Norway’s Coastline and WWII

Boat houses on the island of EigerøyaAs we left the mountains and started to get close to the coast, I could feel the change in the air, I could smell it.  I grew up near the coast of Maine, and to this day, the smell of a coastline, the fresh air mixed in the breeze with the smell of the salt water, I just love it.  Inhaling it makes me feel alive again.

An old boat house on the island of EigerøyaWe headed first for the island of Eigerøya.  Browsing online prior to our trip, I had seen that they had plenty of cute little boathouses and a lighthouse to see as well.  We headed first for a tiny inlet that was lined with red boathouses on both sides.  

An old farm building on the island of EigerøyaWe tried to head for the lighthouse next, which took us down a small, one lane road which eventually ended in a little parking area.  The GPS, which I had uploaded with the places we wanted to go, was telling us that we still had to drive about a mile.  It was already starting to get later into the day, and we were hungry, so we decided to forego the walk, and just keep going.  At  least this little drive did yield a pretty old boathouse out along the water’s edge, and a picturesque little farm building.

According to a sign on site, this was the site of a "20mm anti-aircraft gun"After a bit of driving, we reached the old World War II complex, Vedafjell, in Sirevåg.  Spread out on a rocky hill overlooking the coastline, the Germans built quite a few artillery spots.  Yes, the Germans.  Norway was one of their many conquered areas during World War II, and they built defensive positions all along its coast. 

Entrance to the site of a 20mm anti-aircraft gunInside the site of a 20mm anti-aircraft gunThese were all equipped with different weaponry, ranging from 20mm anti-aircraft guns to 50mm armored canons, and 88mm canons (all according to a sign on the site in Norwegian, and Google’s help in translating).  Of course, the weapons are long gone, now all that remains are the empty structures.

Entering the command post at the old World War II complex, VedafjellThe command post was quite impressive though, you have to go down a stairway, into the belly of it…

The old rusted door of the command postThe old rusted door of the command postThrough a heavy duty, formidable door, now rusted in place and incapable of being moved.  There was a window in this door with a sliding door to allow them to view who wanted access. Of course this is rusted closed now…

Nazi Graffiti inside the command post at the old World War II complex, VedafjellOnce through the door, you pass though a chamber, with a Nazi symbol carved into the wall.  I wonder if the original soldiers who occupied this command post carved it?  Or was it the work of vandals over the decades since it’s abandonment?

Entering the lookout part of the command post at the old World War II complex, VedafjellLooking out from the lookout part of the command post at the old World War II complex, VedafjellFrom there you ascend a small set of stairs into the area where the men would have been on watch, waiting and watching for the Allies…  Who, from what I can find online, never did come here.  A big waste on Germany’s part in the end.  It is neat to stand there, looking out the narrow little slits the men had, at the beautiful blue ocean beyond and the town they intended to defend as their own.

The command post at the old World War II complex, VedafjellThe command post at the old World War II complex, VedafjellAs we were leaving the area, I noticed a map that I had missed before, and when examining it, I saw they had some tunnels marked that led to other positions.  We immediately headed for the closest of these tunnels and ventured in.  I had brought along a flashlight for exploring this “fort,” knowing full well we could find ourselves in dark buildings.  Where I grew up in Maine, the coastline has plenty of old forts and the buildings can be pitch dark, many of them being windowless.

Exploring the tunnels of the old World War II complex, VedafjellThe tunnel didn’t disappoint, in fact, it was even better than the command post.  It was a massive tunnel hewn out of the rock, and around a couple corners we found a constructed chamber leading back in to a tall stairwell.  I love “ghosting” pictures, and I instantly knew this was the place to do it!  We played with taking ghost pictures for a bit, and then climbed the stairwell, only to find it led to a not so exciting position like the others we had already seen.  We started venturing further down the tunnel, but before long I started spotting massive spiders.  I got too creeped out and quickly left without finishing the tunnel.  Sometimes I just can’t handle the spiders… 

Ghosting in the tunnels of the old World War II complex, VedafjellAfter leaving the old military site, we continued heading North along the coastline, slowly making our way back to our apartment in Stavanger for the night.  Along the roadside just outside of the little town of Brusand, we reached another remnant from the occupation during WWII…  A site called “Hitler’s Teeth” (Hitler-tennene or Hitlers tenner in Norwegian).  These were cement blocks that prisoners were forced to make, to be placed along the coastline to hinder vehicle or tank movements, should the Allies attempt to land there.  Apparently, some of the prisoners were wise enough to mix some sand in with the cement to weaken them.  Although, I guess it didn’t really matter, since the Allies never did bother to invade Norway…

Hitler's Teeth, BrusandFrom there it was another short jaunt North to reach the little town of Varhaug.  Here there is a pretty, very tiny, little church in a field overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  What makes it even better, at least from a taphophile’s viewpoint, are the gorgeous old and rusted metal crosses that mark some of the graves.  What a beautiful place to rest for all of eternity.

Varhaug Old Cemetery

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