10 delightful experiences along Gudbrandsdalsvegen
In times past, running a store in Gudbrandsdalen north of Oslo and Lillehammer was easy. The E6 ran through the small towns and people stopped off to buy goods or a bite to eat. Then a new road was built that bypassed them all. The villagers were relieved that heavy traffic no longer flowed past their doors. But when the traffic bypassed the villages, turnover also fell. Something had to be done.
“The county authority and three municipalities joined forces with the regional council to work on product development. We wanted to raise the profile of these villages for travelers and persuade them there are good reasons to make a stop in Gudbrandsdalen,” project manager Vigdis Holmestad of Gudbrandsdalsvegen tells Scandinavian Traveler.
There are now 20 companies under the Gudbrandsdalsvegen umbrella.
Read more: gvegen.no
Sygard Grytting estate hotel
The estate of Sygard Grytting high above the valley floor dates back to the 14th Century. You can see how beautiful the buildings are as you stroll around the estate. The various buildings are well-maintained, the grass freshly mown and everywhere is tastefully finished. Husband and wife Stig and Hilde Grytting run the estate today, which has probably been in their family since the 14th Century. The couple have continued the longstanding tradition of hosting travelers and offer a choice of accommodation here. For example, you can spend the night in one of the manor house's beautifully styled rooms or in a cozy “bachelor cabin”. Pilgrims have become an increasingly common sight in recent years, and they too, are offered shelter for a very reasonable Nkr300 per night. The estate also offers half board if you wish and the menu often includes lamb from their own fields, game, fish from the mountain waters in the area, plus fruit and berries from the estate. Did we mention it was pinch yourself beautiful here?
Kongsvegen 999, 2647 Sør-Fron
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Finding a place to work in the town is difficult for artists. When Harpefoss Station, close to the eponymous gorge, was put up for sale at Finn.no, artist Anna Maria Sigmond Gudmundsdottir and gallery owner and curator Eivind Slettemeås took the plunge. Here, they've not only built a studio in the barn, they also organize exhibitions, concerts and movie screenings.“We want to contribute with exciting art and persuade people to view their surroundings through new eyes,” Gudmundsdottir says.The pair also offer artists space to work in the building. Drop in for a coffee, a concert or simply to view the wild gorge with crystal clear water that carves its way through forest and mountainside.
Gålåvegen 58, 2647 Sør-Fron
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There's probably nothing more traditional Norwegian tasting than flatbread. Crunchy, flavorsome flatbread with butter, is up there with lapskaus and Gudbrandsdal cabbage soup. Sisters Elisabeth and Kari Øyen both had different careers until 2013 but were keen to bake for a living. Naturally, this was going to be based on granny's recipes, because they taste the best. They sourced rolling pins and a griddle and got cracking. Today, they employ their husbands and children that manage 40 griddles in their bakery at Kvam. And they don't simply bake flatbread, they also produce pastries, herb flatbread and so-called fat bread, which as the name suggests, contains lard, butter and sugar. You can now buy these delicious products in many parts of Gudbrandsdalen but drive to the Øyen sisters’ outlet at Kvam to stock up on soup bread.
Sagveien 22, 2642 Kvam
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Good food and drink at Sinclair
Sinclair, a roadside inn named after Scottish mercenary George Sinclair who fought in Sweden and Norway (c. 1580–1612), has been renowned for serving delicious food to travelers for many years. When the E6 was rerouted, the owners were worried and sold up. New owner, Fredrik Weikle, is optimistic however. In partnership with his brother Bjarne, he's renovated the rooms and updated the menu.“We aim to offer food that persuades people to take a detour from the E6 to eat here.”In summer, he offers sweet rhubarb soup with cream and cured meat, naturally made with local ingredients from another Gudbrandsdalen entrepreneur, Annis Pølsemakeri. You can also order beer from Dobloug Brewery, also in Gudbrandsdalen.
Gudbrandsdalsvegen 1452 - 2642 Kvam
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Sinclair has its own charging point for electric cars including a rapid charger.
The mythical figure of Peer Gynt still lives on in Gudbrandsdalen. There has been a Peer Gynt Gathering every year since 1967, the high point of which is an outdoor production of Ibsen's famous play at Gålåvatnet. This year's production will be directed by Sigrid Strøm Reibo. Nils Ove Oftebro and his son Jakob Oftebro share the title role. Maybe you would also like to catch director and actor Iren Reppen's concert “E det hardt å være Peer?” (Is it hard to be Peer?) in Sør-Fron church. The church was built in 1786-92 and is also known as Gudbrandsdal Cathedral.
From 2 – 12 August 2018. Tickets for the production at Gålåvatnet: Nkr390 – 700 for adults and Nkr230 for children.
Anni Byskov, originally from Denmark, was looking for a quiet life in Gudbrandsdalen when she bought this sausage factory in 2000. She was already an award-winning butcher and very knowledgeable about food. Both her stores and reputation have enjoyed continuous steady grown ever since. Her delicious meat products have probably won more Norwegian awards than any other. Her products are now available at Mathallen in Oslo and the extended store in Ringebu now has a wonderful restaurant where they serve their own products and many other delicious dishes. Save room in your tummy for a stop here, but if you come at Christmas time, expect to stand in a long line with the rest of the population of Gudbrandsdalen. Everyone orders the ribs!
Tomtegata 10, 2630 Ringebu
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Dale Gudbrands gard estate at Hundorp has been a meeting place for many powerful figures for a thousand years. The first meeting here was held in 1021 between Olav the Blessed and estate owner Dale-Gudbrand. The meeting is described in Heimskringla, the best known of the Old Norse kings' sagas. The estate has played many roles over the years and is now a hotel and conference center. There’s also a pilgrim center here that provides information and accommodation.
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Ringebu Prestegård and Stave Church
The stave church may creak in the wind, but there’s no cause to be alarmed. It has proudly stood here since the late 12th Century and remains a stunningly beautiful sight in Ringebu. The church has a dragon style porch, altar dating from 1688 and pulpit from 1702. The pious face of its St Laurentius statue is probably as old as the church. The adjacent Ringebu Prestegård (Parsonage) was built in 1743. This elegant building with beautiful grounds is managed by a local association. If you love roses, we recommend going for a walk in the grounds. Roses blossom everywhere here. The building is no longer a parsonage as such, the last priest having left 1991 and is now an exhibition center for art. This year, distinguished artists Torbjørn Kvasbø and Gro Mulkta Holter are presenting their work.
Ringebu Prestegård og stavkirke
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Cute rural store in Gudbrandsdalen
There's nothing wrong with some retail therapy, and it's especially pleasurable to buy food where it's actually been produced. There are several farm shops along Gudbrandsdalsvegen. At Øvre Tromsnes gård in Fåvang, you can buy new potatoes by the roadside and pay at an honesty box. Pigs at Sylte farm in Fåvang are turned into succulent chops, sausages, brawn and ribs. If you like skilled crafts, check out Tveit Smie, a blacksmiths where they've been making furniture fittings and stove accessories since 1963. They can also produce products to order.
The Vegskille Project consists of art projects in five municipalities in Gudbrandsdalen. The art is designed as part of urban developments along the new E6. Many of the works have proved real traffic stoppers. You can see your own reflection in the Mammoth sculpture in Fåvang by Linda Bakke. And you're bound to post photos of the shiny shapes on your Instagram account. You’ll also be amazed by Gitte Dæhlin’s sculptures, “Flokk” (Herd), cast in bronze, at Sygard Grytting.
Published: August 7, 2018