Monday, July 6, 2009


The ski jumps above Lillehammer

Hakon's Hall, where hockey was played

The gold medals awarded in Hakon's Hall, 1994

Sculpture outside the Hall

Tuesday, lazily, we got no farther than Lillehammer, at the head of the lake. We are parked presently near Hakon's Hall, site of the 1994 Olympic hockey and other competitions. See pix of other Olympic sites. That Lillehammer, a town of 22,000, could have organized and accommodated the winter Olympics in 1994, is indeed some sort of municipal miracle. It is the smallest town ever to have hosted an Olympics.

Here in the Olympic parking lot, I am feeling very international, having downed the last of my German beer (Berliner Kindl) and eaten a nice bowl of Tom Ka and rice, the prawns from Norway, the kaffir lime and pepper and coconut milk, maybe not; the rice from Uncle Ben.

Travel carries with it many heavy responsibilities: you have to do this, have to see that, have to try this, etc. At least in the Scandinavian countries, the food/drink burden is somewhat lessened. It's mostly hunter/gatherer fare, mostly seafood, mostly cold, mostly bland. I had some reindeer sausage today: heavily spiced gamey meat. We shopped at a Norwegian supermarket: very limited selection, very high prices. Worse yet, it is a nation of tee-totalers. Saturday afternoon, after 6 PM, you can't buy a can of beer at the local supermarket. A 500ml can of beer, BTW, will cost you 31 crowns, nearly $5. One can. And low alcohol content, too, not like my Carlsberg Elephant or beloved Duvel. Forget wine and spiritual experience; they are only available from the state liquor stores, at presumably exorbitant prices. Come to think of it, we have been in Norway now a week and have yet to see one of these state liquor stores.

Curiosity I failed to photograph department: the mini-golf course in Lillehammer is called “Lilliputthammer.”

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