Our final destination on our St. Olav Way walk in Norway. Enjoy this beautiful city.
28th July 2016,
Today is the day! We walked in to Trondheim around 12:30pm, after a very fast 26.5km walk, exhausted but very happy.
The trail ended in fine form with giving us the final days walk with hills, mud, mosquitos, sheep, and on arrival rain! It was Norway saying don’t forget us and of course we met up and walked along parts of the way with some of our pilgrim friends with who we have met on these last 28days.
Today is also the day before St. Olav’s Day so there are many festive things happening and one being the procession of pilgrims walking the final 8 or so km’s into Trondheim after a big group breakfast. We missed the breakfast but soon after caught up with this group and boy there were many! We heard it was around 312! We felt very overwhelmed when we caught up with them and it was too many people to cope with after walking so long so we moved through them to continue on in front. On arrival to the Nidaros Cathedral the festival was in full swing with many people and market stalls around. We were guided by a very lovely lady down to the pilgrims centre where we received our final stamp and certificate.
This adventure in Norway is coming to an end but wait………..
We are heading to Scotland so stay tuned!
26th July 2016,
When it rains it pours! And boy it threw it down at us today! Started out fine just cloudy then about half way through came the thunder, lightning and the icy cold rain! Luckily we had finished walking most of the bog land, (marshlands), and mainly had forest walking left.
Met a few new pilgrims today, 3 of a group of 5, Norwegians and one lone Norwegian with his dog. Didn’t see any others. It is funny how you can do one of these hikes knowing there are lots walking the same way as you yet not see them at all during the day.
No moose still sadly but I am looking hard. We did pass a large rock that is covered in graffiti etchings and I saw one from 1906 and one from 1897! Scratched into it. Was quite fascinating to read the markings.
Made our accommodation though after reaching the end point of our walk then trying to find our place for the night was very confusing and we ended walking a few km the wrong way and up a hill in the rain! Luckily the door I knocked on knew the lady we were to stay with and she drove us to her house. So now we are happy dry little pilgrims.
25th July 2016,
Pilgrims, pilgrims, and more pilgrims everywhere. There are two big groups today of pilgrims, one we crisscrossed with all day. I believe one group have around 30 and the other 20. This is why we haven’t been able to get accommodation and are having to bus off route to other towns. We have only three more walking days to go before this adventure is done and the next one starts.
After last nights fantastic stay we then were treated to a tour of the Meldal Kirke. We even got to climb up into the bell tower with gorgeous views out over the valley.
We walked through Lokken Verk, this place being full of mining history as well as the place of the Thamshavn Railway. This was where The 1st Norwegian electric train was built back in 1908 to transport the ore from the mines and stayed in operation until 1963.
24th July 2016,
Today we start to walk the last 100km, (62miles), to Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. We also only have 5 days of walking left! As we get closer to our goal our walking distances each day have dropped as well, and we are finding that the trail isn’t as difficult either, our bodies are getting tired so we are happy for that.
It is Sunday and the sun has come out to play so today has been a pleasant stroll through the countryside with the river Orkla always on our left showing itself every now and then. It’s quite a lovely river that is very fast flowing and along the banks are many little fishing huts and plenty of fisherman today trying for the salmon.
We didn’t run into any pilgrims at all today strangely as yesterday we heard there was about 50 pilgrims all up walking through yesterday. I think over the next few days though there will be more as we approach Trondheim and on the 29th July is the celebrations of St. Olav.
We did meet some very noisy sheep today all wanting attention, (watch the video) and a funny cow that was jumping around excitedly in circles at Mark, (by the time I got up to film him he stopped sorry).
Tonight has been a delight as we are staying with a very lovely couple who have fed us the most amazing meal. There is nothing better for a pilgrim that a home cooked meal and ice cream for desert except for having a shower and getting hair conditioner to use! Oh the luxury I feel like a queen! Thank you Hilde and Stein it’s been fantastic.
Tomorrow is approaching fast so bed for us.
23rd July 2016
Today while walking my thoughts kept turning to the history of the places we walk. Everywhere in the world is history and for the most part we really don’t think a whole lot about it. What was it like hundreds of years ago in the place you are now? How or who lived there and what was it like? Your mind can really take you on a journey and today I felt that journey as we walked through a forest. There were wooden information boxes that we would come across and as you open the box inside the words written would transform you back to a different time, giving you a short story of what was there.
The history continued when we arrived at a place to stay which happened to not be the place I had booked (oops) we kept walking and over shot our stop by 6kms. This turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Joar and Magni from Nogar Voll have welcomed us with open arms and given us the royal treatment. Joar drove us to the shop to get food, then he took us on a tour of the church, which is a unique and impressive church then a tour of the museum shop. The original church is a stave church, (medieval wooden church) the original was built around 1250 but replaced in 1669. The uniqueness of this church is that it is one of only 4 remaining Y-shaped found in Norway.
Today we also saw the girls with the horses and their dog again. We found out the doggies name is Bombus which is Latin for bumblebee. The girls Nora and Oda are both from Oslo and riding into Trondheim on the same day as we will. It was so good to see and think they are very brave on horses, maybe we will see them again tomorrow.
22nd July 2016
We stayed in Oppdal last night in the Rennebu region. After a great nights sleep we went up to Oppdal Kirke, (the church) to start our walk as this had the stone marker for 153kms left to Nidaros the final point of our walk.
This area has a lot to offer any sports enthusiast. With the river Driva being one of the best in Norway for all paddle sports. There also is plenty of places for horseback riding, fishing and hunting, there is musk-Ox and moose safaris, dog sledding, rock climbing and more. We past quite a few ski run today as well so I would imagine the place would be booming in winter as well.
Our walk itself was long and not anything too exciting today as it was just all on back roads. The views however were as beautiful as always. It was very hot also though right at the end as we only had about 3 km to go the sky opened up, always the way. Two pilgrims on horses and their little jack Russel passed us in the afternoon. We had seen them a few days earlier in the mountains. They started their journey on the 28th of June and plan to finish on the 28th July, the same day as us.
21st July 2016
A really fun time in the hut and we actually did get some sleep, (thanks to our iPods)
We woke early to the most beautiful day yet with hardly a cloud in the sky!
Again no wildlife axcept another eagle. We really were hoping to see something more but was not to be. Today we leave the mountains and will head back into more forests and valleys. It was a great experience to be up there and we really enjoyed it, maybe not the steep climbs but the rest as it is very different terrain and with views that just take your breath away.
Tomorrow we will continue down through the valley as we start on the final 150km Mark! We are getting there!
20th July 2016,
Back to our walk after a great day of rest and boy did it make us pay for it! Straight up, up and more up taking us to our highest point on the trail at 1315m. One section was so steep it we felt like we weren’t getting very far and it really made us burn! After making it up that very steep section the rest was more of a gradual climb and far more pleasant. While walking we were hoping to see some musk-Ox, reindeer or some form of the wildlife and again sadly all we did see was an eagle. Hopefully tomorrow, we really haven’t had a whole lot of luck finding wildlife on this trip, we do however see a lot of sheep!
Our place tonight to stay is also the most remote we will stay on this trip. We are on top of the mountains and there will be no electricity or running water, I fact no reception either.
The hut is in an area called Ryphusan and is an unattended hut with a river running past. There is only beds for 10 pilgrims any more they tend to sleep on the floor or in a tent or even outside. For water you get from the river and if you wish to bathe you go in the river too.
We arrive and lucky we are the first ones for the beds so we got first choice, no sleeping on the floor for us thankfully! There ended up being 14 pilgrims with two on the floor, one in a tent and one outside. Two others showed up but continued on after having a rest, (15kms to the next stop!)
Mark and I did the best we could bathing but OMG the water was freezing! We however found a better use of the freezing water and that was to make the cans of coke and beer cold that we carried up with us so we are happy pilgrims.
It was a great place to stay and fantastic to spend time with our pilgrim friends as this is one of the last nights we will probably see most of them, we are moving ahead a bit faster from now on to make our 28th arrival deadline.
18th July 2016
We are still walking high along the Dovrefjell with incredible views all around. Today we are very lucky the weather is perfect with no rain just cloud cover and a slight breeze to keep the air comfortable.
In this area we are told we should keep eyes peeled for musk-ox, wild reindeer, wolverine (sadly not Hugh Jackman), mountain foxes as well as golden eagles. As today’s weather is perfect I’m very excited that our chances of seeing any of these might be high, but sadly not to be only the sheep that roam the mountains and us crazy pilgrims.
The second part of the day did drag on a bit and we started to feel it as we got closer to our rest stop. We both are very tired and now feeling it but I think it’s because we are coming to a rest day and our bodies know it and have decided to slow down.
Mark and I have booked two night in a mountain lodge to have well needed rest before we head back into the mountains for the final nine-day push to finish.
17th July 2016
The big walk up!
The day was drizzly and not looking very pleasant. I always think back to the Lakes District in the UK when we were walking up and over and how the cloud came in and made it very cold and no visibility. This was on my mind all the night before, I really was feeling nervous it might be the case again but as luck would have it the drizzly passed and the sky lightened up by the time we reached the top. The views were so breathtaking! You stand and look around and see endless mountains in every direction some even with snow still on top!
The first part of the walk was quite steep as you went up to about 950m then the last
section was a lot more gradual as we reached just over the 1200m mark. As we got higher the landscape became more barren opening up the views to you.
We walked for a while with a few sheep. I noticed the sheep here are very friendly and not skittish like the ones at home. They seem happy to just walk with you, it was a bit like they were leading the way for us.
There were quite a few of us pilgrims going over today, some new ones we have not yet met but they seem to know who we were (we are always asked ‘are you two the Aussies?) but my highlight was when I was at the top and turned around to see a young German Lad we have met a few times but not seen for a while come up and said he had something of mine and has been hoping to catch up to give it to me. I knew instantly what it was, it was a hat pin I lost a week ago! He found it by a river, what are the chances!
Our accommodation is in a place that is 11 generation own! It was really great to be there with all the pilgrims we have met.
16th July 2016
Wow a long day but really enjoyed the walk (for the most part). To just clear my mind Some of these trails are just simply DANGEROUS! We come across some sections that really do need to be looked at for the safety on walkers. Very narrow and it’s muddy (which can’t be helped) with cliff drops beside you I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime soon someone will slip, loose footing and go down. I think they need to be redirected to a safer path, especially if they want people to come walk them. We made it through the very difficult section yesterday but we were lucky it was not raining if it was we would have turned back. There got that out.
Now in saying that the rest of the day was just simple stunning and as we are heading into the Dovre Mountains you can see the change in the land. It’s exciting as we climb higher and looking forward to tomorrow as we reach the highest point.
Today Mark was excited to see his first Beaver! We also saw red squirrels but no moose yet. We were however following moose prints for some time but I think they were a few days old.
We arrived at our campground late at 6:30pm after starting out at 8am and very sore and tired after such a gruelling days walk and were greeted by the lovely Eva. She took great care of us and we had a very comfortable place to stay.
15 July 2016
Ok here is the deal. After 2 1/2 hours and only getting 5.7kms of bush bashing and a trail that was increasingly getting dangerous we abandoned the walk for today and bush bashed our way to the highway (that part was easier than the trail). I have to say this is the first we have had to abandon a trail in fear of breaking our necks but seriously like I’m always saying safety first! We want to walk tomorrow and so on. Anyone behind us contemplating the walk out of Kvam to Otta please think about whether or not it’s a good idea.
We knew it was to be a difficult section and some pilgrims last night said that they already decided to bus past it. We had chosen to do the 1st half down then re look at it but when one is having to sit on their bottoms to slide a trail because with a full pack and no real ledge to stand on it is the only safe option. What annoyed me more than anything is I WASHED MY CLOTHES YESTERDAY!
Anyway enough now we sit on the side of a highway waiting to flag a bus and heading to Otta safely.
14th July 2016
The day was short but up, up and more up at the beginning. As always with ups you are rewarded with outstanding views. So breathtaking at some points, oh wait that was the UP that was breathtaking. Really did enjoy the walk today saw two Norwegian Stoats though still looking for the moose! Saw signs of them but they are hiding really well. Maybe tomorrow.
13th July 2016
Today was pleasant at the beginning then around 14 kms into the walk the trail changed, the mosquitos came out, Mark decided to do a snake dance (yes he stepped over a snake!) then we had to walk part of the E6 (main highway) with very little space to walk. Then it got better when we arrived at Hundorp where there was a very lovely pilgrims centre at the Dale-Gudbrands Gard.
This is only a small place beside the highway with large history. There was a settlement here from the Viking times and is also where Christianity came to the region. It is said that one of St. Olav’s men took his club and smashed the image of the god Thor into pieces. The buildings have also in the past been a school, community centre and more recently a hotel.
We had a very relaxing stop here and was looked after by the lovely Julie (hope I got the name right sorry if I didn’t. Paul from Holland joined us as well as a few other pilgrims. Once rested we continued on to a place called Sygard Grytting. This is very ancient farmstead with a medieval “pilgrim loft”. It is said to be the only one still in existence along the trail. Sadly for us we had accommodation further along and couldn’t cancel without charge so no stay for us.
12th July 2016
Today is Mark’s Birthday! Today is also a long walk! Oops. Didn’t plan that well so no birthday sleep in for the boy. We had a great group breakfast with all the pilgrims we met yesterday and walked most of the day with Paul from Holland.
Not a very eventful day as a good part was on roads, quiet roads but roads non the less. At our lunch stop, which was very lucky timing, the sky opened up and let it all come down and hard. Thankfully we were in a town and under cover at the time.
We spent some time at the Ringebu Stavkirke, this is the only Stave Church on the walk. This church has been rebuilt a few times with the first dating back to 1360. This wooden church is definitely a must visit with the beautiful wooden carvings inside, I especially likes the wooden chandelier inside.
At our accommodation and a little frustrated as no one was here to let us in and after ringing a few times they finally told us where the key is to let ourselves in. Now sitting around waiting for them as they said they are on their way and we just want to go for dinner. First place we have come to on this trip where we are a bit annoyed. Finally she arrives and all is sorted. Onward and upward.
11th July 2016
We had a fantastic place to stay in last night at the Nermo Hotel. Great BBQ buffet and boy did we eat! I think we both fell into a food coma.
Today it was wet, humid, sunshine and yes thunderstorms as well just a typical Norwegian Summers day. Our distance wasn’t so long but Jeez what a hard day! We climbed up, we slid down, we had lots and lots of energy sucking mud! Some times the trail was pleasant and sometimes, we lets just say I wouldn’t call it a trail but a suggestion of a trail. There was one point where the mud trail was smaller than our feet (we have big feet but really) with a massive drop straight down. It was a great delight to emerge out of the woods and see a group of pilgrims sitting around outside the accommodation we would be stopping at.
There were many more pilgrims along the way today from all over the world and it was great to share the walk with them as well as our rest stops and tonight have a big meal with them all at the end of the day. We also met pilgrims that were walking in the other direction from Trondheim to Oslo.
So all in all we are shattered but have really enjoyed our day. Tomorrow will be very long but told not as challenging which would be good as tomorrow is a special day. Mark’s birthday.
10th July 2016,
The summer sun has returned and after a fantastic stay with an Airbnb we were back strolling the countryside of Norway. Every direction you turn is just beautiful and the villages are all well-kept and pretty. Not too much excitement today but definatlty pleasant.
We past some natural springs that is said to give healing properties and had just appeared when St. Olav needed water for his horse. Well I’m not sure about any healing properties as when I knelt down to touch the water my legs froze and was stuck! Mark had to pull me up so it didn’t help my legs any.
We all walked through a place called Lillehammer. Now some of you might have heard of this place, it is where the 1994 Winter Olympics was held and this year there is the Youth Winter Olympics. Really pretty place and you now do get a sense of heading into the Alpine Ski Resorts. Oh how I would really love to see this place in the snow!
9th July 2016,
After such a glorious summer’s day yesterday we were greeted with rain, thunderstorms a then sunshine. The history continued today with ‘Tolvsteinsringen’. This is the “ring of twelve stones”, a circle of twelve stones that apparently date back to……. Wait for it………the Iron Age! Now that is going back 2000 – 2500 years ago! It has thought to have been a place of council but now it is thought to be perhaps a burial-place. Sadly for us it was bucketing down cats and dogs as we were passing so we couldn’t enjoy the place.
Today was the start of some climbing as well and it went for quite a while but have to say the views were just incredible (when it wasn’t raining). Again Norway has looked after us providing some great places to rest as well as, fortunately for us, a resting shelter which was right at the moment we met up with a thunder-storm!
We also today had a very lovely lady pop out of her house and gave us an icy pole! She said she gives all the passing pilgrims one as she wanted to give them something that they would enjoy and was not possible to carry in their packs. Well it was a delight to have just when you needed it.
Lastly today we ran into Whillem from holland and then when we had finished our walk we met Regin, or Reggie as he is called, he is from Norway and has only 3 weeks to get through so that means very long walking days. Today he was continuing to Lillehammer. He didn’t want to know the distance he was walking today but we worked it out at around 57kms. Hope we are wrong Reggie because I then predict an 9-9:30pm finish. Hope your music helped and you made it safe, see you in Lillehammer.
8th July 2016,
Sun glorious sun and a perfect Norwegian summers day it was . A very pleasant walk for us and full of some great history as well, some we passed was the ‘Tokstad Pine’ Now this dates back to 1516! This tree has been made an official Pilgrims Pine since 2008 and every year there is a special pilgrimage from the Veldre Church to the Pine where they hold a church service. This tree was originally granted protection back in 1918. Here there is a set up of information boards for you to see and a very special hut for the pilgrims to go inside to get out of the weather.
One of the other things we saw today, or should I say walk on, was the ‘Prestvegen’ this means Priests Road as it was the route the Priest would take between the two church’s back in 1876, one in Ringsaker and the other in Verdre. Could continue with the history lesson but might bore you to tears.
Tonight’s stay was in the cutest red cottage at a campground on the Mjosa Lake. Just perfect and finished the day with dinner overlooking the lake.
7th July 2016,
After our break and the fantastic Paddle Steamer ride we landed in a place called Hamar. Lovely lakeside town with plenty of people out and about enjoying the summer sun. We were staying at the Pilgrims accommodation which was a little out-of-town. What a great place to end up! The place had everything we needed and was very comfortable indeed. We also had it all to ourselves, though we were hoping that maybe there might have been some others and looking at the log book it has been full house over the past week.
Taking off in the morning the sun was shining and in fact it shined all day! Perfect summers day, not overly hot just fresh and warm. We walked into a place shortly after starting, called Domkirkeodden, the ruins of a medieval cathedral that has been housed in a huge glass house to preserve it. There also are the remains of a Bishop’s Palace, a museum as well as an on railway museum with steam trains! A bit further along we came across many old historical buildings and folk museum from the Hedmark district and been moved here for people to enjoy. It really does need a day of exploring and sadly we don’t have the time but we really enjoyed what we got to see.
The rest of the day was a very pleasant walk through forests, farmland and small country roads. One church we passed in Furnes Kirke was a great place to stop and rest, while doing so a grounds man came and asked us if we were pilgrims and he would give us a stamp and show us the church. Apparently the church dates back to 1707 and was built with the stone from the Domkirkeodden ruins we past earlier.
6th July 2016,
Today we ride the Skibladner from Eidsvoll to Hamar.
4th July 2016,
‘Summer breeze, makes us feel fine’, this is how it felt today. Such a perfect summer day for a stroll with no rain! There was a thunderstorm hanging around right when we were about to enter the woods but it’s bark certainly was louder than its bite.
We were warned by a local farmer before entering the woods to be careful as the naughty beavers have been so bad this year and have been chomping away at the trees. Apparently they have dropped trees over the trail and left other trees just teetering dangerously, then there are the moose! She said they have their young at the moment and get quite protective. We start into the woods across a wheat field with the dark looming clouds behind us bellowing its deep thunderous clap. Is this a good idea to head into the woods now? There is no breeze at the moment but if the thunder-storm catches up there certainly will be and that could become dangerous thanks to the naughty beavers. We just go for it, we enter the woods singing out to the moose while navigating the steep muddy slope and checking all the trees in hopes the stay up right.
In the end we made it through unscathed with only seeing one fallen tree cause by a naughty beaver, no moose, no storm but we were under attack by the smallest predators of Norway, the mosquito!
Today there was a lot of history some of it starting right at the door of our accommodation, this being a road and bridge, that was originally wood then reconstructed in stone in 1827, dating far back to the Stone Age! We also went to the Eidsvollbygningen (now museum with great coffee and cake) and this is where Norway’s first constitution was written up back on the 17th May 1814, now National Day. Then there was the Galgehaugen -Gallows Hill, which we only walked passed, this was where the criminals were hung up until 1655. We also met to more pilgrims both from Norway and just spending a week on the trail heading up to Lillehammer.
Now in Eidsvoll we are having a day off tomorrow and playing happy tourist and waiting till the next day for the Skibladner which is the oldest working Paddlesteamer so we can have a ride on it on Norway’s largest lake! Can’t wait.
3rd July 2016,
Ouch, ooh, arrrhhhh, were the words much muttered and moaned this morning as we slowing (I mean real slowly) rose out of bed. Was a long tough day yesterday and us old ducks do feel it in the morning but after a great breakfast we took off in anticipation of a good day.
It was a good day too, again a lot longer than in the guide-book said (this time 8km) but pleasant walk with just a few strong showers and a quick thunderstorm in the morning then the beautiful sunshine for the remaining part of our walk.
The trail today was diverted from what looks like works on a major freeway so we think this is the reason for the diversion. we had a bit more walking on the road than yesterday but not too bad as the drivers here seem to be very respectful of walkers by slowing down.
Found more great pilgrim rest spots and the best one of all is the one we are overnighting in. Now these two old ducks are off to bed.
2nd July 2016,
We are on day two of this adventure and it is already throwing it all at us. Very late start for us due to the place we stayed at not serving breakfast till late and the trail near the end has changed its route which it ends up to be longer. Oh well it happens (two days in a row) but it does happen and I was aware of the change in route just not the km’s. We also experienced every season again and wow Norway’s weather really does change in an instant! One minute we are walking in the sun the next it is hailing down and we breathe smoke from our mouths like a puffing Billy!
Then there is the MUD! Poor Mark he has a very much hate relationship with mud on a good day but throw in heavy rail, thick forest and very uneven ground it doesn’t go well. He did however not roll around in it as much as he has done in past trips, but he did take a nasty fall as he went rolling (and rolling) down the side of an embankment. I have to apologise for not getting it on film but did take after photos. He pulled himself up and kept walking the last 6km’s but I think he will be a bit sore tomorrow .
The forest walks are quite enchanting and mystical. I love them though the last one did go on and on and on, maybe because it was in the last 5 km mark and that is always hard when you know you are close but it seems forever away.
Today on the trail there was again some great stops for the pilgrims. One place we came to, after and hour of heavy rain while trudging through the forest and mud, it was a large three-sided shelter with chair and table, campfire and a barn with 3 rooms for pilgrims. Not far from there we came across a pilgrims accommodation, with two pilgrims in it, it has everything right down to a leg massagers! The Norwegians really know how to look after their pilgrims.
We finally made it to Jessheim and we are staying in a gorgeous place that is a 6 generation farm. There are lots of farm buildings that are converted into shops, bars, restaurants and accommodation. Hope to explore a bit more of this place in the morning.
Now we are KNACKERED and really need to sleep. Should be a short walk tomorrow but hey we will see.
1st July 2016,
Excitement plus today as we were up early getting sorted for the start of our walk to Trondheim. We had a few km’s to walk first up to get to the start of the trail but worth the effort as we walked out of the city passing the incredible Opera House with the beautiful Carrara Marble encasing it.
We arrive at the start where we met a German man Carl who was also walking, so excitement all round. The walk was first, as always, out passed the industrial areas and outer suburbs and have to say it was actually really quite a pleasant walk. We came across another stone km marker where we were able to get another stamp.
The weather was all over the place, a mix of all seasons but ending with winter. The trail took us through some enchanted Forrest with lots of moss, mud and pine trees. Mark enjoyed a few slips on the mossy rocks, sorry didn’t get it on video, but he recovered well. All I can say is thank goodness for Pilates as I stayed on my two feet.
This trail is so well put together we are very impressed. Signage is really great and the amount of Pilgrim seats along the way to rest at is fantastic. We even came across a mailbox for pilgrims where we could get a stamp for our passports and another time there was a box with a pen and pad in it to write messages for other pilgrims.
Today has come to an end, it was a long day as the km’s were very different from the guide to what we had to walk. We are very tired but very happy with how we have pulled through today. Now sitting at a bar listening to a guy play his guitar and singing some great songs, downing a beer and eating a burger. Life is good.
30th June 2016
The day before the walk and a day of playing happy tourist exploring this lovely city Oslo.
As always before a walk we like to check out the trail, where we are going to start, find a few signs so we are comfortable with what to look for and for this walk go to the Pilgrims centre and get our first official stamp!
For those who are not familiar with the collecting of the stamps this is something on a long distance hike that one does to show that they walked the way. We have a special passport we carry and along the way we collect stamps from official offices, churches, accommodation places, pubs and some walks you just find a box that has the stamp in it. This is a great memento to keep and a bit of fun.
The rest of the day was exploring the city and doing the hop on hop off bus, (always a great way to see a city we think). Some of the sites we got to explore were the amazing Viking Ship museum, with real Viking ships that have been dug up!, Nobel Peace Centre, Parliament, Frogner Park and the Vigeland Installation (Sculpture Park).
We saw so much and had a great day so we decided to do a short video to share with you. Sit back enjoy.
29th June 2016,
We have made touch down in Norway and WOW!
The flight coming in was amazing as we flew over Sweden and the Fjords, then as we crossed over to the very much hillier Norway. Looking out the window of the plane down at the perfect and green miniature land below complete with the perfect miniature wooden buildings and cars. The tiny pine forest and roads, all just like someone had built a miniature land and even complete with the miniture train.
I personally felt very excited when the plane fly over Eidsvoll and Lake Mjosa as I was recognising landmarks that I have been seeing for the last year on my maps and now for real. This was the moment it hit me, all the planning and dreaming is happening and we are really here in Norway!
After 2 hours of waiting to get through passport control we caught the train into the city. First impressions of this place is really good, pretty, clean, happy people all around. Quite a sense of vibrancy but not over crowded. Music playing in the parks, children running around under the fountains, plenty of eating and drinking going on. This all feels quite cosmopolitan.
A few hours of wandering the city getting our bearings we finished the day with a few drinks and dinner, now off to the land of sleep and recharge so we can have a day of happy tourist tomorrow.
We are off on our next adventure and boy this is going to be a beauty! Mark and I are on our way to Norway (we have never been there before) and are going to walk one of Norway’s six routes of the famous St. Olav Way! The trail in which we have chosen is known as the Gudbransleden route. This will have us starting in the city of Oslo and we will then spend the next 28 days walking approximately 645km (around 400 miles) northbound to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. We are planning to arrive in Trondheim in time for the anniversary of the King’s death, St. Olav,
As we walk we will be expecting to see many other hikers as this is Norway’s prime hiking season. It is the middle of their summer but we won’t be fooled as we believe the weather can be all seasons in one day with the average temperature looking to be low 20c’s. (pretty much the same as our winter so for us cold). We will pass through valleys, forests and wood land tracks and hopefully not too much bog land. Up over the Dovre mountains, where if we are lucky we will see, in the distance, the Musk Ox that live there. As this route is a medieval Pilgrimage we will pass many old Churches and ancient burial grounds. As for our accommodation we will be mixing it up with Pilgrims Lodgings, Mountain huts (you know the cute timber ones with the grass on top!) B&B’s and Hotels.
A very quick history lesson;
St. Olav who is he? Olav Haraldsson was the King of Norway from 1015 through to the 29th July 1030. His fame came not just because he was king, he was also famous for bringing Christianity to Norway and uniting this country. His remains are believed to be buried at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim and people from all over the world will walk there to visit his shine where it is said brings miracles. After the arrival of the Reformation in Norway back in 1537 it was prohibited to walk a pilgrimage with punishment for doing so being as harsh as death! The revival of this historical trail started to come about between the years 1994 and 1996 when the completion of the way marking was only as recent as 2000! So this is I suppose a relatively new but ancient pilgrimage!
28th June 2016;
It is the night before our adventure and I’m feeling very excited like a child on Christmas eve! We are both a bit lost and not sure what to do with ourselves as we are very much ready to just grab our packs and head to the airport. One more sleep…………that is all and then tomorrow night we fly! Not sure if my mind will slow down enough for sleep, did I pack everything? Should I repack? (only done it 4 times already!) Got our passports? (still in the same spot they were the last 10 times I looked. You think with all the travelling I do I would be more calm but no not this chicken little…..
WE ARE OFF!