The Grand Hotel is worth a special mention for sure. Through its lengthy history it has gone through several different architectural styles and many renovations and modernizations. Evidently, architecture students and “people in the know” can identify the identify the different styles and appreciate them. It now comprises 10 different buildings demonstrating all the changes. The color is that mustardy orange I have mentioned before and the construction is wood—in uniformity with many of the famous wooden houses on several city blocks. The rooms were comfortable and the location was central to the areas of town we wanted to visit. After unpacking, Kay and I went to find the blocks where the well-preserved and still in use wooden houses are found. It was a short walk of a couple of blocks and we enjoyed seeing them though they were not as colorful as we had expected. Then we went to find the 18th century church but it was closed (wooden and yellowy on the outside). Next we wandered into the town square and it was charming with restaurants, stores, cafes, banks and plenty of public seating for people watching. The harbor was surprisingly smelly but interesting in that we fell into conversation with a fellow form the Faroe Islands who works on the search and rescue service. Its ship was moored in the harbor as we walked by. He told us there are three levels of this service in Norway. The Norwegian Coast Guard (military as well) is responsible for handling problems beyond 80 miles from shore. His professional service (not military but paid a salary) is responsible for complicated problems within the 80 miles from shore. The all-volunteer service tackles small problems with small vessels (unpaid). Most boat people, commercial or private, buy insurance for rescue services because the costs can be very high. The price of the insurance is quite reasonable—equivalent to $100.00 US yearly.
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