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Østerike - the site of Wittgensteins hut in Skjolden

The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) was one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century. His two major works, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations, have made him a leading figure in logic and philosophy of language.

In 1913 he left academic life in Cambridge in order to be able to concentrate on his philosophical work. His travels ended up in Norway at Skjolden, at the far end of Sognefjorden.

How to get to the Wittgenstein Hut

Parking: Park at Vassbakken Kro and Camp-ing, 3 km from Skjolden on highway 55 to Lom.

How to get there:
Take the tractor-road from the car park.
Cross the bridge across the Fortun river. Go straight on and then turn left.
Stay on the tractor-road till you see the o-marks.
Stay on the o-marked path till you reach the site.
(The path is uneven with many rocks. You need good walking shoes)

The path to the site of Wittgenstein's hut runs across the Fortun river (used to be a fairly good salmon river) and then through Vaiane. Vaiane is farmland belonging to the farms at Bolstad in Skjolden. Before the bridge was built, they stored the hey in barns in the area until they needed it. Normally they would bring the hey home with horse and sledge across the frozen lake in the winter. When the ice was gone in spring, they had to use rowing boats. Even though the hut was situated in a remote spot, there was still quite a lot of activity on the lake and on the ice in winter. Young people and children came skating on the ice. Even after dark one could hear people shouting and laughing out on the ice. They set fire to small "pockets" of gas that were trapped under the ice, and one could see the flames from across the lake.

The last part of the path to the hut is rather steep, and metal rods are drilled into the rock for safety in the winter when the path was slippery.

Wittgenstein had a hoist that he used to pull water from the lake to the hut. A bucket was sent down on a wire. It filled when it hit the surface, and he could pull the water up. Parts of this hoist can still be seen.

Wittgenstein crossed the lake in a rowing boat in summer and on the ice in winter. Some times it was also possible to wade across the river.

He often visited the centre of Skjolden to send and receive post, but in some busy periods he had post and goods delivered at the hut.

Source: Visit Sognefjord AS

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Østerike - the site of Wittgensteins hut in Skjolden

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