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220km (136 miles) NW of Oslo; 61km (38 miles) NW of Lillehammer

As much as we enjoy Lillehammer, our hearts are won over, too, by the wildness of the Peer Gynt country, where you'll encounter nature in some of its rawer aspect. Although this is primarily known as a ski area, summer -- when you can travel along mountain roads, past old farmsteads and fish-filled lakes, enjoying the alpine flowers and the wild birds -- is equally delightful.

The Peer Gynt Road, between Lillehammer and the little town of Vinstra, takes you right into the heart of Peer Gynt country. Henrik Ibsen came this way when he was researching his masterpiece Peer Gynt, published in 1867 and later set to music by Edvard Grieg. Ibsen based his tale in part on the exploits of one Per (spelled with only one e) Gynt Haga, a real-life Norwegian folk hero noted for such exploits as riding on the backs of reindeer at breakneck speed.

As you drive through the Gudbrandsdal (Gudbrands Valley), you can travel the same route that bewitched the original hero, and outside Vinstra you can visit a monument to Per Gynt Haga, the Peer Gynt prototype, in the cemetery adjoining the Sødorp Church, 1.5km (1 mile) south of town. The road passes two large resorts, Skeikampen/Gausdal and Golå/Wadahl, before rejoining E6 at Vinstra.

The Peer Gynt country is an unspoiled mountain region with altitudes varying from 769m to 1,499m (2,522-4,917 ft.). This is one of Norway's oldest and best-known sports districts. The skiing center at Fefor was opened in 1904, and it was here that the adventurous Capt. Robert Falcon Scott tested the equipment for his expedition to the South Pole.