Austrått: Norwegian history and pleasant countryside
Austrått is a small place just a short drive away from Brekstad. Grandeur and former wealth radiate from it as we drive through the grounds and see the manor in front of us. Austrått is a gem that the local community is clearly proud of. Today, the manor houses a museum. Noor Knutsen is our local guide, and he talks enthusiastically to us about Austrått and Lady Inger.
“Lady Inger owned the Austrått estate in the 1500s. At the time she was one of Norway’s most powerful women, owning a sixth of all the land in the country,” Noor tells us.
I ponder the names Austrått and Lady Inger. I associate something or other with them. That’s it! Lady Inger of Ostrat! The play by Henrik Ibsen that also made Lady Inger and her estate well-known outside historical circles. In the history books though, she is a famous lady known as Norway’s foremost female aristocrat and for her significant role regarding the introduction of the Reformation in 1537.
After passing the farm and manor we arrive at the approach to Austrått Fort. A quite different story is told here.
Austrått Fort – an ambivalent experience
It’s difficult to put what we see into words. I have never seen anything like it before. It looks like a huge gun. Austrått Fort is a coastal fortification built by the Germans during World War II.
“It is the turret from the German battleship, Gneisenau,” Noor Knutsen tells us. The ship was damaged in 1942 and the Germans decided that the turret should be relocated to Austrått. The idea was to defend the approach to the Trondheimsfjord.”
It is a rather ambivalent experience being at Austrått Fort. You have the “world’s finest view” before you, but also a very striking testimony to the terrible things that happened during World War II.
At the same time, I am impressed by the building. We enter the turret. It works its way five floors down into the bedrock, and weighs 800 tonnes.
“Many people come to Austrått just to visit the fort,” Noor tells us. “It is an important part of our history, and is unique in a European context. Furthermore, the turret at Austrått is the only remaining one of its kind in the world.”
All of these amazing historical adventures are set in fantastic scenic surroundings. Fosen and the borough of Ørland radiate peace and quiet. You can relax here and charge your batteries in pleasant natural surroundings. The mountains are rounded and benign, inviting all age groups and levels of physical fitness to walk in them.
The tallest summit in the borough of Ørland is Osplikammen, 280 metres above sea level. Marvellous! You are on a mountain walk, but can forget your fear of heights. Noor also puts the countryside in his native borough to use:
“Just think how easy it is to enjoy the countryside here. And not just for the local residents. Those living in Trondheim can easily make a detour out here. Catch the morning boat from Brattøra. After an hour you arrive in Brekstad, and the pleasant country life can begin. You can cycle, walk, visit Austrått or Sjøgata street in Uthaug, and otherwise just enjoy the unique daylight conditions out here.”
City and country folk are good neighbours. In the same way, those spending time in Fosen can easily make a detour to Trondheim.
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