Telavåg is a tiny settlement of 491 inhabitants on the island of Sotra, one of the outermost collection of islands buffering Bergen from the rough and wild North Sea
On April 26, 1942, tragedy struck this small village. Gestapo agents paid it a visit, after reports that the locals were hiding men from the Norwegian resistance (a fiercely tough group, which routinely sailed across the North Sea in the darkness of night, stealthily avoiding Nazi detection, heading to England to exchange radios, men, and information.)
The Tælavågians denied any knowledge of hiding the men. An argument broke out, and one Tælavågian and two high ranking Gestapo agents were killed in the resulting shoot out.
The overseeing Reichs Commissioner retaliated with brutally swift German-style efficiency.
The village was destroyed as the villagers watched, their boats were sunk, and their livestock and livelihood were taken away.
All men in the village were either executed or sent to the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen. Women and children were imprisoned. Of those sent to the concentration camp, nearly half would die before liberation.
The village was destroyed leaving no signs of life behind.
But today it has been rebuilt. Many parts are only accessible by boat, but still the locals continue to live in this isolated and rough environment.
So, graced with another fine weekend, we decided it was time for us to pay a visit, and also catch a glimpse of the intimidating North Sea.
We boarded the Telavåg bus, and got off at the terminating stop, the last two passengers on the bus. Though only 40 minutes from Bergen, we felt in the middle of nowhere. That there is a bus out to this rugged and desolate place at all is in itself remarkable.
Armed with a map, we pondered what to do next. The village was a few kms inland, and the North Sea lay over the rocky ridge ahead of us.
We decided to go for a coastal walk, following a track which would eventually take us back to the village (and ice cream as Brian optimistically hoped).
We followed a winding road down to a track and then a cliff-hugging path across to the coast, via an old pre-German grave site, of the generations of villagers who had lived and died here previously.
The trail then continued along the coast, before heading back inland, through some prehistoric Bronze Age settlement sites. Along the way we saw remnants of stone walls, quite possibly having been there long before the time of Jesus.
We stopped at an unusually leveled out dry area for lunch. As we munched on our Jarlsberg and cracker sandwiches, we concluded it was a likely a historic settlement site serving some generations earlier, and pondered just exactly who had crossed the land here over the last millenia. After a warming snooze in the sun, it was time to venture on to check out the rebuilt village of Tælavåg, and then an eventual bus journey back.
Tælavåg; a lovely place to visit for a day trip, with a rich history and some gorgeous scenery.
Four stars. Would visit again. A++++++++++++.
All photos below.