Lillehammer holds a special place in my childhood memories. Growing up, my older sister was a competitive figure skater and since my main goal in life was to be just like her, we spent hours in front of the television watching the 1994 Winter Olympics held in Lillehammer.

As a result, Oksana Baiul quickly became my favorite contender so I was extremely pleased that she took home the gold medal that year.

A Look at the 1994 Olympic Ski Arena

During our time here, we were able to drive all the way up to the top of the mountain for an amazing view of Lillehammer just before sunset. We could also see where the main ski jump was and the spot where the Opening Ceremonies took place. It was a surreal experience for me and one that I will remember for years to come.

Maihaugen Open Air Museum

Another major stop in Lillehammer was the Maihaugen Open Air Museum. This authentic experience took us through the history of the Gudbrandsdalen Valley as we walked through typical Norwegian houses from the past 300 years.

The landscape is very spacious and the fresh air and quiet surrounds gave exactly the sort of peace one needs after spending a winter in New York City. We went into timber-built farms to learn about how families worked off the land and finished our tour with a more modern house from the 1950s.

The museum is divided into four parts:

  1. The Rural Collection (timber-build farms, the stave-church, the summer-pastures and the lumber-camp)
  2. The Town – illustrates like between World War I and World War II
  3. The Residential Area – seven single-family houses from previous decades of the 20th century
  4. The Landscape – demonstrates how the fields were used as a source of food during the 1890s.

Trolls, Fairytales and an Ice Hotel + Bar

Norway is known for their trolls so our time in Lillehammer would not hav been complete without a little time learning about Norwegian fairytales. After a day skiing with our guide from Hafjell Ski Center, we took a tour through Hunderfossen Winterpark. Although the park is generally only open to the public during the summer months, they do allow guests to stay at their popular Ice Hotel. As for our lodgings in Lillehammer, we stayed at Rica Victoria Hotel.

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