Memorial Day Remembrance

I hope you all have a special Memorial Day in the US, remembering those whose lives were sacrificed for our freedom. Last June, I was in arctic Norway on the Veines Peninsula out for a run in the middle of a fog. Miles from anyone, I stumbled across the remnants of a German WWII fort and gun battery that had been constructed in 1942. It was one of the most humbling experiences. At the time, I did not know what I had stumbled across and only had my iPhone with me to take photos. Later, I came across this information back at the guesthouse where I was staying. It detailed the war weapons housed at this German fort.

After exploring the outside of the bunker shown in the top photo, I entered it and saw several old photos on the walls of the bunker. Most had broken glass frames but this one was still intact. The images were quite damaged from weather over the years.

I saw that the bunker had stairs leading down into the ground. It was scary, but I decided to explore them and went down these stairs.

When I got down to the bottom, I looked back up and took a photo. You can see the top of the picture frame from the photo above that was hanging on the wall in the bunker.

When I turned back around to continue through the passageway, I came to a room.

Inside the room was a lot of debris as well as another damaged photo. I couldn’t make out most of what I saw since it was pitch black and I used flash just to capture these photos. Since I didn’t know much about this location, I didn’t want to stay down in these tunnels for long in the dark.

I had goosebumps as made it back out. I explored the area some more and found the open rings where I have since learned that 5 French 155 mm caliber guns were installed.

I came across some more entrances and decided to explore the tunnels.

Again it was dark as night and all I had was my iPhone flashlight. I found another deep tunnel.

I got a closer look and decided not to explore further. I was’t sure of the stability of anything, and since this was such a remote location in arctic Norway, I doubted that much was done to check the safety of these tunnels. Since I stumbled across this area without seeing a person around, I knew that there was no active preservation of this historical site. If I were to get in trouble at any point, I would not have anyone to rescue me. I played it safe.

As we celebrate Memorial Day in the US today, I couldn’t help but remember this experience. It was a special moment in my life and gave me a lot of gratitude for those who lost their life not only in WWII but in all the wars to help us be free. We express our appreciation and thanks to those who serve and have lost their lives, but seeing this in person gave me a greater sense of the freedoms we often take for granted.

The Many Faces of the Emperor Penguin Chicks

Image: Emperor penguin chick, Snow Hill Island, Antarctica. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 410 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

If it was possible to describe an Emperor penguin chick in one word, it would be precious. I have never seen a more innocent and beautiful animal in all my world travels. Photos do not do them justice, but I will try here with these headshots. Future posts will contain more images of their full bodies and the various activities they do on sea ice, but this blog will focus on the innocence in their eyes and faces.

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