Monday, July 27, 2009

Alta


The Alta Museum, another World Heritage site

Alta Fiord, from the museum

The Alta boat, the site's emblem

Elk (moose); every now and then, you'll spot one that has not been painted...

Another

Deep sea fishing; as a bear looks on...

Oldest known depiction of a fence

Pregnant reindeer

Another skier?

Our favorite: the boat party (note dancers and drummer in middle)

Our drive, July 19, to the North Cape was long but varied in scenery, mostly fiords, an unusual light blue color, and attendant mountains and forests. Another 3 star destination en route was Alta and the Alta rock carvings there, where we stopped for a few hours, walking the extensive array and museum. These are definitely paleolithic, ranging to 6,200 years in age. Occasionally, one can spot an original, unpainted, carving, as I did, but mostly they have been painted red, a Scandinavian custom, to make them easier to see. There are a couple thousand such carvings in the Alta area, but they have become known and studied only since 1973.

Alta itself was completely destroyed by the Germans in their scorched earth policy of late 1944. Only the church was left standing. The entire city was rebuilt after the war. There was a very touching monograph in the gift shop, recounting all this, hoping to explain to visitors why there were no old buildings in Alta. Bodo suffered a similar fate, and the Germans bombed old Narvik thoroughly in 1940, after their troops were (briefly) driven out. It was in Alta fiord, later, that both the pocket battleships Tirpitz and Scharnshorst were anchored between raids on the Murmansk convoys. British mini-submarines torpedoed the Tirpitz here in 1943.

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