12 July 2011

From Coast to Coast Expedition - Day 1



There came Monday and the journey began! Deciding on a start day was hard though, because of the weather forecast which changes every 4 hours in Norway. Now, you might think that those changes are slight but be careful, you might be wrong! On Saturday it looked like the whole week ahead was going to be rainy and cloudy for the area we were aiming for the next two days, then on Sunday, the forecast grew more and more optimistic until the moment we decided that we could live with some occasional showers as long as we get to our first stop - Lillehammer all lit by the sun.



And on Monday morning we packed the van and left. But before I continue, let me explain to all the fans of the awesome hippie VW from my Sunday post, that alas, it is not ours. That is a photo I used to picture the spirit that this journey set us in.

So, no sign of the gray rainy clouds, bright sun and fluffy white balls in the sky instead, the red van on the road up North and we inside – the bunny munching happily in his cage. Actually, it might well be the time to explain that the journey started several days earlier at the Southernmost point of Norway, where our forest by the sea is situated. From the Southernmost coast of Norway to... we don't know how far up North, that's where we are going. But first, a very important stop for all skiers - the Olympic town of Lillehammer!





Do you remember the 1994 Winter Olympics? I do! And have been wanting to see Lillehammer since then. The town literally lives and breathes Olympics although they hosted it 17 years ago! Not only do they sell wallets from the time, but everything around town is about the Olympics, every little detail, even the ones you will not notice. This cozy little town with a little less than 27 000 inhabitants wants even more Olympic games! They are so competitive that they bid for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics but their bid was passed over, and now they are the only candidate for the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics.

via: Wikipedia
But there is more to Lillehammer than sports. Looking at the coat of arms of the town, my daughter remembered the story of the Birkebeiners - a rebellious party from the 12th Century. Their name has its origins in propaganda from the established party that the rebels were so poor that they made their shoes of birch bark. Norwegian history credits the Birkebeiners' bravery with preserving the life of the then 2 year old Haakon Haakonsen who later became King Haakon Haakonsson IV, ended the civil wars in 1240 and forever changed Northern Europe's history through his reign.


The lovely library of Lillehammer - a bridge between past and present


And the cozy library caffee you wouldn't go out of for the world!
After we took our share of Lillehammer history we drove off and soon found the sweetest of campings, where the rain mercifully waited for us to organize the bed and to turn on the laptops. So cozy and quiet it is now, at midnight, only the train to Trondheim can be heard from the other side of the lake. Good night!