It was a bright sunny day when we boarded a motor coach from Flam, Norway. We embarked on an hour long, scenic journey through lush mountain valleys and past snowcapped peaks to the church at Borgund. While on the way, we passed through the longest road tunnel in the world, which is 15 miles long, with three mountain halls built in for motorists to stop and rest in simulated daylight.
The Stave church was built in the 1180 AD, or just after and no nails or screws were used in the construction. The church is said to be built on an old Nordic religious sight that may date back many centuries earlier.
The round front of the church was designed so that the devil had no place to hide and the top is adorned with images of dragons to ward off evil spirits. In addition to the dragons, both Nordic and Christian symbols can be seen on the outside of the church, this was done to entice the local population to embrace the new ways. The open cloisters around the church were used by criminals and lepers that wanted to hear what was being said, but were not allowed to enter the church.
The breathtaking scenery is all around you as you walk around this magnificent building.
Jonathan M. Bailey is Rotterdam’s safety, environmental and health officer.