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Published: June 25th 2014
Lillehammer Norway 19 & 20 June 2014
After leaving Trondheim, we travelled south through Oppdal, Dombas, Otta , through to Lillehammer, and then onto Gol.
Much of this drive was through beautiful mountainous country (oh what a surprise!).
We decided to stop at Dombas where we found a big troll shop. There was a large display of troll caves as well as many troll statues un every form and outfit you could imagine. Norway and trolls definitely go together. Dombas is a big ski centre in winter so there were many hotels and we could see ski lifts around the outskirts of the town. There was also a modern stave church.
When we got to Otta, we saw that the town was at the junction of 2 rivers and is known for the famous Battle of Kringen in 1612 where local farmers destroyed a Scottish army.
It was then onto Lillehammer which hit the world stage in 1994 as it held the Winter Olympic Games. It was about 5.00pm and as we were walking through the main street of Lillehammer, we learned that as we were heading towards the longest day, all of Norway celebrates the
start of summer during the weekend between the 19-16 June. The street was lined with stands of food and clothing. Then along came a local brass band which matched up and down the walking mall. We decided to sit down at an Italian Restaurant and have a meal and beer. The temperature wasn;t too bad, as long as we were protected from the wind.
By the time we walked through the town and then drove to the Olympic Park, we saw that the Museum was opening at 10.00am the next morning, so we found a park in the Museum car park, with 3 other motor homes, and stayed the night.
The next morning we visited the Olympic Museum which presented a history of both the summer and winter Games...with a Norwegian emphasis of course.
We drove onto the ski jump complex. We could have caught the chair lift up to the top but I convinced Tom to walk up as I was desperate for some exercise. He is a good man to be convinced! It was a fantastic view of the town and surrounding mountains, from the top. The slop is lined with plastic strips. We got
a real feel for the area and pretended we were the competitors and spectators. In the museum we saw the massive crown that surrounded the ski jump which was also the sight for the opening ceremony. The Olympic Torch was also there.
We could also see the Olympic Museum and surrounding athletics arena and sports fields. it's a real sports centre now so the Games gave the town some good resources.
As we were parked in the car park, we noted that a lot of people parked there and pulled out their summer roller skis, bikes and running shoes. it is obviously a meeting place for people to start their exercise.
We were told about an Open air Museum, Maihaugen. We learned that in 1887 Anders Sandvig established one of the biggest museums of farming culture in Norway. Sandvig was a dentist who, during his travels in Gudbrandsdalen, started collecting both objects and houses. What began as a hobby grew to include 175 houses reflecting the building technique and everyday lives of local people.
There was one of Norway's oldest stave church in the museum also. As we walked around, we occasionally came across ladies dressed
in period costumes who were the guides of the museum. They gave us a lot of excellent information about the lives of people of those times. We even tasted some barley porridge which one of the girls had made in one of the houses.
It was good to see a number of the houses were being used, including for spinning and weaving and other relevant items for sale.
Maihaugen also housed the Post Museum, showing the history of the postal service in Norway, as well as a group of 20th century houses. All in all, it was an interesting morning.
We then left for Gol, via Dokka, Fagernes which has the highest airport in Norway at 820m, and then onto Gol. We used Gol as a stop-over point, but made sure we looked around the tourist town, as it was a busy bus junction. Tomorrow we were continuing to head SE to Geilo.
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