So you got a double dose of post for Thursday that I missed, and today I’m going to blog about my adventures exploring an old Nazi bunker complex. A few minutes northeast of Arendal is an area that was taken over by the Nazis in World War 2 and turned into a bunker complex as it has ready access to the sea and seemed pretty strategically sound, as it was crucial to protect the shipping lanes to Oslo. Thankfully, most of the complex is still intact, if somewhat in disrepair, and one of my hosts here, Emil, offered to take me out today to tour around them.
I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with abandoned human constructs: ghost towns and the like, but it really wasn’t until Nick that I learned to really appreciate them with a different eye as opposed to a simple “Oh yeah, they’re cool.” I know this sounds hokey, but if you really sit still and listen, you can almost hear the echoes of the past. This is particularly true in abandoned bunker complexes it seems.
From the outside, you can see a number of concrete structures, trenches, and gun emplacements and the like.
Here’s an example of one of the many concrete structures.
Outside it was pretty cool, I mean the buildings were scattered almost haphazardly. It would have been awesome to have a map of the place so I knew what all the buildings were used for, where all the tunnels went, etc. Unfortunately for me, using my imagination was pretty much the worst thing I could think of, especially when you walk into this:
Of course, it’s pitch black because the doors were fashioned often at right angles to the entrance tunnel, likely to minimize damage from blasts, etc., so as soon as you turned the corner the light vanished very quickly you’re plunged into pitch darkness. Of course, it was dull and grey outside, and varying between misty and rainy, which only served to heighten the mood. And, finally, all we had in terms of light sources were the LED flashes from our smartphones.
Sound is a bitch in those kinds of spaces. They’re amplified, distorted, and thrown around so that you can’t tell what they are, where they’re coming from, and whether they’re being made by risen Nazi zombies about to devour your flesh and turn you into one of them.
I wish I could convey the sense of dread and fear I had walking around in those tunnels. One of them, the one painted white above, had a heavy steel door that could still open and close, and every moment I was in that particular bunker, I was terrified that, as in the movies, the door would slam shut and then we’d have to spend the next hour and a half looking for a way out while being chased by various awful demonic creatures and attempting to make it through various devious traps designed to slowly push you past the brink of insanity before tearing your flesh apart and finally killing you.
There is no way to truly describe the feeling of being in there. A sense of wonder and awe mixed with that kind of primal terror. It was a truly wonderful experience, and I’m so happy I managed to get out there. Of course, I took a lot of pictures of pretty countryside, but I figured it would be fun to show a few not-so-pretty shots today.