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Falun City at Rock, part 1: The Hills

"Rockstad Falun" is translated as "Rock City Falun". Well, there are lots of rocks everywhere, and also a lot of rock music. Everywhere I went I kept hearing Sabaton's "To Hell and Back". Got enough of it.

Everyday in the morning I was escaping from the festival campsite to the deserted places, like top of skijumping hills, graveyard, riverside or city centre. Falun city centre is pretty calm and quiet, especially on working days. Spending time "Somewhere Alone" is a part of my nature. I try to interract with other people as much as I can but I can't do it too much. In the last days I stopped using the pedestrian roads along the highway and started walking to the city through the graveyard. This way it was more peaceful and took less time.

Nevertheless, "I Came to Rock". Rockstad Falun took three days, from August 13th to 15th, and also a pre-party on 12th. It actually ended on August 16th at 2 a.m., so it lasted from Wednesday to Sunday. Five days of heavy rock. Pretty much. But a lot of free time as well, and a lot of places to visit.

The guy who'd been sitting next to me on the train had recommended me to visit the mining museum. There's a complicated relationship between me and mining museums. I wanted to visit one in Velenje, Slovenia, but never got a chance. Once I applied for a all-around-Slovenia trip which included Velenje, but on the last momnet they went, "There's nothing to see there, we'll take you to Ljubljana". Hello, I've been to Ljubljana lots of times and I've even lived there! Well, I had to go there once more, and I never got an opportunity to visit Velenje on my own. The second mining museum I never visited was in Straetkvern, Norway, right next to my house. I've lived there for two months and I had plenty of time to give it a look, but I never did.

And now the Falun mining museum. On Thursday morning I asked my friends to pick me up on their way there, but the didn't get the message. Well? Attempt #3 has failed as well. Okay, forget it. I had two good reasons to come to Falun, and they are called The Lugnet Hills. I'm a huge skijumping fan and I climb every skijumping hill I see. The most important thing is that the smaller hill still holds the record of 105.0 m, set in 1996 by my biggest skijumping idol, Primoz Peterka. I just had to pay him a respect by visiting that hill. And thanks to my lousy phone operator who fails to deliver text messages on time, I had several hours to explore it.

So I bought a ticket at the Lugnet sport center and headed to the funicular. The walls of the sport center were decorated with portraits of famous athletes, including the most known Swedinsh skijumpier Jan Boklov who invented the V-style back in 1980s. After observing all the pictures, I stepped inside the funicular and pressed the '1' button. It was supposed to take me to the judges' tower, but didn't work. Okay, I hit the '2' button. A few minutes later, I was on the top of the hill, next to those two towers and a small shop. I looked around, took some photos, and entered the large hill tower where the museum was located. It suprised me that none of the rooms looked the same way as on TV screen. Where is the waiting room, for goodness sake?

The exhibition started in a room dedicated to the 1954 and 1974 World Ski Championships held here in Falun. I read the whole stories, took a look at the inventory, and watched a long footage of the competitions which was provided by Swedish television. It's always interesting to watch the old videos of skijumping, even if there are no athletes known to me. Skijumping has changed a lot in all those years. There is no parallel style (thanks again to Jan Boklov), knitted hats and hopping out to inrun anymore, it became safer, more effective and better organized. For me, it was fun to watch the 1974 champion Hans-Georg Aschenbach (the Austrian! I keep saying they're always winning) performing his jump the old-school way. I came back 25 minutes later to re-watch it.

I went to the inrun. The floor was a bit shaky. Well, the jumpers are used to this. I'm not. I've been to the top of the other hills before, but the Lugnet Large was the most impressive. The inrun was covered in ceramics, but the sides of it were made of slippery rubber, and I didn't take a risk stepping on it like the staff does. There was no start bench anywhere, where does it go when it's unused? Well, no answer. Looking down was not scary, but I decided not to walk down the stairs. I returned into the tower and ascended to the room of 2015. Falun is very proud of the recent Championships, and it's not for nothing. After seeing the pictures and reading the inscriptions, I proceeded to the room of handprints. There were handprints of all the Falun World champions of 2015, safe for the Team Norway, champions in skijumping large hill team competition. Or maybe I've missed it. I pressed my hand to the handprints of the other skijumping champions: Carina Fogt, Richard Freitag, Rune Velta and Severin Freund. Then I walked to the TV corner to watch the footage from the champs. I didn't last there for long. The memories were still fresh.

The 1993 room left me unimpressed. I quickly looked around, read the story, pictured the mascot (the eagle owl), paid my respect to the picture of 1993 silver and bronze medalist Andreas Goldberger (I remember him being an active jumper, nowadays he's a skijumping expert and commentator but he hasn't lost his jumping skills, he even jumps from large hills with a TV camera and a microphone), and climbed to the very top of the tower. The views were stunning all aruond. The lakes, the woods, the town, the festival area, the campside (I photographed my tent, haha) and the old skijumpind center (with no facilities remaining) could be easily seen from there.

I went down and left the tower. I clibmed to the top of the smaller tower (which has given an inrun to the Primoz Peterka's record-setting flight) but the way in was locked. I coundn't access the takeoff ramp either. So I walked back to the large hill. There was a metal fence and a sign, telling there's no access to the takeoff ramp and landing zone, but I saw a big hole in the lower part and squeezed through it. In the forbidden area, I looked around, checked out the plastic grass (first time I touch it), climbed the coaches' platform, got to the takeoff ramp and did a selfie on it. Then I went under the inrun and saw how the skijumping tower looked from "inside". Then I squeezed myself back through the fence and peeked at the grill/BBQ house. Why the hell do they need that? Who's making picnics here? Well, there is a hiking/jogging/cycling path next to the hills and some tables near the souvenir shop where you can have a drink, but BBQ? Come on.

Speaking of those tables. A middle-aged Swedish couple was having a coffee at one of them. As I walked by, they asked me if I've taken any pictures at the ramp. They sait they've seen me sneak there, but promiced not to tell anyone. Thanks, I guess.

Souvenir shop was my last place to visit. I gave a thumb pick through all the books and chose the one called "License to Jump!", providing the history of women' skijumping. It featured some of my favorite jumpers as well. The other books available were about the preparation for 2015 World Championships and its process. Next time, I thought. I have room only for one book. I also took a pin, but the seller didn't notice it. So I've got a free Falun pin now, with the silouettes of both towers on it :)

On the funicular, I pressed the '1' again, but it still didn't want to take me to the judges' tower. Okay then, next time I'll go there by foot. But not now. I've spent 3 hours here, and I have to go find something to eat before the festival starts, there's not much time left. I pressed '0'. The funicular slowly took me to the bottom of the hill. I will return in 20 years for the next World Champs, I thought. For sure. And now, metal fest awaits!

To be continued...