White as light

Enjoy “To the bone” by Okou while browsing the photos and reading this interview.

On the first of January, my friend Henrik and I headed off to the mountain. Henrik and I have had countless nature experiences together. This time Venabu was our destination. We stayed at Venabu mountain hotel that weekend. Venabu mountain hotel lies in the Venabygdsfjellet plateau’s middle, on the Rondane National park’s southern edge, 78kms north of Lillehammer. Arriving there, I realized that the hotel’s general manager had bicycled from Venabu to India. So, Of course, I had to interview her. And since she is from Venabu, I used the chance to learn more about that area. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to do a video interview, so this time I did it in the good old fashioned way, in writing.

Line Tvete, can you tell us a little about yourself?

– I turned 62 this February. I have always been interested in health, yoga, and alternative therapies, so I have spent a lot of time on different courses to learn more about myself and life. Now I am the Venabu mountain hotel’s general manager and spend most of my time running the family hotel. I have a hotel education and ran the hotel with my oldest brother for 20 years. In 2003, I decided to do something completely different and started traveling around the world. I bicycled to India and spent two years in Nepal and India before traveling back home by train and bicycle through China, Mongolia, Russia, and Finland. In 2013 I returned to Venabu and took over the operation after ten years.

Can you tell a little about Rondane and this area?

Rondane was the first mountain area in Norway to become an official national park in 1962. Rondane has rounder and “friendlier” mountains than, for example, the peaks of Jotunheimen. And Venabu is a popular area for hiking, only a few km south of the national park’s border. In Venabu, there are eight peaks above 2000 masl. In our immediate area called Venabygdsfjellet, the rock formations are even more rounded. Our region has a lot to offer. Here, you can easily reach peaks with great views. A few kilometers away from our mountain hotel is Dørdalen, a gorge with a 100-meter vertical wall. This spectacular mini canyon was formed during the last ice age 10′ years ago. And we have Myfallet. Myfallet is three waterfalls of a total of 100m and is a popular hiking destination.
We also have a unique wild reindeer tribe that we often spot on our area’s guided walks. You can see old reindeer hunting grounds and learn more about how important hunting and fishing were before and now. Ringebu center is the valley’s most superior center with an outdoor Village Gallery. And if you go to Ringebu, the stave church and gallery in the rectory (prestegården), and rectory’s garden (Prestegårdshagen) are worth visiting.

When is the best time to visit Venabu?

– It depends on what you like. Perhaps the coziest time is Christmas. We have a traditional Christmas celebration with guests from many countries. We walk around the Christmas tree, sing Christmas carols, read the Christmas gospel, have a visit from Santa Claus, eat traditional food, and enjoy the winter landscape at its best. In March, the days are long; the weather is not so cold, and if you like skiing, it is excellent for that. June is the early summer, with fresh air and green colors. In July, you can have perfect fishing trips and swim in a refreshing mountain lake, and September is the season for vibrant mountain colors.

You also cycled from Venabu to India, what made you embark on that adventure?

– I needed a break from life in the mountains and needed to challenge myself both physically and mentally.

How was that journey? And what can you describe as your most significant experience along the way on that trip?

– Along the way, on a seven-month bike ride through 10 countries, they were many experiences.
In most of the places, people were welcoming and hospitable. I got invited to people’s homes in different countries, which was fun and a unique experience. And Iran was an exciting country with such a different culture.

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