grefsenkollen

November 9, 2008

grefsenkollen1

I’ve been up Grefsenkollen a number of times (and Mr. Snow about 30 times that number, while training climbs for The Great Test of Strength), for rock climbing, walking and to enjoy the great view from 367 m above downtown Oslo. The old wooden house there has always been silent when I’ve been, but the news is that it has now been transformed into a beautiful restaurant (and the inevitable conference centre), with good reviews so far.And it’s not just waffles and coffee either, you can choose from a daily, 3-, 5- or 7-course meal with all the whistles and bells.

Their website describes the cabin’s interesting history (in Norwegian). It was built by the Ringnes Brewery in 1926, when there was no car road up to the remote plot. At that time, alcohol laws were strong in central Oslo, which may have something to do with why a brewery would build a pub on the outskirts of Oslo. It became a popular spot for locals, with dance evenings organized several times a week for young people, who would toboggan down the hill again at the end of the night.

Grefsenkollen was presented as a gift to the Oslo city council in the 1930s on the condition that only Ringnes beer would be sold there (!). During the second world war, the occupying German forces had control of the place, using it as a radio station with much technical equipment positioned there. It apparently took several years after the war before Grefsenkollen became popular again, and it’s since undergone several incarnations, of which the restaurant there today is the latest. The pictures I’ve seen indicate that they have kept the raw timber feel of the place, which looks stunning in combination with the minimalist fittings. Now as for the food…

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