A walk around Geilo

Historic agricultural buildings

If nothing else, I slept well. But as we filled up on an ample breakfast in the Dr Holms Hotel, including some of the best meatballs anywhere in the world, I was still thinking that I’d made a big mistake booking Geilo as a winter destination.

At the time the village looked as if it had a wide range of activities beyond alpine skiing, a sport that Graham refuses to entertain. A trip to the tourist office, however, suggested there were precious few things on offer for the non-skier. The member of staff we spoke to even said there weren’t any decent walks to do.

I decided to put a brave face on it as we opted for the only walk the office could suggest, and that was along country roads. It took us out of the village to the east, and then up into the hills to Havsdalen and one of the main ski areas.

The old village church
The old village church

It was a cloudy morning and the roads were a death trap, covered in ice and just waiting to catch out the unprepared. We were in Geilo’s more residential districts, where the timber-clad homes lay knee deep in some of the thickest snow I’d ever seen. Only the tops of the swings and slides in a children’s playground could be seen peeking out of the white stuff. With the sun obscured, everything looked monochrome other than a few houses that had been painted in a rich yellow, red or green.

The village was deathly quiet and we barely spotted a soul as we began our climb into the hills. The walk was hard work but we eventually arrived at the ski area, where we warmed up with a cup of tea. The sun finally broke through for a few minutes as we watched the skiers hurtling downhill, and I got pangs of jealousy.

The slippery streets of Geilo
The slippery streets of Geilo

We didn’t hang around so pointed our walking boots towards the village, taking a different route on a busier and much less attractive road. We had tea and cake in the hotel cafe and then spent an hour or so in the spa. But compared to the excellent offering at our hotel in Finland a few years back, this was all very low rent.

There were too many kids dive-bombing the pool and being a pain in the ass. The sauna was fine but the steam room was notable for its lack of steam. Another way of passing the time, especially for Graham while I skied, evaporated.

The snow fell lightly as we retired to the bar.

In the evening we didn’t even bother venturing far from the hotel. Instead, we ate at their excellent brasserie and then found ourselves back in their ski bar. Somehow, I knew that Geilo was dead as the proverbial dodo.