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Are we crazy?

After hibernating all of January in Arizona with temperatures of 15-20 C (70's F) during the day, we spent the first week in May up in the mountains in Norway! I was extremely surprised to find snow still on the ground. It got above freezing during the day, but still froze at night. If we'd had the grandkids' sled along, we could have used it. The ski slopes were no longer being used, as there were holes in the snow where it was melting.

A rest area along E6 next to a creek where large rocks and picnic tables were covered with snow

We've been to the same place several times, both summer and winter -- but never this early in the spring. We had a cozy cabin with all the essentials (fireplace, cable TV, full kitchen) close to Lake Gålå, 90 km north of Lillehammer. We took a couple of day trips and did a lot of nordic walking. The trails were however icy, so we had to stick to the roads.

One of the many new cabins built with a view of Lake Gålå

What really surprised us was the number of new cabins built since we were last there, as well as how many lots are for sale for new cabins! We were within walking distance of 3 areas with lots for sale. The two larger areas are called Gålåtoppen (with prices running at one million Norwegian crowns or $120,000 for a lot) and Peer Gyntlia (with prices starting at $40,000 for a lot). The Gålåtoppen area has captivating views of Lake Gålå and gossip has it that half of the 150 lots are already sold. The roads aren't finished yet, so building hasn't even started. The cheaper alternative is further down the mountain with hardly any view of the lake, but they have the same access to the ski runs. There are some cabins built, but most of the 40 lots haven't as yet been sold. 

View across the frozen Lake Gålå from higher up at Gålåtoppen where they were busy building a road before building new cabins -- the lake was completely frozen over when we arrived, but it was thawing around the edge when we left

Mainly people from Oslo build "cabins" in this area, most of which are as large as any residence in Svalöv. It takes 3½ hr to drive there from Oslo, but is much cheaper than building in Lillehammer which is 1 hr closer to Oslo.

One day we drove along the main north-south highway E6 (2-lane highway that far north) to Dombås  . We turned off the highway and drove through a valley where the Lågen River runs into Lake Lejaskog and then Rauma River continues and empties into Romsdal Fiord. It was foggy and generally rotten weather when we left our comfy cabin in Gålå (and remained so the whole day there), but before we got to Åndalsnäs it was spring with grass and dandelions. We saw many waterfalls in the valley. At a rest area we stopped at in the valley we found snow on large rocks as well as on picnic tables -- it will be awhile before you can have a picnic there.

Surrounded by trolls -- Louie found his trolls at some rapids along with Otta River and Myra found hers in the parking lot of a shopping center in Dombås

The famous Trollstigen, one of the best-visited attractions in Norway was still closed over the mountains, but was expected to open the end of May. In Åndalsnäs we found a factory outlet at Rauma Ullvarefabrikk (Woolen Factory), where Myra bought a new Norwegian sweater. Just outside of Åndalsnäs we drove through a 6½ km long tunnel which ended with an enchanting view of Romsdal Fiord. We had planned on driving out to the mouth of the fiord at Ålesund, but realized that would take far too much time, so we turned around and drove back. On the way back through the valley we stopped at some rapids where we saw a troll couple and took a picture. We later stopped and shopped in Dombås where we found another troll in the parking lot. Norway is known for their trolls, so they can be found everywhere.

Romsdal Fiord on the other side of Åndalsnäs

Another day we followed E6 to Otta and followed the valley where the Otta River runs until we came to Lom, a town with about 2,500 inhabitants. There is a beautiful wooden stave church was built around 1150 and is still in use. There is a modern tourist information office, with probably lots of tourists finding their way there summer and winter. There was a strange place along the river for about 1 km that was just like slush across the whole river, but no ice either before of after.

The stave church in Lom
Slush in the Otta River between Otta and Lom

I was very happy to discover that in the lobby when we checked in they now offer wireless internet, so it was a good thing we had our computer along! We met a couple from California (originally from the Philippines but have lived in CA as long as we've lived in Sweden). They flew to Gothenburg to pick up a new Volvo SUV that they drove around for a few weeks. When they return home their new SUV will be delivered to their local Volvo dealer. They were as happy with the wireless internet as we were. We usually met there in the evening, sitting and chatting while surfing.

Myra and Cynthia from CA chatting and surfing with their laptops in the lobby -- with free wireless internet we usually met there awhile in the evening to check our e-mail

The last two nights we were there it was several degrees below freezing. It was also very pretty outside with the smaller waterfalls that froze. We stopped in Lillehammer awhile on our way home and spring was in the air. Back in Skövde with the grandkids it felt like summer and time for a grill party.

A waterfall that hadn't thawed yet.



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Updated: 2008-06-21