Wednesday, 29 November 2017

It's cold - but I don't want to be somewhere warmer. Where I'd like to be is Northern Norway...

That's the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, which is inside the Arctic Circle. I've...

...never been there, but if my health ever recovers I'm determined to do what I've meant to do for years and take a trip up the Norwegian coast, starting in Bergen, moving on to Trondheim (both of which I've visited), before ending up in Tromsø. Ideally, I'd love to visit it in the depths of winter - but I realise getting around may not be that easy: at the very least, I want there to be lots of snow - humongous amounts, in fact:
I know that when it gets a bit parky here in Blighty most people long to be somewhere warmer. Oddly, it has the opposite effect on me - I want to be somewhere freezing cold, with all the trimmings: snow, forests, glaciers, reindeer, northern lights - the Full Scandinavian, in fact. I won't pretend I spent my early years in that sort of environment: the farthest north we ever lived was Gardemoen, now the site of Oslo Airport. Snow and trees, certainly, but not a whole heap of reindeer or glaciers: you can glimpse the northern lights occasionally, but mainly as a sort of greenish glow on the horizon rather than a light-show staged by Thor. 
In his autobiographical book, Surprised by Joy,  C.S. Lewis talked about the sensation of - and his yearning for - what he described as 'pure "Northernness"'. When I read that, I understood exactly what he meant: to me, these photographs convey some impression of that feeling:
Strangely, my icy reverie started with this comforting photograph of a street in Bergen, which brought tears to my eyes. I have no idea why - a memory, presumably: 

1 comment:

  1. The Arctic Cathedral. Went there once with our cousin. More Viking than Christian. Tromsø is the burial ground of the great battleship "Tirpitz" which the RAF blew up in November 1944 which killed around 1,000 Germans. About 100 kilometres south of Tromsø is the military air-force base of Bardufoss where your father was the station commander 1945/46. I could go on about the behaviour of the Russians, but won't.

    Norwegian "Stavkirke" [Stavechurches]. Instead of Catholic gargoyles their figure were Viking. Along the side of all SKs there was a gallery built on to house the lepers so they could listen to the service. Norway was the last European country to rid itself of leprosy [1946]. The Vikings were fond of Irish women who carried the leprosy bacillus [ 15-25 year incubation] and brought them back to Norway. Bad guys always get paid in full!

    Given Brexit and the Ashes I thought I would cheer everybody up!