The few episodes of the Netflix show Lilyhammer didn't prepare me for my visit to the actual town of Lillehammer itself. With its bricked pedestrian mall filled with boutiques and other high-end shops, the town seemed more like a nordic Boulder, Colorado, outpost than something toward which a mafia wise guy acclimated to a New York state of mind would gravitate. But that's television for you.
Though my time in town was brief, I could see the charm of the town that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics. Strolling the hilly residential area above the main drag on a dark midwinter evening, I came across dozens of locals commuting with ski-poles and mountain bikes tricked out with studded ice tires, seemingly unperturbed by the layer of ice on the town's every horizontal surface. On the main drag, I visited pastry shops and sipped steaming coffee next to a small creek. I dallied too long to make it to either the Norwegian Olympic Museum or the Lillehammer Art Museum, but there'll always be another trip.