Norway is perhaps best known for its many beautiful and dramatic fjords, but in at least thirty-four of them the water is so poisoned that you should not eat fish, shellfish or fish stuffing from them. The main registered poisons are quicksilver, PCB, cadmium, and lead. The poison fjords include Åsefjorden (also called Borgundfjorden) and Ellingsøyfjorden in the Ålesund district. [◦NRK, July 8 2007]
To rub it in: Nationen published this on 15 July 2009: in Norwegian fjords, PCB, mercury and lead are among the environmental toxins which pose a health risk to humans. A polluted sea bottom is a problem in more than a hundred ports and sea areas due to closed or existing industry, and the cleanup of contaminated fjords takes much too long. The Norwegian Parliament should press much harder to hasten the cleanup work, for these environmental toxins pose a risk to many people. Among the sources of contamination are fillings from shipyards and ship paint factories that are leaking, and this has been known for over twenty years.
Also, along the Norwegian fjords there are more than 2,300 wrecks, and several of them are filled with oil. Kystverket, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, has pointed out that thirty-two of them are risk wrecks.
There is also some slight radioactive contamination going on in Norwegian waters. Radioactive discharges - most significantly technetium-99 - from the British reprocessing plant Sellafield are transported with ocean currents to Norwegian waters. Its effects on the Norwegian marine environment build up slowly, very slowly. Still, the greatest contamination of these waters comes from global fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests from the fifties and sixties. For all that, radioactive contamination of fish and other seafood in Norwegian waters is still low.
Now in a wind-beaten place in the Ålesund area a mountain is lowering itself in the shape of hills and vales and at last reaches a fjord in the form of a peninsula. It overarches a fjord that not long ago was teeming with fish and other marine creatures: porpoises, white whales, seals and all that. Today it's different, but the place lies in the western parts of Norway still, along the rocky coast somewhere.
On the outermost part of the peninsula nature has formed half of an impressive castle of hard rock - one part of it is a little mount that goes steeply into the sea. It is hard to scale it. From boats that sail by underneath, it looms up about 55 yards with its steep cliffs. Under their sheltering slopes there is also a rocky beech, a hundred yards long or so, where it used to be possible to bathe and sun-tan and spend time with your special friends in idyl, peace and quiet for most part. Fishing was fit too in the old days.
The back side of it - the east side, is well protected. There is a little field inside that spacious courtyard. Cattle, dogs, goats, and hens were known to thrive there, as well as other animals. One of them a fox.
Firs and gales
THE GALES are brought from the west and north and can be dangerous. There was a girl that found that if she took shelter from the mount on a grassy field to the south of it, the wind was pressed up from the shore so that it might lift her into the air and blow her off her feet. She could fly -
On the western and in part northern side of the mount the winds sweep across and leave little room for living to others than kelp, wonderful grass, many golden flowers, caprifoliums, aspens, tiny birches and many firs. And then there are the shrubs and heather, that gives an over-all brownish impression when looked at from afar, such as from fields across the fjord. There are many such farm fields still.
The outermost part of that peninsula brings on a lovely scenery. You can see far and wide, and if the weather is clear, a broad range of elps that are intersected by fjords. This panorama view is among the finest in this famous tourism region.
❖ Let us not refrain from telling the truth that suits us too.
THE OVER-ALL shape of that bastion made of very hard, enduring rock, makes it fit for a castle - for most of it looks like it and is halfway shaped into a castle as it is.
One evening a Swedish artist was taken to the peninsula "fort" to have a look. He strove to light a candle on the top of the mount, for he wanted that. It could not be done. The wind made him sore. Windsore, we may say; he took on the status of a Windsore Man -
❖ Let us compare and not refrain from stating fair and fit facts that suit ourselves.
❖ He who hesitates tends to become a nest of thoughts.
SOMEONE: "My ladies: A castle of rocks can be different from one of stones and boulders. Which could serve good living the best? It stands to reason that it is the former, the one shaped over perhaps millions of years to glide in in the landscape - thoroughly integrated and with a "natural look" too. As for the many specifics involved, these may do here. In a castle of rock:-
All this may be had at a stupendously low cost - if you are lucky to secure property that fits in and gives you so much that others have to strive for, build for and protect and serve by ARTIFICIAL things for some time, till things get settled - and some lives may be ruined, not just endangered.
Not beating about the bush
Lovely things come at a price, and in this case it's far from heat, but rather the icy cold and rainy weather - at times hard hurricanes, and why not scheming, intrigue-fond neighbours? They can be hard and not just warty. Or maybe your castle road has to be built among cliffs and steep slopes. Unless you have a good road, maybe there will be few welcomes -
There may be many other problems. Problems or dangers of castle isolation are seldom told of - yet you can have that in nature too, unless you're lucky. So those who own castles could have an extra need to be surrounded by very good friends that stand by them in thick and thin. It may be added: Good outfit matters terribly much in whatever castle type one survives inside, and the need for polite manners and tact is fairly often escalated in any cramped setting. The possible advantage of the whole rock castle lies could be allied to wild, untamed nature's displays and their effects on us by and by, and a rising joviality as a sign of things working fairly well.
The possible advantages of being solidly surrounded by bricks of clay or handy stones otherwise, is that they often give solid help against troubled and troublesome neighbours. That counts a lot, as "A man doesn't have peace any longer than his neighbour wants (Norwegian proverb)".
❖ It boils down to this: Having a good castle could come in handy.
❖ Solid walls that shield privacy could also come in handy. They may reduce much stress and strain, if the space inside them is congenial, not too narrow and alienating from nature and good contacts.
Rustic sceneries have their great and delicate satisfactions. There are reasons for it.
Surrounding several rock castles in Norway are sticks and fjords and lakes - maybe rivers too. It means you don't have all the work to build an artificial dam or pond (moat) all around the castle, if you don't feel for it. And then there will be time for happier and more significant moments - being "here now", and with family and friends.
Reflect on the tourists. Now let us exaggerate on the common tourists fare of tomorrow: Slowly the tourists are falling down to being led about, much like cattle. And they are led to pay for their sights, night quarters and experiences too. It is a big, growing "next world industry" that is taking shape, where you have to pay a lot for experiences and vistas that once were free, just like Norwegian roads fifty years ago. Now many of them can not be used unless you pay for it.
Some misdirected, guided tourists don't even think of what are the truly worthwhile views on a day. For example, one day I visisted a restored stone church in a place where the gemstone peridot is sometimes found - at Aaheim on the western coast of Norway. What appealed the most to me, however, were herds of sheep. They are such lovely animals. I hope to find a CD with recordings of a peaceful flock with lambs out grazing. It is far better than some disco-fool sounds you cannot fall asleep from.
Animals of many sorts have "built-in" advantages over stone churches and gemstones in that they are alive. In so doing they have a richer and more fulfilled quality of life than an average rock along the west coast. Sheep, as suggested, move and bleat and show feelings and thoughts too. They show they are more splendid than built stone houses thereby: They have come further biologically. And therefore they are more rewarding to watch and be surrounded by, at least in a flowery field or garden.
Not a few tourists in Norway have found it out. They go for experience vacations in rustic environments and say "Oh, how lovely," "oh, how nice," and such things. There is nothing backward about it. And you may find out in the same vein that the countryside has other hidden advantages too. Tiffany's does not have it all. Vain living shows deflections - so let us take this old wisdom with us to Rome, Athens and other places where people found rocks and carvings and masonry and moats and thick, solid walls to work well for them:
❖ A castle of bone is better than a castle of stone, although both sorts typically requre upkeep in time. (In part a british proverb).
Fouberg, Erin Hogan, and Edward Patrick Hogan. Norway. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House, 2004. —— Overview of a nation and its inhabitants, geography, history, government, economy, and culture.
Hurtigruten. The Original Coastal Voyage since 1893: Norway. London: Hurtigruten Limited, 2013. —— A cruise booklet with photos of coastal Norway. When the weather is good - it happens -, lo!
Hurtigruten. The Original Coastal Voyage since 1893: Norway. London: Hurtigruten Limited, 2014. —— Another cruise booklet with other photos.
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