What We Talk About When We Talk About War (IV)

We were walking on one of our forest hikes in Norway when we came upon this construction.

Walled construction. Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read
Walled construction. Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

It had a circular, snail-shell form that invited investigation. We weren’t sure what it was until we walked into it. It turned out to be a part of a military bunker from WWII. There were others, as well.

Bunker interior. Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read
Bunker interior. Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

As it turns out, the bunkers were an extended part of the German submarine base, Dora I, which was built by the German occupation force in the early 1940s. Trondheim was the largest German naval base in northern Europe from its construction until liberation in 1945.

Old supply tracks atop one of the hillsides lead to nowhere.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

The idyllic forest setting, the fjord nearby, the birds flying overhead and the myriad flowers all around these objects of conflict – it put me in mind of the great Jorge Luis Borges short story, The Circular Ruins (an online version is here).

Thousand-year dreams of dominance that still exist only in these structures meant to defend a force which has long since dissolved. All that remains are mossy reminders that many visitors most likely little know or care about, but which have become a permanent part of the environment.

Bunker. Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read
Bunker. Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

The submarine docks of Dora I, too large and expensive to be destroyed, now form a busy harbor for private boats, the docksides are packed with outdoor restaurants and shops.

For our part we continued on, and found a large field of wild raspberries, with the occasional hiker standing in the midst of a rich harvest, eating as they stood in the afternoon shade.

Photo: PK Read
Photo: PK Read

And the only creatures watching the skies for intruders were these birds along the fjord.

Trondheimsfjord Photo: PK Read
Trondheimsfjord
Photo: PK Read