National Geographic : 1957 Jan
122 Three Lions Stones Anchor the Sod Roof and Bolster the Casements of a Geiranger Farmhouse Timbered structures have endured for centuries in Norway's cool climate. Many are perfectly preserved. Soaring nearly a vertical mile above the Rauma, the colossal Romsdalshorn suggests Rio de Janeiro's Sugar Loaf. Mountain climbers range up and down this whole region. On the shore of Is Fjord in Romsdal rises a crag called Skotkleven, the Scots' Cliff. In 1612 two Scottish officers, Lt. Col. Alexander Ramsay and Capt. George Sinclair, landed near Andalsnes leading some 350 unenthusi astic mercenaries. They were bound up Romsdal and over the mountains to Sweden to support the young Swedish monarch, Gus tavus Adolphus, in his war against Norway and Denmark. But Norwegian defenders killed most of the invading Scots and cap tured the rest. Flowers Near the Arctic Circle Pine forests clothe the gentler fjord slopes of this region. Andalsnes and near-by towns carry on an active lumber trade; small ship yards thrive. From Andalsnes to Molde I dawdled across pastoral countryside reminiscent of an Inness landscape. Molde, a busy manufacturing and trading town, also suffered heavy war damage in 1940. The city has had to reconstruct a fifth of its total area, including most of the downtown section. Facing south, Molde has a gardenlike rich ness of vegetation. Here, only 3 degrees and 49 minutes south of the Arctic Circle, beech and chestnut trees reach their northern limit, and flowers perfume dooryards. From the hill park in the heart of Molde I scanned a broad expanse of fjord. Surely few cities in the world can match Molde's out look. The panorama enfolds water, islands, and distant farmlands, backed up by serried mountain pinnacles that wall off the whole horizon to the south. I added up 96 separate skyline peaks and summits, all far enough away not to encroach on the town's tranquillity. Perhaps the im pact of majesty blurred vision and made me count some twice. If so, it was not the first time the witchery of Norway's fjordland had bedazzled me.