Day twenty eight of walking the St. Olavsleden
Today is our final day! We are going to push ourselves into Trondheim.
Well what a walk today. At one point I did feel like screaming No More Mud! But we got through. This trail really wasn’t going to let us go without giving us a toughy. Yep the forest was playing hard ball with the mud and it was getting a bit relentless. I do however have to say I really would take the mud over the roads any day. The forest was just beautiful to be in and we felt like we were in the wild nature.
We came across a beautiful lake at one point where we did stop and rest at the picnic tables there. It was very peaceful and beautiful to just sit and rest our feet. There were so many electric blue dragonflies flying all around. I tried so hard to take their photos but I think they were being camera shy.
Walking into Trondheim was quite nice as we remembered the colourful city from before. We felt our steps pick up pace even though our feet were tired and sore but the excitement was taking over as we got closer to Nidaros Cathedral and the 0km marker.
She is a beautiful cathedral to see and this time there was no festival and scaffolding around so we got to see her in her full glory.
We like to thankyou all who followed us on this journey and hope you are inspired to take a step outside your door and go and explore this world.
Do visit our YouTube channel as I am still posting videos of our walk.
We would really appreciate if you all would be so kind as to press the subscribe button and stay with us as we have many more journeys to come and are already planning the next.
Thanks again and happy trails to you all.
Day twenty seven of walking the St Olavsleden.
It’s our second last day on the trail and boy hasn’t that flown by! It’s hard to believe that we have almost walked the whole of this trail and that means we soon will have to fly home and go back to work
Finally Norway gave us a glorious day to walk in. No rain! Just sunshine with the occasional cooling cloud. This just made the walk so much more enjoyable and a whole lot more comfortable.
We had a very slow start today. We really both didn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry to hit the trail. Once we got going we were good. The first section was road as the trail made its way out to the countryside and forest. We were about 4 km in when a truck stopped on the road beside us. I’m thinking in my mind ‘what are you doing?’ Then next thing he rolls down his window and hands us a cold bottle of water each! Such a wonderful gesture. It really does bring home the fact there are people out there that do nice things just because they can and for no other reason. Thank you Mr truck driver, it was so wonderful to receive the water. You put a bounce in our step today.
Yesterday the book told us we need to stock up on supplies as there are no shops for a few days. There was a 4-5 km return detour to get to a town with a supermarket yesterday. We could not be bothered with that Mark checked the route for today on google maps to see if there was anything else and sure enough today’s route went past a detour of only 500m or 1km return. Much better.
We had a lot of forest and dirt trails today. I really loved the forest. It was challenging at times but so worth the effort. Lots of ups and downs, mud and slippery tree roots. Thick forests to ridge walking. It was very diverse. Loved it and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Day twenty six of walking the St. Olavsleden.
This is our 3rd last day of walking then we will be in Trondheim. Norway please stop with the rain while we finish walking. Again it rained on and off all day today, it was not meant to but it did. Not enjoying the rain now.
The walk was for the most part quite enjoyable once we got off the road and entered the forest. There was some boot sucking mud but no where near as much as the other day. The trail did have us working to get some amazing views at Hofstadhyllan where we sat for our lunch.
I really do enjoy the forest but it never last long, soon we were heading back down towards civilisation. We know we are getting closer to Trondheim as we had planes flying over us all day. We past the airport that is just near Stjordal not far from where we are staying.
Our accommodation is a hostel in a 17th century farm. They provided us with the most delish chicken soup and sweet biscuits.
Tomorrow we have our second last day as we get closer to the finish and I am really hoping for no rain.
Day twenty five of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Not many more days left to go on this trail now. With every step we are edging closer to Trondheim and we are thinking we might try to arrive in around 3 days time. It is always a bitter sweet time when you get closer to the end of journey. You are missing your family, friends and the luxuries that you take for granted normally but at the same time you want to keep going on your adventure and discovery. These journeys we have each year to discover a new country just come and go so quickly, however I am so grateful to have the chance to be able to explore our world and in the way that we do.
Today was to be cloudy, mmm it was just that and so much more. cloudy, windy and raining with spasmodic patches of sun for very short periods of time. It was cold as well. I was layered up to keep that chill factor at bay and lucky for us we found a picnic table at the side of the lake when the sun snuck out long enough to have a cuppa.
We didn’t have the mud like yesterday thankfully as we spent most the walk on dirt roads. We did get to see a deer this morning, no moose but more cows. This time the cows were safely behind fences.
Our stay was at a church hall and was very comfortable I have to say. There were folder beds in the hall and they actually were some of the most comfy beds we have had yet. There was also a very hot shower which I really appreciated as I was a bit of a drowned rat when I walked in. They also provide a boot dryer which was certainly needed after our slushing through muddy puddles in the rain all day. There was also kitchen so we could cook our dinner and we could buy a couple of beers to have with our dinner so we were just really happy pilgrims.
Today we walked to Borås and are staying in a great hostel, Borås gård, this is on a farm and apparently there is a memorial stone next to the farm. It’s in memory of two English bombers that were shot down in 1942 as they tried to get to the Swedish border. We will be sure to have a look tomorrow when it’s not raining so much.
Day twenty four of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Wet, wet, wet, mud, mud, mud, midges, midges, midges!
Oh it was a very wet day today. The rain started last night and pretty much didn’t let up for most the day. It was like pouring or belting down it was just constant between heavy drizzle and light drizzle. You know that really wet annoying rain.
Rain equals mud in the forests and we had most the day in the forest today. We both really enjoyed the trail it was great going and it really made us work for it. Up and down as we headed towards our destination of Markabygda.
The mud is that boot sucking mud and a few times we both managed to go almost ankle deep with one point Mark slipped and I thought he was going in. This did make for a challenging walk as it really can zap the energy from you as you are constantly trying to negotiate the terrain and not get stuck in the mud. Was fun 😆
I did see a moose today! I was so excited at first I didn’t get the camera out instead trying to let mark know as he was further back. I did manage a few quick pics before he scooted off. He looked like a juvenile. Further along a badger just wandered across the trail right in front. No picture as it happened so quickly and my camera was snuggly tucked away from the rain.
Speaking of animals twice I was ran at by first sheep then cows! Omg what is wrong with these guys. We were crossing a field and a sheep heard us and came up towards us making so much noise. She was telling us a big story I think. As we continued across the field more came to say hello then next thing I look up and they are all running towards me. 🤣🤣🤣🤣
The cows, well I like cows, just not in the same field. If there is a fence between us that’s good. As we crossed a very muddy, poopy field I was singing to them, bad move, they clearly like it and started following me. I’m calling Mark to wait up as the cows are following me and I did not like that one bit 😬 next thing more are coming and all following us getting closer, we got to the fence where we had to climb the steps out and as I started to go over I could here them running! Looked up and they were all running fast towards us. We certainly got over that fence real fast 😝😝😝 once safe on the other side we then talked to them and gave them pats. One was trying to get through the gate 😝😝I think he wanted to come to Trondheim with us.
Day twenty three of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Not too many days left of this trail and I have to say yesterday I wasn’t feeling it at all. Was just flat….even when I wrote my last post it took forever because I just couldn’t get excited by it. Yes the scenery was beautiful but there was nothing inspiring and the walking on the roads just really do get a bit much.
Today I’m back! Feeling the trail and feeling good, even though when we woke the weather was just rotten. Eeyore day for sure so we just took our sweet time at getting ready to leave. Went had breakfast and then slowly got sorted trying to get in the right mind set to walk in what was shaping up to be one very wet day.
Leaving a town, as any town, is just blah. It is usually just walking through busy streets trying to meander your way through to the out areas of the town then into the countryside. Today was no different, didn’t enjoy it but you just move and hope it isn’t too long to get out. It was raining as well so really not a bundle of joy, though as soon as we got out to the countryside it all changed.
The sun came out to play and the scenery was just really lovely and the trail was a great mix of country dirt roads and forest trails. There was quite a bit of ups and downs but we really didn’t mind.
What was fascinating was that the whole time I just felt like we were travelling in the wrong direction and when I told Mark he said he was glad he wasn’t the only one. In fact I think he had been thinking about it for awhile because he had come up with the conclusion that it may be because we had been travelling in a NW direction for the whole trip and now we are going SW. Makes sense.
Just before our end point for the day we came across the remains of an old cloister dating back to the 12 century. Now we are staying at Munkeby Herberge and this looks to be a really great place to stop. They have been accommodating pilgrims now for the past 10 years and have seen an huge growth in numbers come through. The first year they had around 15 pilgrims come through and last year over 300! Already this June the numbers are up from last year with only 19 last year in June and over 40 so far this year!
The owners Håkon and Sissel are very welcoming and offer different types of accommodation for your from shared to private, with or without food and they also have a kiosk. I would defiantly recommend a stop here as it has all you need including hot showers and kitchen facilities as well as a washing machine. The other thing is it is so much more reasonably priced compared to Vuku.
Day twenty two of walking the St. Olavsleden.
We had a short walk today as we walked from Vuku to Verdal, passing through Stiklestad. The morning started out with heavy mist that the sun burnt off very quickly giving us a glorious day. Last night it rained, rained and rained some more so we were really glad we pushed on to Vuku.
Our accommodation I have to say was very expensive for what you got. We stayed at the camping ground in a cabin and it cost 800NOK which is nearly $160AU. For that we got a cabin with the bare basics. No running water and a run through the rain to go to the toilet. We don’t mind basic that’s fine just don’t like paying ridiculous amount of money for basic. Tonight we are in a hotel for an extra $10AU and we get not only running water but a bathroom and fluffy towels with linen on the bed. The upside we were dry.
The walk today was quite a pleasant walk with nothing exciting to report. We arrived in Stiklestad just before 11 and got to spend some time looking around. Stiklestad is where King Olav was killed in battle back in 1030. Stiklestad has become a place since then that is an special place for pilgrims to visit with many starting their journey from here to Trondheim.
We are now on the final week of our journey as we get closer to Trondheim. The church had a stone marker just like the ones we saw each day on Gudbrandsdalen 3yrs ago. The stone markers tell you how many kms till you reach Nidaros in Trondheim. The funny thing about this was it said 119kms to go then around the corner the km sign for the walk said 134km, so in 50m we clearly walked backwards 15kms. 😝😝🤣🤣 we have noticed some of the km signs being a bit different so we really couldn’t say exactly the real distance.
Day twenty one of walking the St. Olavsleden.
What a fantastic campsite we had yesterday, it would have to be the prettiest one I have ever stayed at. It turned into a beautiful night with blue skies and the sun shining all night. Wasn’t till around 6am that it was darkest and only because we ended up with very heavy low cloud.
The walk was just full of beauty today and though cold the cloud lifted and the sun slowly warmed us up. For me the walk today would be my favourite so far. With so much interest in the landscape as we headed down the mountains into the valley below there was many rocky gorges and outcrops. It is hard to explain in words how pretty it was so we got Mo out to play and captured some beautiful footage. (Can’t upload till we get home as my I-pad hasn’t enough storage )
As the afternoon approached so did the weather. Clouds started to gather above and were looking quite mean. Next thing we are throwing on the wet weather gear as the clouds got darker then an earth shattering clap of thunder. We knew at that point we were around 4 kms from the road so we just kept moving and if no better by then rethink our nightly camping plans and perhaps head to the next town instead.
At one point I stopped under a tree to wait for mark to catch up and when he did he said look a deer. Sure enough there in front of us on the trail was mumma and her two babies. Now that was well worth getting wet for.
We got to the road and still raining so we stopped in a side trail to check the map and make the decision to either keep going and Wild camp with the hopes the rain will pass or look at heading into Vuku which was where we had planned to go tomorrow. As luck would have it our decision was made when a car came down the track and I opened the gate for them so they would not have to get out and they asked us where we were heading and could they help.
They couldn’t take us to Vuku but they could get us a little closer which we were very happy with and then we could walk the rest of the way. So glad we did as right now it is bucketing down outside and very cold.
Day twenty of walking the St. Olavsleden.
I looked out the window this morning and it was looking bleak, cold and positively gloomy. Our friend the Eeyore day looked like it was here to stay. As I sit typing this out it is a little after 7pm and the sun is shining with a beautiful hit of warm.
I was freezing this morning while walking and was thinking oh my tonight’s camping is just going to be very unpleasant. Once again it turns out different than you would expect. We have the most picturesque campsite I have ever stayed at. There is something mystical and very perfect about this spot.
Our hike was once again 12.5 km of tarmac! We were skirting around a lake so this made it a little more bearable but as it was so cold I felt like I was marching along once again. Around the 11km mark we arrived at an Inn called Skalstugan which was just the right place to stop for a good rest.
Now this place was not open as it doesn’t open till July and closes in a September before opening again for their winter season. We were fortunate that there were a few people working there getting it stocked up ready for the season and asked if we would need anything. Score! We not only got a stamp from them we were able to purchase food and drink for our walk. Just wonderful.
Not long after we finally turned off the road and on a dirt track. OMG now it feels like hiking. We are moving up in through the mountain range that separates Sweden and Norway. The landscape starts to change dramatically from what we have been experiencing. I do love the mountains, these are by no means high mountains but just a beautiful.
We soon found ourselves at the border of Sweden and Norway and the sun was shining as though she was welcoming us through. We spend a bit of time sitting there before heading on to camp. We had decided that we would get ourselves to a shelter that we saw on the map and if we felt good maybe walk on just a bit more.
We got to the shelter and it was perfect. It sat right next to a mountain stream and had picnic tables, a small open shelter and a toilet. We decided we were not going another step. The area was just really picture perfect with the mountains behind and more in front. A mini waterfall and stone bridge. We are happy little campers.
Day nineteen of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Last nights stay was definitely a surprise and one that really was the reward for a total march of a walk. The place was so comfortable and thanks to Nicolas who contacted us he told us how to get back to the trail without having to take the 2 km road back out. In the end it cut off 3 kms of road walk so we were happy with that.
Sadly today it was a total road walk or should I say march. Nothing of inspiration to make it any easier so it was just suck it up and get on with it. There were some lovely river views at times and when it came to lunch time we decided to explore down a track as we knew the river wasn’t too far off. Great move as it was just the perfect spot to stop and have a break. No road just the rushing of the water as it made its way past.
We passed a few stone arch bridges along the way showing where the old road use to be. Saw a big rabbit! I would say it was a hare. Many birds, tons of dancing butterflies and lots of motorbikes, campervans and cars. Oh and one bus
There really isn’t anything much more to say but we are glad to be at our stop and not still walking on the road. We are staying in a place called Medstugan and the views are just glorious of the lake Medstugusjön and the mountains of Norway!
Day eighteen of walking the St. Olavsleden
After a great rest day and loads of yummy food and drink we are off towards Norway. We should take around 2 days to the border and 10 days to get to Trondheim from here.
I won’t lie today felt like a march. It was not a interesting walk at all and most of the walk was on tarmac so it was not comfortable. The church in Duved was very beautiful and we did spend some time resting and chatting to other tourists.
We did pass some history along the way but we did not divert to go look at the monument, though it was interesting to know about it. It is in memory of more than 3000 soldiers that froze to death in a freak snow blizzard in the September of around 1718-1719. Another 700 died as they tried to reach the village of Duved.
The weather was to be sunny, mmm not for the most part. It was turning into a real Eeyore day with the gloomy drizzly rain again. It wasn’t until we reached the end that the sun came out to play.
Our aim for today was to go to see Sweden’s largest waterfall and stay there for the night. It is a 2km diversion but we figured it would be well worth the effort. We had tried to book accomodation at the Tännforsen Waterfall but found out in Åre the place had closed down so we decided to go anyway and camp.
As I always say you never know what each day is going to give you and today it gave us a bit of icing to put on the boring cake of a day we had. On arriving the sun came out. 👏🏻👏🏻 Mark received a email back from the accommodation we tried to book and they had said even though the place is closed down the pilgrims house is still in use. The house is just perfect with two rooms with bunk beds for 4 in each room, a kitchen, lounge, bathroom and even a washing machine. How good is that! 😆
We off loaded our gear at the pilgrims shelter and then went on to explore the waterfall. It was very impressive and yes we got Mo (drone) out to play 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Day seventeen of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Today is our rest day! We decided after sixteen days of walking we need to just stop and have a rest day and we picked the perfect spot to do that. Åre is a ski resort village and the perfect place to just chill out. Unfortunately for us we are early in the summer season and most places here doesn’t open till the end of June. We would have loved to take the train ride up the mountain and do a few things but not to be.
We spent the day exploring a little bit then just resting, eating and catching up on other stuff. Tomorrow we head off again towards the border of Norway and through the mountains.
Day sixteen of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Slow start mostly because breakfast wasn’t till 8am but also cause it was cold outside. 😆😆 it’s hard to take that step through the door when you are toasty warm inside and you know it’s cold out.
Once moving we were fine and within the first 1 – 2 km we were glad we did get going because all I can say is WOW. We were treated to such an awesome display of raging water of the river Indalsälven. She was raging with such powerful force and was captivating to watch. Apparently the larger waterfall has a cave behind that can only be accessed when the falls have frozen. They certainly were not frozen today.
Last night we decided to explore the little pilgrims church at Hållandsgården and I have to say it’s the cutest little church I have ever seen. The owner said they built it themselves using wood from very old barns. They did a great job and it was nice and cosy inside with huge fur rugs to sit on. All the detail within looked to be hand made and the wood hand carved. So glad we had the chance to check it out. The stay last night was great and the food was just what we needed, yummy home cooked food. 😋
The trail today did not give too much road which was great. More forest trails and paddocks. One paddock we went through there was an electric fence we needed to crawl under in the mud as there was not way over. We had to do that twice, one at each end of the paddock. Not sure how the horses get through as we were following many horse tracks today.
The weather just got more and more wild as the day went on. It’s cold 😂😫😫we are now staying in Åre for two days so we can have a rest day. First one since starting 16 days ago so think we need it. 😝
Day fifteen of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Another great stay last night in Mörsil. We left feeling more rested and ready for the day ahead. The weather for us today was just perfect hiking weather. Not cold, not hot, just right. 😝
The route leaving had us cross straight over the E14, which again we will be following alongside pretty much the whole day. We had lots more forest trails today and less road which made the walk far more pleasant and less painful on the body.
We came across a great pilgrim accommodation about 4.5kms along. It’s on someone’s property and it’s a trailer set up with bathroom, kitchen/lounge and bunk beds for about 6. Outside is a notice board where they encourage you to put your name and where you are from. There also is wifi. Looks to be by donation too. Worth remembering it is there is you are coming through and couldn’t get accommodation in Mörsil.
Lunch time we arrived in the town of Järpen, great place to stop for lunch as there actually had a lot of shops, restaurants,cafes and the important pharmacy for more supply’s. I even counted 3 supermarkets! The great thing was they were all open 😀
We also saw another pilgrim, though we didn’t know she was at first as we walked through the town she waved at us. I waved back but then saw a car that was parked behind me take off and I thought it’s one of those embarrassing moments where you think someone is waving at you but they are really waving at the person behind. 🤣
Later when we were resting at the Undersåker medieval church ruins the same lady came along. Marie is walking the trail as well and is from Stockholm here in Sweden. It’s always great to see others out enjoying the trail. Sadly we probably won’t see her again as she is walking very long kms and for us we are keeping or kms low.
Not much further along we made our accommodation at Hållandsgården’s Pilgrim center. This is a family run Hotel and were welcomed by Elizabeth. (Sorry couldn’t spell your Swedish name). They have lovely gardens, which I’m keen to explore after dinner, and in the gardens looks to be the cutest little church. It is modelled after a medieval Stave church
Day fourteen of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Interesting day I must say! We had a restful night though we are still so tired. Think a day off is brewing so in around 2 days we will be in the large town of Äre and that will be just before we hit the mountains and there will be no shops for days.
Today not long into our walk we came across a house (trail goes straight through the yard) and a elderly man came out to welcome us. He was waving his arms to motion us closer saying coffee. Now how can one refuse such an offer 😝
This mans name is Birger, he speaks little English and we were having a bit of difficulty understanding everything he was saying. He sat us down and hurried back inside and can out with his arms loaded with his scrap book, papers and photos, a coffee jar and flask of water.
He was so excited to have us stop and just wanted to share all his stories and photos. He seemed a proud man telling us he has three children and five grandchildren also we are gathering some great grand children as well. One granddaughter living in Sydney Australia.
We apparently are his first ever Aussies to stop and visit with him. He keeps a record of all the countries that come through. He also want you to take lots of photos and send them to him. He has a lot of photos from many pilgrims.
We finally managed to explain we need to keep walking and he said he will get car and see us in 1km. 😝 sure enough there is a toot of a horn as we are walking down the road and it’s him wanting to be sure we made it too the next stamping place. This was at a historical stone monument which commemorates Norway and Sweden coming together in 1809. This was when they signed an armistice. A very interesting character indeed.
The rest of the day was more forest and you guest again tarmac. 😜 the forests provided relief for the feet and a bit of respite from the sun as it was a beautiful sunny day.
We arrived in Mörsil tired and ready to just eat and sleep and arriving at our accommodation they had put out the Australian flag for us. 👏🏻👏🏻 Thank ouTomorrow we get closer to those mountains and we are told the walk over the nedn anKirstext few days is quite a beautiful part with many waterfalls to see. Ca n’t wait. 😆👣👣👣
D enny thirteen of walking the St. Olavsleden.
If you are coming along the trail and enter into Nälden do consider looking up Allen and Helene (they are in the book and on the website for St. Olavsleden ) and are great hosts to stay with. We were so comfortable and they really make you feel at home.
Allen is full of a lot of local information and was wonderful to here the stories of the area. This morning he drove us back to the trail and showed us places along the way which really makes it interesting to learn about. Thank you both we really loved our visit and had a magnificent stay with you.
Once we were back on track and walking we had a large amount of our friend the tarmac 😫😫 the pain did end when we finally turned off onto a dirt road and then trails in the forest. I have to say this forest bit has been my favourite so far. It was really peaceful, not too many mozzies and pretty.
We also went through some fields and paddocks, though the cows weren’t home they left a lot of mess for us to walk through. Thanks cows. I did also see some bear poop as well. First bit for the trip, I have been looking for them along with the moose and deer but not seen them. We think we also saw moose poop but I’m not too sure on what it looks like. We also saw some deer poop but it was not fresh either. That’s it for my poop talk. 😝
More history along this section, if you love the history of an area on a trail you are not short of any on this trail. They really have put the effort in to sign posting areas of interest. Not all signs we can read as they are not always in English but if you have the book you often find it written in there too.
Just some of the history we past today was the trapping pits that date back to the Stone Age. This were deep pits dug out with a spear in the middle then covered over with foliage, they would block off the path either side so to herd the moose etc to the pit.
Another historical site was an outdoor museum that shows how the hunters and gatherers would live, then further along were the 6000 year old rock carvings. These were truely impressive.
Lunch time we came across a place called Wangens, a breeding centre for North-Sweden stallions. This was great as there is a restaurant open every day so of coarse we stopped.
Today when we left Nälden we had not booked anywhere to stay as we could not find a place available. We decided to push through to get to where there was a lake and pitch the tents knowing tomorrow night we will be in a town.
About 2 kms before we planned to camp we came across a picnic table so we decided to to take a moment and rest before the final push. Great call! It happened to be outside of the very place we tried to book but they were not taking anyone at this time as the lady was away. Her husband saw us resting and came over and asked how we were going and where are we staying. We told him and he said he would be happy for us to stay in the accommodation even though his wife was away. We of course never knock back an opportunity like this so we are not camping but staying in a unit and guess what? It had a massive bath! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Day twelve of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Can’t believe it is day 12 already, it is just going so fast and I want it to slow down. We past a sign today saying 329.5 km to go, and I said to Mark that’s not far I don’t want it to end so we should walk from Trondheim down to Oslo 😂🤣🤣🤣🤣 unfortunately we can not as we have flights home and need to work some more to pay for it. Damn I hate that 😝
Last night we found a great place to camp beside a lake and it was just perfect and peaceful. During the night we had two thunderstorms and lots of rain pass over us, the weatherman said no rain till next Friday, he lied 😩
We were safely snuggled up in our tents when the first lot came though around 11 pm. It’s so strange because I looked out the door of my tent when I heard the rain and it was still daylight, so I took a photo of Marks tent. By the morning the rain and storms had cleared and our tents kept us very dry so we were happy campers.
We didn’t really have a plan so much today other than we will just walk and see what happens. We knew there was a town around 10 kms or so ahead and then when we arrive there we will look at what to do. We had been trying to get accomodation further along but not successful and the section for the next few days there is not any shops, and little in the way of accommodation etc.
Sitting outside the local supermarket we had lunch then decided we either continue another 20 kms or we stop here. We stopped and got some accommodation with a really lovely couple, Allen and Helene.
As we were strolling along today we stopped at one high point and looked back from where we had come from and wow. I didn’t realise there were mountains behind as we were low down and the clouds were covering them. Not today, they were standing there with the white tips on and the sun shining over them. It make me excited as we are heading towards some mountains in a few days time.
There was more forest today and yes our friend (not) the tarmac and again we were chased by the mosquitos. I am amazing we made it our alive! Those mozzies I swear are like monsters in a horror film.
I was really hoping for some deer and even a bear or two but not, lots of cows though and when Mark went to say hello to them they all ran away but when I came over to say hello they literally run to me! 🤣🤣🤣it was hilarious. Two even gave me licks. I think because Mark was telling them I was their queen 😂😂 such a silly boy.
When we arrived at our accommodation for the night the sky opened up and came gushing down! We could not believe how lucky we were not to get caught. So we will rest up and then see what tomorrow brings.
Day eleven of walking the St. Olavsleden.
It’s been a great day today considering how leaving a city can be unpleasant at the best of times as you have to walk through the city streets and out past the suburbs to get to the more rural landscape. We decided that we will avoid this and take the bus out of the city to avoid having to do that. Great plan it and it certainly made for afar more enjoyable walk.
Leaving Ostersund you walk through the lower part of the city, across a walk bridge and onto the island of Froson. This island has quite some history with it and again along the way you come to sign posts telling you all about it.
Our book did suggest a detour to see the northern most rune stone dating as far back as 1030. Apparently there is even a castle on this island that dates back to the late 300’s!
If you are a lover of birds there is many to be seen or heard and in one section the book said there are beavers, we didn’t spot any of those. The Froso Church was where we collected out first stamp for the day, this church dates back to the 12th century. The patron saint to this Church was St. Olav. There is a lot more to this church and its history but it would take too long to write about. Again we didn’t get to go inside as it was locked.
Further along the island you past some buildings for the historical society including an old school house, library and a cafe. Cafe was you guest it, closed! Nothing really opens early here, usually after 10am or in this case 12noon.
We continued on passing the airport and then came a man by the name of Andes, (hope I spelt your name right.) he was a delight to meet and a true surprise as we were walking past where he worked he came over to say hi. It turns out he has not only walked this trail 3 times, he has walked many of the other pilgrimage trails throughout the world and he was one of the people involved in mapping out this trail! So you can imagine his excitement to see people walking a trail he was involved with from the beginning.
I was thrilled to have met him and found him to be a very interesting person to listen too, so I recorded an interviewed with him and I hope to put that interview in my YouTube films. Keep an eye out for that.
Having met him really did put a spring in my step which I was glad for as I was starting to get frustrated with the road walking and my feet were feeling like I was just dragging them along.
After crossing the bridge to get off the island we kept on walking a mix of roads, dirt roads and fields eventually turning along a dirt road that took us to a lovely place beside lake Storsjon. This was were decided we needed to stop and camp for the night. Just a perfect location with the most beautiful evening weather.
Day ten of walking the St. Olavsleden.
After a long day yesterday we were slow at getting moving today. We were not too worried as we knew we did not have quite a long day and also we left a lot of our gear in the hotel we are staying at so we walked with light packs.
After a great big breakfast we headed back to where we ended yesterday by catching a bus then we walked back to our accommodation in Ostersund.
The walk was not an exciting one but the views were pretty and you do walk though an area with a fair amount of history, some even dating back the the prehistoric period. Again there are sign boards found along the way giving you a brief run down of the area you are walking through. I think when you read some of these signs you then look at an area in a different way, rather than just walking through you actually stop and think about the time and what it may have been like.
It’s very easy flat walking as you are mostly walking alongside the large lake of Lake Storsjon. There are so many places to stop, rest and contemplate the world on this day so even though it isn’t so remote and just a easy stroll i suggest take the time to slow down and stop occasionally by the lake and enjoy. Remember Ostersund isn’t going anywhere 🤣😝
There were meant to be many orchids through this section but I think it’s just a little early in the season as we couldn’t see any.
Today is end of school for the kids here in Sweden and they are out celebrating this. As we approached Ostersund we could hear the very loud music being played by large speakers on the back of truck filled with many very happy and excited teens. They really were celebrating as many trucks were decorated and filled with students on parade though town. I believe this is done every year with the graduating year enjoying the end of their schooling. It was fun to watch and I think there will be many sore heads in the morning. 😆😆😆
Day nine of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Today we are heading towards a place called Brunflo. We will once we arrive there get on a train and head up to Ostersund then in the morning go back to Brunflo to walk to Ostersund. This is because there is nowhere available to stay and there are thunderstorms tonight so camping a no go.
If you are heading through Pilgrimstad there is a wonderful hostel Vandrarhem and the lady was just so welcoming. We were not expecting a meal as we stocked up earlier but on arriving she asked if we wanted dinner and breakfast in the morning. Of course! She cooked a delish home made veggie soup, fresh bread followed by yummy goulash and veggies with chocolate cake for desert. Perfect.
Today is National Sweden Day! Happy National Day Sweden. They have the first real warm day to with the sun coming out to play. All day, as it is a holiday, we were meeting people who were out and about just enjoying their time in the sun. This was for us really delightful as we got to talk to a lot of locals who were all happy to see us walking the trail. Many stopping us to offer cold water, which was a blessing as it was quite warm. We find that the Swedish are just really nice happy people, and very friendly. When the trail goes onto a road the drivers are all, and I do mean all, very respectful by slowing right down giving us a wide berth and not to splash us with puddles or flick stones up. Thank you we do appreciate this.
This trail atm still seems to be a lot of dirt country roads and tarmac with a few forest trails and as I have said before it’s not always ideal but at least the surrounds are extremely peaceful and just pretty to look at.
Today is no exception to that as it was a day of lakes. We were weaving our way through an area with many lakes and the views were just pretty. Not so many mozzies today but they were still trying to eat us. 😝
There were also many nice places to just stop and rest and we found a great place just after Linehall to do just that. After going past the lakes you come to a place called Slatte. Here is another pilgrims stamp but just before that on the side of a barn is a tap and a sign for the pilgrims to let us know this is fresh spring water for us. Such a nice jester from the farmer.
The last part walking into Brunflo was on a larger country road, very little cars, and we had the thunderstorm (that was meant to come later) chase us along. The sky got dark and gloomy, the air warmed up and the clouds just kept on grumbling. Seriously I don’t know what they were grumbling about we were the ones that had sore feet. 😝😝👣👣
Once we arrived at the church (up on the hill) we got our stamp and then rested awhile before heading down the hill to the train station. Luckily we caught the final train to Ostersund and when we arrived we run into our fellow pilgrim Jos sitting at a restaurant drinking a cold beer we could not help but join him.
Day eight of walking the St. Olavsleden
Today was a bit longer than we thought it was to be and a wee bit more challenging than we expected. It’s funny how you can think a day should play out before you take off then the days journey evolves and it was not at all how you imagined. This was today. We thought we would have a slower, shorter day and easy going. It turned out longer, and it was not the easy stroll I imagined.
Started off good and so we did not rush just took our time. We arrived at Revsund Church. Before we left Gallo we were approached by young man who works for the church in Gallo and asked if we were pilgrims and would we like him to arrange to have the Church in Revsund unlocked for us to look through. It was very lovely of him to arrange that as we have found all the churches so far to be locked.
This church was built back in 1876, replacing the medieval church that dated back to the 1200s. There is quite a bit of history to be found here so if you are fortunate to have the church open then spend some time exploring.
Shortly after leaving the church you come to a turn where hikers will turn right and bikes and horses go straight ahead. This is where I would recommend if the weather is very bad to be extremely careful through this section. It starts out just on a farm dirt road which is great then it turns and heads into the forest. This is where it changes. I love the forest and at first it was great, I was loving it till the attack of mosquitos! Not a few, hundreds as the trail made its way deeper into the forest and closer to the lake.
It also became very narrow and rough with many slippery roots under foot that you could not see through the swarm of mozzies. This went for seemed an eternity. The forest felt like the never ending forest. It probably isn’t as bad as it felt if there were no mossies chasing you 😝😝 we survived, my hiking pole did sadly become a victim to the forest.
Near the end of that section we stumbled across a cabin which ordinarily would have be a great place to rest but we needed to keep moving in order not to be eaten alive. We then came to a cave that apparently had an outlaw living there at one time but again we did not explore as we really needed to keep going. Soon after finally came to a clearing and there was a bench seat waiting for us to sit on. From here there was around 3kms left. We are staying at Pilgrimstad Vandrarhem. We were surprised that we could order food and get breakfast as we were had heard that there would be nothing for two days. Bonus
Day seven of walking the St. Olavsleden.
Today was a glorious day to say the least. The sun was on our side and shining while occasionally slipping behind the odd cloud our two to give you a little reprieve.
It was funny to think that one week ago it was snowing here.
We met a lot of locals walking their dogs on our way out of town and they were all very interested in what we were up too. Many saying how they are very interested in walking the trail themselves. I really hope they do.
Such a beautiful place as you are walking past many lakes though most of today was road so it really was hard on our feet. We found that the sun and the views really forgave the hard road walking. The roads however were more just very quiet country roads where the sound of a car would startle you as there were very few.
Something we did enjoy as well was the sign boards that are placed along the way giving you a brief description of the history of the area you are walking. Some (most) a bit gruesome in the tales, but really do give you a better understanding of where you are and why a place is named.
When we were around 3 kms from our destination we came across a place called Slattviken which is a picnic and swimming area. There was a shelter and bench seats which gave us a chance to just spend a minute to rest. We also put our feet in the freezing cold water to help revive. I do believe this helped as my feet screamed at first but made it comfortably into town.
We are staying at Viking Camping in Gallo and I can certainly recommend anyone who is walking to stop here. The place is just beautiful and sits on a lake that looks like it is in a National Geographic movie. The staff here are really welcoming making sure we were comfortable and cooked us a fantastic Salmon dinner followed by ice cream with raspberry topping. Mark was in heaven with the ice cream, he even finished mine 😆
Day 6 of hiking the St. Olavsleden.
It’s another Eeyore day today. Gloomy and wet.
Staying at the pilgrim accomodation at Lombacken I would say is a must! So very comfy and Karstin is really welcoming to all. We we very fortunate to have found this place as we were going to camp further along and if we did we would have woken to the rain and be packing up a wet tent.
The walk itself was quite fine. No where as lovely as yesterday but not too bad. We had more forest again though mostly on old forest roads. You know that the main highway E14 is close and sometimes quite close but funny enough you really don’t feel like it with the forest all around.
We collected 4 stamps today! At this rate we will have to get another passport each for all these stamps! One stamp we did pick up was at this lake called Harrisjon. Here hidden within the tall pines next to the lake was a pilgrim shelter. Such a cute little A frame wooden hut that is very basic but gives any weary hiker and chance to rest. You can stay here for a night but do be aware you will need a sleeping bag and mat as there are no beds. There is a campfire and benches around it with stunning views of the lake. If like us you are passing but don’t need a place to sleep just stop for a minute and enjoy. We were happy to get to it as it hardened really stopped raining and it gave us a dry place to sit and have lunch.
After our lunch we basically walked mostly on forest roads and found the last 6kms to just keep on and on and on. We managed to move along well and was happy to arrive in to Bracke. We did not know where we were staying. We had emailed ahead and rang a few times with no response so figured we would just rock up at a place and hope for the best. As it turned out there was one room left in the hotel so that’s where we are staying.
I have now had a few people ask about what we are doing for food. We are carrying some food and when in towns we will either eat out or go to the supermarket and get some food to cook up. It depends where we sleep. If the accommodation has a kitchen we will most likely cook, if not we will eat at a local restaurant. As for the rest we are carrying packet soups, as we tend to have a soup for lunch each day along with a bun. We also have some dried sausages which I love in the bun with some avocado mayonnaise. We have some rice mix as well. Mexican flavour at the moment. We mixed our dehydrated chilli with the rice last night and it was delish.
We try to find in the supermarkets food that is easy, lightweight and as healthy as we can get so we are feeding our bodies the nutrients it needs. We also get fresh fruit each town and as for breakfast we try for a yogurt and cut up fresh fruit in it or if not we go for a muesli bar of sorts. Also I carry my coffee too. I have fresh plunger coffee as my cup is also a plunger.
If anyone reading this wants to know any other specific they you would like to know please flick us a message.
Day Five of hiking the St. Olavsleden.
Let’s sum up today’s walk in two words satisfying and enjoyable. It was a great day as the sun was out all day and the wind was not blowing hard just pleasantly. We also got to walk through a lot more forest, so this for me is wonderful. I love being in nature and having it all around. As on any long distance hiking trail you will get some amount of road walking, it is unavoidable, but what makes up for it for me is time spent on the trails through the forests and bush with nothing but nature surrounding you.
Along the trail today we had more history of the area as well as more of the St. Olav history too. Just on the outskirts of town is the Borgsjo Church dating back to 1772 and built in the Rococo Style. Within the church there is two St. Olav sculptures. Sadly the church was not opened so we did not get to see this or collect our stamps.
You also nearby have the remains of some trenches built for defence dating back to the early 1600s. You will also see some other old buildings of the sort including an old Inn. Again none of these were open so we didn’t get to explore.
After a lovely stroll through a forested area you come to the next St. Olav Spring. This one was well set out with the spring surrounded by a wooden structure and you also have a wooden box with a stamp for your passport and a note book to write in. They have also provided bench seats with a picnic table as well as a toilet. When St. Olav created this spring, again but stamping his staff on the ground, he also created a cauldron holding water for his thirsty horse. It is said he did this by sitting on a large stone and created a bowl. The stone has a near perfect circle with the water in it. The spring water was icy cold and fresh.
From here the rest of the day’s walk was just pleasant to say the least. We walk through mostly forest and had some hills to climb up which made a great change from the flat walking we have done so far. Noticed too there are many more places to just stop, sit and enjoy the surrounds as there are many park benches and picnic table along this section.
We were reaching our last 5 or so kms for the day when we got to some buildings in a village of Lombacken. Now they call it a village but no one really lives here from what we can see. There are no shops just buildings and mostly farm sheds. We stopped at what we thought was a place to stamp our pilgrims passport and get water. It was abandoned and stamp box to be seen. There was a picnic table so we took the opportunity to have a rest before the final push.
As we were resting a small white van went past and the lady waved, then a blue tractor went past too, we didn’t think anything of it. We took off again and seriously not more than 500m down the road we see the white van and blue tractor. They were working on the pilgrims rest stop (the one we thought we were at but weren’t 😂). There was the shelter with a picnic table and stamp box.
The amazing thing about this was that we got to meet Karstiu and her husband who volunteer not only their time and energy to helping with the trail but also their land. They have got two pilgrim shelters available for people to stay in, one has two beds and the other is currently being constructed and will have a further 6 beds. They have set up the area so well with the nicest outdoor toilet I’ve seen. A composting toilet (doesn’t smell) and a bowl with a bit of soapy water and forest water too.
They have also set up a picnic area with a Weber for you to have a small fire for cooking or like us to just enjoy. The shelter has two beds a table and chairs and a small kitchenette. There is no running water or electricity but the sun in the summer stays up for a good 18hrs and there is a river near by with a seating area and if you can brave to icy cold water you could hop in for a bath. I didn’t. 😆
We had two cans of beer in our packs so they went into the river to cool off and then be enjoyed with some crisps we were carrying as well. Finished the night off with a campfire and chilli con carne with rice and toasted bread. Just perfect.
Day four of hiking the St. Olavsleden.
Torpshammar to Borgsjo and I had in my mind that it was to be a shorter day than what is was in distance 😝 oops. Had in my head for some reason that the 1st town stop was only a mere 5 kms and then coffee time! Well 5 kms came and went and no coffee 😫 it was closer to 10kms and the silly thing is the sign even told me. Sometimes your mind likes to make up what it wants 🤣
It was a warm and toasty stay in Torpshammar. We decided to stay at the hotel and found it very comfy. Breakfast was included which is always a good thing. Woke up with swollen feet 😝😝😝 I looked at them and though they are not my feet 🤣 we will just see how they go.
It was a wee bit chilly this morning. One lady told me it was -3c so yes a bit chilly and cloudy but no wind like yesterday so that’s a bonus. The walk out of town was really pleasant, the birds were singing and the world was still, no busy roads just a dirt road. Beautiful lush green surrounds, paddocks with cute horses and noisy cows. Just nice.
For the 10 kms to Fransta it pretty much was like that. Just pleasant walking with no issues at all. Right before arriving into Fransta the clouds that had been looming over us decided not to wait for us to get to shelter and just start it’s drizzly rain. 😩 rain I don’t mind, drizzly rain is just miserable. It’s like nature isn’t crying it’s just whinging and being grumpy making everyone around feel the same. 😆 I call these days the Eeyore day’s. Just gloomy.
In Fransta we decide we need to cut a few kms. So where we were was pretty much our last chance to jump on the train before the trail veers away so two stops down few kms cut and then the final 3 km to town. Made for a shorter hike day but sitting here now in Borgsjo looking out at the Eeyore day I’m pretty glad we did. Tomorrow and hopefully for the week ahead sunshine.
Day three of hiking the St. Olavsleden.
What a wonderful day! After yesterday’s long walk I promised my foot I would be nice and only do a short day so we did around 17 kms. It was just the right amount or my foot must have known we were nearly done because it cried the last 1km is so. We are now staying in Torpshammar at a hotel and it is great to get in early and do a bit of housework like washing some stinky clothes.
The day started really sunny but freezing cold. There was a constant wind just ripping through my body.
As we walked in some of the open areas we were just being blown away. Bit of a shame as I was hoping to get Mo (my drone) out for a play but she probably would have been blown all the way back to Australia in that wind 😆😆
Foot held out better than I thought but it was a surprising mix of road, dirt road and forest. The forest is where I’m happy and my feet are happy. The forest not only gave our feet a softer ground to walk it also gave us a reprieve from the icy wind.
Not far from our end point we stumbled across a place called Boda BORG. It was a surprise as we didn’t really expect it. We knew there was a mansion dating back to the early 1900s and is possible to stay there but didn’t know out this other building that is in Boda Borg and is also an old asylum house now turned into a fun house.
What got our attention was the flags sticking outside of the building. Where you see these type of flags you know there is a shop to grab a drink and food. When we arrived we saw many kids running around so we though it was a school but then I saw a coffee machine and realise it was a museum or something and the kids are on an excursion.
We went and was immediately greeted by Stefan who saw we were pilgrims and grabbed his stamp ready for our pilgrim passports. We were curious to what this place was so he explained it used to be an old asylum but now it’s a fun place for everyone to come and enjoy. There are 22 quests (puzzle rooms) and nearly 100 rooms. The quests are puzzled of sort, some mind some physical or both and in order to leave the room you need to solve the puzzle.
Stephan took us through 3 of the rooms and it was so much fun. We had to solve how do we best get to tennis balls into a baby potty. 😆 then work out the puzzle on the link room by hold hands then hit the green lights with the basket balls. So much fun to break up the day of walking, and we got a coffee and hotdog too. If you are walking this trail do pop in and say hi to the guys, get your stamp and have some fun.
From there it was just a few kms to our destination and an earlier finish to the day. No excuses for us not to do laundry now 😜
Day two of hiking the St. Olavsleden.
Stayed in Matfors and had a great sleep but terrible food. Tried to be healthy and chose the restaurant over the take away but in this case the pizza or even kabab would have been a better choice. The only restaurant was not very nice at all. The staff were great and friendly enough but food mmm. Anyway tonight we are cooking our own. Yummy tacos and salad.
Leaving Matfors we were heading through town and following the signs when Mark stopped and felt it wasn’t right, even though he stopped at a sign. Whenever you hike I always think you must listen to that inner voice and double check. Well just as well he listened as the signs were old signs or just wrong and we actually was meant to turn earlier. We are not great at backtracking so we checked the map and worked out how to intersect the trail further on. It did take us up and embankment as the road we wanted was the bridge going over the top and no access to it so up the side we went. 😆😆
After getting on the track then it basically was the same one the whole way today. The trail was road and dirt road so quite hard on the feet esp as it was just under 30km. My injured foot is really hating me tonight. Have to promise to be a bit nicer to it. 😜
Mark found a frog.
The walk did give us some quite beautiful scenery and very few cars which was great. We were walking on the southside of a river and then lake Skodesjon. We couldn’t see the water all the time as we were walking higher up for the most part through farms and forests but when the lake showed herself it was beautiful.
We found a great place to stop for lunch right beside the lake. It was a swimming area with picnic tables and shelter. We did not however swim it was freezing 😜
The rest of the day did feel long esp as my foot wasn’t happy, then the drizzly rain came and set itself in. Was really glad to see the sign for Stode and the campground. All fed and showered and I think bed ready for tomorrow.
Day 1 of hiking the St. Olavsleden.
Day one done! We had a great day and all seasons in one day! In fact all seasons at times in a space of 10 mins! We started with the day bright and looking quite lovely and fresh. 1.5 kms later the cloud came over and the wind picked up with the temp dropping fast and the distant rumbles of thunder. 2 mins later the wind got stronger, it was bitterly cold and the rain came down turning into ice. It happened so fast and 10 mins later it was good again. That was the story for the weather all day, on and off like a light switch.
The walk itself was relatively comfortable with no great ascends or descends to do. The trail was mostly a combination of road and dirt paths with a little forest trail.
We enjoyed taking it slowly and explored a bit. At the beginning the trail started at the ruins of the old church in Selanger. This is near the place where King Olav had first returned back in 1030 after living in exile in Russia, then made his way back towards his homeland of Trondheim Norway. A thousand years ago this area was an important bay that was used as a trade port. Now the bay and port have all lvanished as this area of land has been rising at the rate of 7 millilitres per year!
From the church ruins we then headed up towards the newer church (built in 1781) and we were on our way. Not far along was where I had mentioned the fast weather change. As the wind was blowing at a fast rate it just blew the weather away quickly, and blew it in just as quick.
We decided to have ourselves a short break on a rock beside a farmyard when the farmer drove up in his tractor and told us to go another 300m to get water. We did and as we walked there was a lady in a car heading towards us then quickly did a you turn and drove away to another farmhouse. Mark was blaming me for her quick departure saying I just look scary. He is so mean 😆
As it turns out she was on her way to the shops when she saw us and quickly went home to let her husband know that there were pilgrims heading his way. As we approached he had two flags at his letter box. One was Swedish and the other Australian.
They have a place for pilgrims to stop and have a rest. Tommy was so delightful and came straight out to greet us. He apparently knew two Aussie pilgrims were coming as he had seen it on Facebook. Thank you Tommy I know you will be seeing this post, you do a great job and really made our day.
Tommy made us a really good tasting cup of coffee and a yummy sandwich. He has been greeting pilgrims now for the last 4 years and had lots to tell us about all who have been through over this time I love too that he is a statistic man, keeping the stats on the past 4years. He has records of all the countries, the distance in which they tend to travel and whether they were male or female, walking or cycling, with a dog or horse and so on. It was interesting to see and girls we are walking this trail more than the fellas!
Here is some of the statistics that Tommy has collected.
Number of pilgrims each year.
2014 – 14
2015 – 56
2016 – 112
2017 – 248
2018 – 268
You can see the numbers are rising and today we were number 16 and 17 so far for the year. The busiest month of the year is always July so it will be great to see what the stats are by the end of the year.
The rest of the day was pretty much the same as the first but with a bit more forest walking. Mark thought he saw an anteater but then we saw anther one in the distance and it looked more like a badger or wolverine. It’s exciting to see wildlife and as we move away from civilisation we hopefully will see more.
When we were nearly finished walking for the day we took a 3 km detour to go to the first of the St. Olav’s springs. Legend has it the King Olav had stamped his staff onto the ground in this very stop creating a spring. It is said he had done this on various sections along the way. The water from the spring is also said to hold magical healing powers. I tried some and really hope by morning my foot that I injured a month ago heals 😝
Tonight we are staying in Matfors in a small cabin by the lake. Time to sleep and rest up for tomorrow.
Day 3 Happy Tourist and time to get that adventure on!
Today we decided to hang around for 1/2 a day more to explore Stockholm as we just had the best time yesterday and this city really deserves more than 24hrs of your time. So we did more exploring with the hop on hop off bus and walking through old town discovering new sights.
One sight that really has me fascinated and smiling are the Randoms. Throughout the city you see scooters and bikes that you can hire via an app and you can get around on it for however long you need to.
It seems that once you have finished using it you just simply hop off and walk away leaving it where ever you want and most are just in random spots. There doesn’t seem to be dedicated places that you pick up and drop off from so I called these hundreds (not kidding) of scooters that are just left anywhere Randoms.
After our last explore we headed off to the train station to try and make our way further north closer to the starting point of our hike. This was a 3 1/2 hours train ride and once we bought the tickets we realised we had 3 mins to find the platform which ended up being on the other side of the station 😝 oh my running with a full pack is not fun and certainly not great with my still injured foot but we made the train 🤣 just.
When we arrived here in Sundsvall we started to get that excitement happening as we saw our first trail marker just outside of the train station. Any hiker who are about to start on a big hike like this knows that sense of excitement spotting the first trail marker. It makes is seem so much more real and for us more so as these are the same symbols on the trail markers we followed in Norway from Oslo to Trondheim back in 2016. For us we get that feel of familiarity. This trail is part of a network of 7 different trails that all end in Trondheim.
Walking into town as we do in all new towns is head straight for the tourist centre. We were not too sure if they had opened the one in Selanger yet so decided to get our first stamp here. The stamps are what we will collect along the way, these get stamped into what one would call a pilgrims passport and it is to show you have travelled the way of the route. If you have followed us on some of our other hikes we have done this before on some of them, its fun.
So now we had a big yummy dinner at the local pub and it’s time to just sleep ready to get up and going tomorrow. Can’t wait.
Watch our YouTube video here
Day two Playing ‘Happy Tourist’
How does one see Stockholm in one day! Well you can but to experience Stockholm I believe you need so much more time. Time we are short on as we do have a very long walk ahead of us but we refuse to not try our hardest at experiencing this city in the best possible way.
The start was big breakfast 😆 Need fuel to manage our way through what potentially looks to be a massive day ahead. With daylight being around 18 hrs here in June it gives you longer days and more time for exploring. So well fed and ready to start we headed off towards Gamlastan or known as Old Town.
Stockholm sits on the edge of the Baltic Sea and is made up of 14 islands. Walking through Old Town you really do get that medieval feel from the narrow cobblestone roads and wonky buildings. Stockholm has apparently the largest and best preserved medieval buildings in Europe. I find that amazing considering the islands that form this place move up to 2mm per year!
Old town is well worth the walk around, if you want to enter the many stores then plan to go later in the morning as many didn’t open till after 9 or even 10am. Once we explored as much as we could on foot we then got the ‘hop on hop off’ passes for the bus and boat rides along with passes to the museums.
Now I have to say Sweden really know how to do museums well. You have so many to choose from and to be honest you can get “museum’d out” trying to take it all in. We only chose a few to focus on, the ones that we felt would interest us, having done some research before leaving really helped as there are too many to choose from. We started with the boat ride and just stayed on the boat for the whole circuit to try and take it all in.
Starting with the Vasa museum, a place that is all about a ship that never made it out of the harbour! In fact it only made it approximately 1000m before she sank! I must say if you come here and could only fit in one museum to visit then make it this one! Back in 1628 she set sail on her maiden voyage when a squall came through and rolled the ship to her side, causing her to sink.
The Vasa was to be the most powerful armed gunship in the world and she really was huge! She sank because the gun portals filled with water when she tipped on her side causing her to fill up with water. What is so incredible about this ship is the fact she sat on the bottom of the harbour for 333 years before she was retrieved and surprisingly in quite good condition. We spent quite along time here going through this fantastic exhibit and really getting a feel for what it was like.
After we headed towards the next museum the Spirit Museum. Yes spirit and not the ghostly kind but the alcohol sort. Again this was interesting and well put together. Lucky it was too early in the day cause the tourist day may have stopped here with a drink or two.
From there the Vikingaliv museum. This was brilliant and really did give you a full insight into what the Viking life may have been like. The displays were great but what topped it off for me was the tunnel ride through the life of a Viking family. So well put together as you sit in a carriage and go through dark rooms that would light up with displays of the story.
Then we headed off to the ABBA museum. Now you can’t visit Stockholm without popping in here and having grown up listening to the sounds of ABBA it is a MUST.
We spent a very long time through this one and really could have stayed a bit longer as there was so much to see and do. They had a lot of interactive displays which made it loads of fun too.
From here we decided to get on the hop on hop off bus for a bit but now it was nearly 6pm and the busses are stopping for the night and so are we, or at least a moment before heading out for dinner.
Day One – Stockholm -Sweden
And we are off! We flew out of Perth Australia Saturday evening for the just over 20hrs flight to Stockholm Sweden!
I have to say the trip was really good with no issues at all. Qatar are always great to fly with and the first leg is the longest I couldn’t believe the flight went so quick! I was watching Free Solo (great film) and was right at the final part where he was about to achieve his climb when the pilot announced we were landing…. I’m like Noooo just fly around the block a few times, I’m watching a film 😂.
Coming into land in Stockholm I looked out the window and really am taken back by the amount of green! Everywhere is green, that beautiful evergreen colour. We don’t get that green so much in Australia, it’s very different so whenever we are in Europe I am always in awe of the green. What makes it stand out as well are the very bright fields of yellow flowers. Impressive.
Now we are in Stockholm we did our domestic duties of getting some of our food for the hike and our gas canister for our stove as we are planning to camp a bit whilst walking. We decided to mix this hike up and try various accomodation along the way. As this is a pilgrimage there are pilgrim’s accommodation and we also thought we will do Airbnb as well as our tents. I say tents as we have one each, we carry the Sea to Summit Duo and they are super lightweight and comfy for one person.
Tomorrow we are playing Happy Tourist as we have never been here before so we are excited to explore this city. Then the following day we will make our way north to the town of Selanger where we will start our hike for around the next 28 days.
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We have come to that time of the year again when we head off on our big journey to discover another part of the world. Each year we do try to go somewhere new that we have no been to or explored before and this year is no different.
We are off to Sweden! The walk we will be exploring this time is one of the 7 pilgrimage trails of the St. Olav Way. As some of you may remember we had back in 2016 walk another one of these trails – The Gudbrandsleden Route from Oslo to Norway and whilst we were on this trail we met others who had walked the route from Sweden and since then we struggled to get it out of our mind! You can re-read our blog here. or watch our clips on YouTube Here.
We have not yet explored Sweden so this is very exciting and even though we will end back in Trondheim like the other route we can’t wait as this city would have to be one of our favourite places we have been to. We did a small YouTube clip back then showing this beautiful city.
On this journey we will be walking the route known as the St. Olav Path. This route has us starting on the coast of Sweden and walking westward towards Trondheim in Norway. This route follows along the road or pathway that King Olav travelled in 1030 when he arrived back from Russia in order to reclaim the Norwegian Throne and Christianise Norway. Along the way King Olav fell to his death after the battle in Stiklestad on July 29th, 1030.
The length of the way is 564 km and will have us walking through some spectacular scenery including forests, mountain ranges, around stunning lakes, past many historical sites including the place of St. Olav’s demise. We will walk through farmlands and villages past medieval churches and along ancient paths.
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A Very Brief History of the St. Olav Trails
These trails originally date back to the early 10’00’s when St. Olav had become king of Norway. Who is St. Olav? He is Olav Haraldsson who had ruled Norway from 1015 through to his death on July 29th, 1030. He bought Christianity to this Viking land and united it’s people and bringing the country to one.
St. Olav died in Battle in a place called Stiklestad in 1030 and his remains are believed to have been taken and buried on the banks of the river at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim Norway. King Olav had two years prior fled to Russia but returned after having a dream telling him to go home and defend his country. There had been many stories told of miracles happening at the battle scene after his death as well as at the site of his burial. People started calling him a holy man and would travel to these sites expecting miracles to occur. One year later they dug him up from his burial site in fear his body would be stolen and buried him in an un-named location, but when they dug him up his body looked as though he had just been sleeping. His hair, nails had grown, his skin was fresh and they say there was a sweet fragrance coming up from his coffin. The King was then canonised and made a Saint.
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Also check out some of our past journeys like –