After leaving Gausdal we did the 35 minutes drive to Lillehammer. We parked the car and event for a walk in the lovely center of town. We stopped for a little treat and I left the other half at the table, in the sun for a while, and I went for a little look around some of the nice little shops. I have been to Lillehammer on several occasions as I used to know someone who lived there, and I always enjoy going back. I must admit I find it even more beautiful in the snow in winter time, but it is a really cosy town in summer as well.
Lillehammer was named after the old Hamar farm, because that’s where the first church was built, but since one of the neighboring towns is also called Hamar, they started calling it little Hamar, in Norwegian, that would be lille Hamar, that turned in to Lillehammer. Hamar comes from the norse Hamarr meaning rocky hill. The area has bee settled since the iron age.
In 1973 a local waiter in Lillehammer was killed by Mossad who had mistaken him for a wanted Palestinian terrorist. This was a huge upset when it happened and it is still referred to as the Lillehammer incident. Lillehammer is not a place generally known for too much serious crime, apart from the above incident. What they do have is a crime/comedy TV series called Lillyhammer starring Steven van Zandt.
What Lillehammer is most known for is that the little town were the hosts of the 1994 Winter Olympics, held from the 12th to the 27th of Febuary in 1994. I remember this very well from my childhood. It is the northernmost city to ever have hosted the Olympic games. It was the first Winter Olympic to be held in a different year to the Summer Olympics.
For many people the Olympics are remembered for Nancy Karrigan’s silver medal after she had been attacked by an associate of her rival Tonya Harding. Harding finished number 8. As a strange coincidence the movie “I, Tonya” was on TV in our hotel a few days after we had been in Lillehammer. It is also worth mentioning that the winner in the figure skating was 16 year Oksana Baiul from Ukraine, the first time Ukraine’s national anthem was played in the games.