Text and photos by Sigrid Thorbjørnsen. Translated and edited by Michael Holtermann.
The grass is so green here on Lindesnes. I had expected it to be more yellow because of the salt water. But since it has been a pretty rainy summer, the grass is sparkling green. Lighthouse keeper Tim had been out with the lawn mower. All the green patches look like golf courses. The lawns are trimmed and combed and could easily be turned into a mini-golf course.
In the midst of this symphony of stones and green lawns, flowers pop up from barrels, pots and pans, and from between rocks. Blue, pink, yellow, red, white, and green. It’s so beautiful. Almost zen, but in a Norwegian way. Know what I mean? Organized, yet so very natural. In between stairs and stones, they’re holding on. They are a delight to the eye.
On top of the knoll is Lindesnes Lighthouse overlooking the ocean. On the way up to the lighthouse I’m sheltered from the wind, but on top there is no protection. Here comes the wind straight on and everyone seem to walk bent at a strange angle so as not to blow over. In midsts of all this, the sun shines as if nothing were going on. What a wonderful day. High sky. Large ocean. People who have traveled far to see the lighthouse and the beautiful view. And maybe to take a little tour of the many trenches and bunkers.
Here’s a maze of linked paths and lookouts from WWII, maintained and renovated. It’s safe to walk around everywhere, and it’s not always easy to figure out where on the peninsula you’ll come out. There are many lookouts. The old gun positions have been converted into an amphitheater and lookout post, and you can get to these via trenches and underground corridors, or just walk right into it. It’s a little scary to walk in the hallways that are not lit, but before you know it, you have the ocean right in front of you, the wind that shakes you, and the shining sun.
On the opposite side of the lighthouse, that is, until you get into the lighthouse area, you see a cast-iron dove on top of a cairn. It is the memorial of the prison-ship MS Palatia that was torpedoed off Lindesnes on October 21, 1942. 915 Russian POWs and 71 Germans were killed. Today, the dove illuminates peace and the memory of those who lost their lives on this special day in 1942. Today the sun shines and visitors from all nationalities come to see the dove and the lighthouse, now as tourists.
We all deserve a little breather, and here at Fjellhallen Cafe they offer a lot of good. What got my eyebrows to rise slightly, was rhubarb muffins! This I had not tasted before. Rhubarb is something found near almost every lighthouse along the coast of southern Norway. It is eaten straight from the garden, dipped in sugar. Rhubarb and rhubarb porridge are common and have a long tradition. Even rhubarb jam. But never muffins. They tasted surprisingly good.
After this culinary experience, I’m on my way to the top where the lighthouse is again. Here, it’s all about sitting still, looking out over the ocean, finding your calm and waiting for the sun to be swallowed by the sea. It’s a good way to end the day, say good night to the lighthouse, and recover as quickly as possible in the lee of the wind. Although thousands of people have seen this lighthouse for centuries, it is still a special feeling being here. It’s almost as if it is the first time the lighthouse appears. What a wonderful day this has been and what a wonderful place in the world is: 57.58.9533°N, 07.02.8043°E. The best thing about this is that anyone can experience this happiness.
There is a bus departing from Lindesnes at 10:30 AM every weekday, which takes you the Vigeland and beyond. So here you do not need a car if you stay overnight.
More information and posts about Lindesnes Lighthouse can be found here.