout the day, we were in the first group and left the ship at 7:15 am. We had to get up at 6:00 and have a quick breakfast. Fortunately the temperatures were in the upper 50’s, not bad.
We went to three places and calling these “highlights” really seemed a bit of a stretch, but seeing the gorgeous scenery more than made up for ho-hum places. Norway is without a doubt a beautiful country with unbelievable views around every bend in the road. Speaking of roads, the roads in Maloy are very narrow (at times one lane) and the bus driver often had to stop or back up to give the car going in the opposite direction room to pass. Seat belts are mandatory in Norway and you certainly don’t mind wearing them on these narrow mountainous roads.
The first stop took us to Kannesteinen Rock. This mushroom shaped or whale’s tail shaped rock, was formed by loose stones and strong westerly winds which caused the pounding waves over thousands of years to erode and shape the rocks along the shore, including this one. The stones split loose and knocked at the rock face until it became polished and rounded. Loose stones worked themselves deeper into the rock. Over time the holes near the center have been polished for so long the sides have rubbed away, leaving just the middle section. It is a favorite spot of photographers and is a protected location under Norwegian law. An unusual rock in a beautiful location.
We quickly learned that even though we only had three locations to visit, you didn’t get anywhere fast in Maloy, having to backtrack where you came from to get to the next location. That requires time and patience on the narrow mountain roads. Along the way we saw quite a few goats along the roadside.
Our second stop was the Krakenes Lighthouse. This was the most disappointing destination of the day. There was a rather long, uphill climb from the parking lot to the lighthouse, only to discover once we were there that we really couldn’t see the lighthouse at all! The 33 foot tall lighthouse is attached to the seaward side of a wooden lighthouse keeper’s house. The way the keeper’s house and lighthouse are built into the rocky shoreline, it is impossible to see the red lighthouse unless you are seeing it by boat. Originally first lit in 1906 and automated in 1986, it emits a white, red or green light depending on the direction every six seconds. It can be seen for up to 14.7 miles. Interestingly, the original lighthouse was destroyed by fire following an Allied air raid in 1945.
Once again we backtracked and ended up at our third destination, Refviksanden Beach, a 1.5 mile beach with white sand. It is also a popular place to camp and the location of a big music festival each summer. Our guide said the wind is so strong in this area, homeowners build the wall of their homes that faces the southwest out of rock or thick concrete to protect it from the strong wind. As we rode around we could see one wall on the houses made of rock. Once again, the beach itself wasn’t spectacular but the surrounding views were amazing.
As I said, the highlights were a bit underwhelming but the scenery was beyond our highest expectations. What a beautiful country!!
These three pictures where made from our ship.
The Maloy Bridge connects the town center to the mainland.
Next up: Flam, Norway