Step by step from Oslo to Trondheim
This book is a chronicle of one man's month–long journey along one og the world's most beautiful and undiscovered pilgrim trails. It also includes a guide to be used for preparation by anyone thinking about a similar undertaking. On a trail through the amazing landscape of Norway, I was struck not only by the natural beauty of Norway, but also by the open and welcoming nature of its people. The clean, well maintained homes and farms seem to reflect the good qualities for which Norwegian are known. Stories I'd heard of these honest, hard working, inventive people, living in their often difficult northern setting, were affirmed in the nature and attitude of the people I met during this 466 mile adventure. The spiritual and religious history of the pilgrims who have travelled these paths for various reasons during the past millennium was all around me as I travelled. I felt a strong ancestral tie to both the people and the place. Learning to open my mind and absorb this history while hiking was one of the best lessons of my life.
About this book
This book is based on a trip that four friends and I took to Norway starting in July, 2008. These friends are members of The Cascadians outdoor club based in Yakima Washington. We all do many outdoor activities in our wonderful home area, but when I talked about my potential plans during our local hikes, my companions started expressing interest in the undertaking. By the time I had done enough research to know a little more about the Norwegian Pilgrim Trail and its possibilities, four of my hiking companions decided they would like to go along. They obviously trusted me more than they probably should have, considering the rigors we encountered.
Despite the difficulties, or perhaps because of them, we all learned and profited from the experience. It was an amazing feeling to find ourselves relating our daily experiences to those of Norwegian Pilgrims and other travelers who had used those same paths over the ages. It is my hope that I can encourage others to undertake at least part, if not all of this same adventure.
This book is intended to both entertain and inform. This is not a typical guide book, however. Guide books containing mapping and accommodation information, such as the one we had on our trek, which was published in 2005, are often outdated and misleading because of changes that naturally occur in the system over time.
In this the Age of Internet, the best source for specific mapping and accommodation information is the excellent website set up by the Pilgrim Trail Project office in Trondheim, Norway. This website www.pilegrim.info, provides up–to–date specifics on trail conditions, maps, accommodations and other subjects that will help visitors enjoy and appreciate their pilgrim journey.
My purpose in this book is to provide a personal account, in story form, of what I encountered on the Pilgrim Trail plus some advice for anyone thinking about a similar undertaking. If my experience can help others as they plan their own Pilgrim adventure, then I am content, for it is an adventure not to be taken lightly. The pilgrims of old were tough for a reason. The trail is still a demanding one, and potential Pilgrims need to prepare both physically and psychologically to get the most from their experience.
I hope the story of our journey, with all its trials, tribulations and amusing anecdotes will encourage others to try at least a portion of the trail if not the whole distance as we did.
The fact that we were all retired surely made a difference in our ability to devote the time required, but the experience of living in a very different culture for an extended period is quite unique and one that should be shared with all who are interested.
Table of contents
About this book III
Introduction of the Adventurers VI
Our first days in Oslo 1
Starting from Oslo 24
From Hamar 65
From Ringebu 97
From Oppdal 143
Arrival in Trondheim 180
On the way back to Oslo 205
Author's Afterword 218
Background of Pilgrimage in Norway 223
Map of Trail System 228
Some facts about Norway 229
Preparing for the Pilgrim Trail 233
Physical conditioning 238
Appendix 1 – Route by County 254
Appendix 2 – References 257
From the book, page 90–96:
Day 15: From Mageli Camping to Gildesvollen, Ringebu – 210 miles from Oslo
Our next day was very pleasant. We didn't start from the camping area until 9 a.m., quite late for us, and much of the day was spent hiking on pleasant country roads. There were several unusual sights along the way, including a self service wood lot which depended on the honor system – an unlocked deposit box for payment. In the middle of the day we were met by a resident named Ivar Nordrum, a self appointed Pilgrim greeter.
Ivar was 82, and lived in a house near the road that ran adjacent to the trail. He was just coming out for his morning paper when we were passing by. We had a pleasant half–hour visit on his patio learning about his life, the buildings he had collected on his property, and his involvement with the Fåvang Rotary Club which keeps this section of the Pilgrim trail well–marked and well–maintained. He served us apple juice and delicious heather–honey bread his wife had made, which really hit the spot for a mid–morning snack. The places he had lived during his life as an officer in the Norwegian navy were especially interesting, particularly the time he spent working on projects in Alberta, Canada.
Ivar also told us of his strong interest in Norwegian history, demonstrated by his larger than life statue of a Viking on his property. He also showed us an ancient grain storage– type building that he purchased and has converted into his personal chapel. We were given a tour of the chapel building, which is filled with many interesting artifacts from Ivar's world travels. Many of these artifacts relate in some way to the Pilgrim history of Norway and St. Olav.