Battles, dreary on a simple reading, come alive with the terrain. After reading about the Battle of Kvam at the churchyard gravesite, go up the mountains. They are not high here, more like high hills in West Virginia or other low Appalachians. This Kvam area also hosts part of the Peer Gynt Road, that veers to the west to Gudbrandsdalen, see http://www.dalseter.no/engelsk-web/pgroad.html, but also appeared north of Kvam to offer sites to the east. Peer Gynt: romantic poem, with several probably historic figures combined and elaborated upon, in a fine work by Henrik Ibsen. A real Peer Gynt indeed is buried not far, at least the names are the same. Listen again to the music by Edvard Grieg. See a sign that looks like Peer Gynt's imagined birthplace is nigh. We thought we were going to see that, but what to our wondering eyes did appear but the Peer Gynt trailer park at the summit.
2. What is that trailer park? The Peer Gynt Trailer Park.
It has a locked gate, so there is no driving around. It is remote, at the summit. If this were another country, I would think -- Roma, Traveller, settled in mobile trailers away from the mainstream, well out of sight. Or is this settlement, in a more benign vein, senior retirement or low-income housing, and not a particular ethnic group at all. Norse Travellers roots? Celtic in origin, I understand, and not from India, and fair skinned.
But Travellers here in Norway? No idea. Norwegians, please let me know.
3. Turf roofs.
On the way, however, we saw our first turf roofs. It is nearly impossible for outsiders to pass these and not delight in the concept of the turf roof. Cheery, sensible, ecologically sound, and comforting. For those living in a turf-roofed house, or stable, warm as well.
So: Turf roofs and gateways, on the way to and from the Peer Gynt trailer park outside Kvam:
4. The gates.
The theme of gates is throughout many cultures. In Romania, such gates -- very like these -- were traditionally said to originate as a defense against evil spirits entering the compound. Roma Romania Romani? No connection necessarily at all. Many cultures separate the living space, the close, from the outside, keep evil spirits out.
So I am looking for the significance of these gateways appearing in Norway, as these do delineate property but seem to have no closures or other function that I could see. They do not close. Most common is the use of a full treetrunk oon each side, smoothed, sometimes faces there.
5. Cultural histories in witch hunts, fear of witches.
Is this part of the recurrent theme: Witch hunt history. Surprise -- Inquisition witch hunts reached here, and even farther north in Norway, in Finnmark.
- Northern Norway, in the Finnmark area, saw some of the worst of Europe's 17th Century witch hunts and executions. With some 1% of Norway's population in the Finnmark area at the time, there were some 135 accusations and of those, 91 "witches" were executed. That, seen another way, was some 31% of Norways witch hunt executions, in little, so-far-north that we have to look at maps, Finnmark. See http://www.dw.de/arctic-witch-hunt-at-the-gates-of-hell/a-16922334/ With that heritage, do the many, many compound gateways we saw in Norway reflect a remembrance of those things past and still with us.
This design is eminently useful, wise, attractive. Bind two poles to make a very tall but narrow X. Angle split logs, or small tree trunks, and set at a 30-45 degree angle in the ground so that the weight of the wood deflected and held in place with the weight of other components helps hold the whole together. Is this an idea like the weight of an arch could be deflected enabling the height to increase over what is possible with straight horizontal design. This is also seen in the Viking reconstructed villages we saw. Old roots.
Other turf roofs show at bus stops, at the little shelters to protect riders as they wait.
Smile at the ones with trees and wildflowers growing out the top. These turf roofs outside Kvam are tame.