Viewed from Bandak, the rugged silhouettes of Risen and Gygri loom up against the sky, but Gygri has no head . . . There is a legend associated with these rock formations. The trolls Risen and Gygri lived at Juvstøyl. One day, when Risen went out on an errand, Gygri stayed at home to cook porridge. When Risen came home, he found neither the porridge nor the cook, as Gygri had gone to visit someone in the Bandak mountains. Risen became angry and ran out in ￼search of his wife. He found her at the top of the highest cliff face. They started fighting, pulling each other’s hair out, and finally Risen tore Gygri’s head off, but only after she had pulled off his genitals. Risen then threw her head across the fjord to Barskor. Since that day they have stood there as rock statues, and they are clearly visible both from Bandak and Lårdalstigen.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.