Sunday culture walk to Vettakollen

11 Oct

Climbed inner Oslo’s highest peak Vettakollen today. Did so because I was sick of sitting around in the oppressive gray weather in my neighborhood waiting for the forecasted snowflakes that never came.

I’ll take advantage of this post to send off a plea for intergeek harmony. Can the weather geeks at yr.no stop dicking with the ski nerds at skiforeningen.no? For two weekends straight now the former have got the latter needlessly worked up into intense states of hope and agitation. It’s not funny any more and besides there’s nothing worse than being mean geeks since being nice is usually your only saving grace.

I figured that with a couple hundred more meters altitude I might see some white stuff. A novel I’m reading, Doppler by Erlend Loe, also speaks at length about Vettakollen, adding more than just snow related interest in the place.

Vettakollen’s mighty summit dominates the city 419 meters over the fjord:

11102009011

As you can see, no snow. Just mud, rain and semi-frozen blueberries. “Doppler”, the hero of Loe’s novel, has taken up residence here at the top of of the mountain. Vettakollen’s prime vantage over the city supplies his misanthropy with its paradoxically needed dose of human contact. From his perch above the city he fumes:

Jeg liker ikke folk.

Jeg liker ikke det de gjør.

Jeg liker ikke det de er.

Jeg liker ikke det de sier.

I don’t like people.

I don’t like what they do.

I don’t like what they are.

I don’t like what they say.

Cold and wet, I too got grumpy–though for other reasons. The peaks of Nordmarka are invariably just big ridges. It’s therefore difficult to determine where the top is. I actually “summitted” without realizing it and wandered around an additional half hour in the muck before concluding I’d already been to the top. Here’s Vettakollen’s prodigious summit ridge gracefully mirrored in its reflecting pool:

11102009010

My literary pursuit was further gratified when I found this sign a hundred meters further down the ridge where the best view of the city lies:

11102009015It states “the name Vettakollen comes from the old word vete meaning beacon. For more than 1000 years this has been the place where beacons have been built from wood and logs. The beacons could be lit to warn of war danger.”

Though freezing my ass off, it was probably better I didn’t light a campfire up there.

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