Norway has opened what might be the most idyllic public convenience in the world.
Perched on the tip of a fjord on the Scandinavian country’s western coast, Ureddplassen is a “wave-shaped toilet” with a viewing terrace that confronts the wide, open Norwegian Sea. The snow-capped mountains of the Lofoten Wall frame the vista.
“Ureddplassen is a place for a short break, a nice rest and a picnic, or for long nights with midnight sun or northern lights,” explained Nasjonale turistveger, the tourist board for Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten, on which the toilet can be found.
The lavatory on road Fv17, near the town of Gildeskal and part of the Helgelandskysten scenic route, underwent a £1.4million renovation last year, including the installation of a new frosted-glass and concrete bathroom building designed by Oslo-based architects Marit Justine Haugen and Dan Zohar.
Outside the toilet, block benches made of Norwegian Rose marble - the same stone used for New York’s United Nations building - provide seating for unlikely queue members. Steps towards the shore have also been constructed.
“The view from the steps is unique and there is ample seating well protected from traffic noise,”
said Steinar Skaar, route manager of the Helgelandskysten scenic route.
The stop-off is more than just a toilet, however. Ureddpassen is also a memorial paying tribute to the 42 men who died in February 1943 when their Royal Norwegian Navy submarine, the HNoMS Uredd, meaning Fearless, hit a mine laid by the German ship Cobra and sank.
The memorial unveiled by King Olav V in 1987 nearby has been given a new marble base.
Helgelandskysten is the longest of the 18 classified scenic routes in Norway, stretching from Holm in the south, crossing into the Arctic Circle and heading north towards Bodo. Completing the route requires six ferry crossings.
“The road follows the coast but its character changes underway from the long line of peaks in the north to the fjords and mountains until the scenery becomes more gentle with the archipelago and the islands out at sea,”
says Nasjonale turistveger.
By: Hugh Morris, travel news editor