In 1030 King Olav went to war from Sweden to Norway along the route that is now called St. Olavsleden. On July 29 a battle with a peasant army near Stiklestad cost him his life.
If Olav knew this would be a cycling route at some point in the future, he might have chosen a route that was not so steep and rough. But maybe he was not only a warlord, but also a nature lover. The area in between Stiklestad and the border with Sweden is the most wonderful part I have seen on this pilgrim route. And I think that Olav, like me, only had drizzling rain. That discourages people and slows you down in the slippery mud. Ingredients for a lost battle...
So far my version of Olavs history. As you can see that there is no historian wasted on me.
"Are you going to Sul?" a woman asked me in a hostel where a took a break.
"That is the idea."
"That only goes up. The official route in the reverse direction is much easier."
Since I have to return anyway, it shouldn't be a problem.
I just left Stiklestad. The route to this place was easier then when I left last Monday, but the weather was less pleasant. I haven't seen any sunshine since the day I arrived in Trondheim last Wednesday. A lot of rain drops and one more ice cream truck were spotted though.
I knew it would be a beautiful but difficult part of the route because of the many climbs. The first couple kilometers where a wonderful descent, but after that I had to climb. Very slowly. To the point my steel horse gave up and started slipping down through the mud. And me with it. Come to think of it, that must have been a ski piste that works well with rain or snow.
From the village Vuku the route goes south in a large bend. I arrived at an idyllic spot near a waterfall and a small bridge and I knew as I look at it, that this would not be a pleasant return trip down hill. Not knowing the return trip would start sooner that I thought...
Walking with the bicycle at hand I started a steep descent, went over that small bridge and stopped to see how the route would continue and as I looked up I gulped. In the end after a hour in the drizzling rain as I towed my bicycle through the steep and soggy grasland, I had to conclude this route that is adapted for cyclists was not fit for cyclists.
At least not for cyclists who have a bicycle with them. And most cyclists have that.
I went back to try the official route through the woods for hikers. There I reached my new low. On my knees in the mud. On that moment I decided I was done for the day. Tomorrow there is another day.
And so I got back in Vuku. There is a wonderful camping at a waterfall (another waterfall) where I had hoped to get some information about the area around here. But the (old) owner speaks only Norwegian and my Danish is not suitable to talk about my steel horse slipping away in the mud rather would like to choose a new war path.
Anyhow. Sitting here warm and cozy in a wooden cabin where the good man lighted the wood stove for me. Tomorrow I try a different route over a "normal" road. A halve a day rest every now and then is very nice and who knows, a miracle happens. After all, King Olav is a Saint.
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