Heading north from Lillehammer, the E6 and the railway leave the shores of Lake Mjøsa to run along the Gudbrandsdal, an appealing 160km river valley, which was for centuries the main route between Oslo and Trondheim. Enclosed by mountain ranges, the valley has a comparatively dry and mild climate, and its fertile soils have nourished a string of farming villages since Viking times; even today, despite the thunderings of the E6, the Gudbrandsdal remains predominantly – and distinctly – rural.

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