“At thick of night a thundering knock on the door; the man in the house wakes up, jumps out and demands: Who cries? Yes, now you must out, the beacon shines on Høgenut. And in the same breath, every man knew that strife had hit the land.”
Tælavåg has a significant place in the history of the German occupation in WWII. The small community by the sea, where for centuries people had made a living from farming and fishing in harmony with the natural resources, in 1942 became the victim of German reprisals without their equal in Norwegian war history. The collection of war histories in Tælavåg provides us with a close-up of the dramatic events.
Vinappen lies on a low hill to the very west on the island. Here you have an amazing panorama of the sea. Originally the area was grazing land for cattle, but this changed when the Germans occupied the island. Just before WWII there was a small bearing station, used by the Norwegian Coast Artillery in connection with exercises at sea.
Håøy lies centrally in one of the main shipping lanes going into Bergen --- with Håyøsund on the south side facing Meland, and Hagelsundet facing Lindåslandet. Names like Nordfarskista and Nordfarsskorane explain things. The strategic position was important in Viking times and it has been important in our days too. The beacon on Håøy can have been built in the establishment of the coastal administration in Håkon the Good’s time, about 950 AD. The defence structure of which we say remains on Håøy Summit held a critical position during Norwegian neutrality during the First World War. The defence structure was taken down in 1957.
The old hostelry centres were strategically placed with good harbours and anchoring conditions where people travelled. GODØYSUND, or Gøysundet, as it was called, was in the middle of Tysnes Parish, with easy access from the sea, also for the local population. Gøysundet is amongst the oldest hostelries in Sunnhordland.
Stalheim is situated between Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen, in a community with the farms Sivle and Brekke. The most likely explanation of the name is “the farm by Stadall”, from “standa” (stand), probably with background in the steep Stalheimskleivi. The farm has for a long time been divided into several units. At Stalheim there has been a transport exchange from the Middle Ages and the farm has been a postal farm since 1647.
The pioneering tourists in the 1830s-40s brought a momentum in the tourist traffic to the fjord and mountain country Norway. At the time Odda was a hidden Shangri-La at the bottom of Sørfjorden; the farm and the church on the green headland at the fjord. But when the steamship traffic opened the fjord landscape for tourism, in a few years Odda parish in Søndre Bergenhus County became the focal point for travellers in West Norway.
When sergeant Peder Larsen Børsem from Strandebarm was “demobilised” in 1721, following the large Nordic War, he married the Bergen lady Elisabeth Schrøder and settled as innkeeper at Utne with a letter of privilege from the county governor dated 29 October 1722.
The coastal settlement of Os begins to take form in the middle of the 1800s. This is when craftsmen and traders begin to settle at the river delta.
The Bondhus area in Maruanger has been a magnet for tourists ever since the stream of tourists to Norway's west coast began in the middle of the 1800s. The magnificent landscape with the "ice trail" up to Bondhusvatnet Lake, the ice falls from Bondhusbreen glacier and Keisarstigen trail up to Folgefonna are still popular tourist attractions.