“Come out, the sun shines! It's wonderful, hurry, before it's gone!!" It was just before ten o'clock in the evening at the pilgrimshostel in Munkeby with a couple of other Dutch (walking) pilgrims (Wanda, Marja and Mette). I was working on my laptop when one of them came rushing in. "Don't forget your camera!". We had not seen the sun for day on end. Only rain and dark skies. I even considered to stop with this route for a while and to head south (and come back later). Cycling in the rain is not a problem in itself, but the work that is attached to that, like making notes and shooting pictures, is is hard to do in the rain. But because the planning doesn't allow it I persevered. And glad I did! Apart from the suffering, it brought me a number is wonderful things.
The St. Olavsleden from Selånger to Trondheim goes through Norway for on third of the whole route. The whole route is adjusted to accommodate cyclists, but only the Swedish part is signposted. The Norwegian part isn't signposted yet, and on top of that there are some problem areas. These problem areas are now completely mapped. And that was a tough job. A tough job I chose for, because I already knew from 2019 there were parts uncyclable. But this time I cycled all the way over the hard parts where I previously turned back. Well, Cycled? It was more like walking. And sometimes dragging or pushing the bicycle along over steep mud, grass, and gravel paths. The rain didn't help either, but even if the weather was wonderful, these parts are not fit to cycle over. Last Wednesday I had a talk with Janne Sollie and Lisa Skellfjord who recently became responsible for the Norwegian part of the St. Olavsleden and we went through the problem areas together. I was very happy to have been through these parts completely, be it by bicycle or by foot, because I could give accurate information on the "why" these part are not uncyclable. We had a very constructive talk together and decided to work together on this to make it a wonderful cycling route. All the trouble spots are avoidable, so that will certainly work out just fine. When Janne heard of my plan to find a shelter for the night, she invited my to come over at her place for diner and offered me to stay for the night. Even though I sleep in a shelter just as well, I felt it was very welcome nonetheless. When I left the morning after that, we still weren't done talking.
Two days later, Friday, july 22nd, I arrived in Trondheim. When I arrived at the 0 kilometer milestone at the Nidaros domen, the was an applause. There stood two Swedish cyclists with their two dogs, Bosse and Lilly. I met them on the road and they arrived just before me. I arrive here for the fourth time, but the applause was a first. This made the fourth time very special!
II was invited by Lars, te brother of Janne, to sleep at his place. The next day I went to the Nidarosgård to collect my fourth Olavsbrev, the certificate for pilgrims. There I was treated on a lunch by Mattias Jansson. Mattias is one of the employees of the pilgrimscenter in Trondheim, and with him I discussed the translation of the guide for the St. Olav's Way from Oslo to Trondheim among other things.
And then came a very exciting afternoon and evening. That was suffering on a whole other level. I was unsure if I could take my bicycle back to the car by train...
"You need to ask the conductor if the bicycle can go on the train", said the lady at the ticket office.
Ah, OK... Or rather not OK.
"You have to buy a ticket, but you can do that on the train. For the bicycle and yourself.".
Hm. That's a bit better.
This year there is a lot of work being done on the Norwegian railroads and the bicycle can't always be brought along in the bus service that replaces the train. temporarily there is only one train per day.
The conductor-lady came on the platform even before the train arrived:
"Are you going to Storlien?"
"Yes, please! And my bicycle and panniers would like to come along as well."
"Sure, that's possible. Just remove the panniers from the bicycle and I'll help you on to the train."
Moments later I was sitting in the train. Thanks to the tough conductor-lady who had dirty hands after that, but didn't mind it at all...
In Storlien I entered the train like I've done it multiple times before. There was room for the bicycle and I assumed that I could buy a ticket at the conductor. After an hour there was a message in Swedish that there would be no check on the tickets. Was my Swedish already that good? Or was I hearing things? Apparently my Swedish was good enough en when I arrived at my destination I stepped out of the train. Finally, I made it to the end.
Yesterday I went back to Trondheim. I left a box with new books there and took back a box of pilgrims passports. From September available though my website as well, for those who want to go on a pilgrimage. When I arrived back at the pilgrimshostel, I saw Wanda en Marja who just arrived. It was great to see them again.
Now I'm heading south in the direction of Oslo, but I'll take a week time to get there. I stay at Joar en Magni in Voll for two days, and later at Tom and Janke in Ringebu for some days.
In the meantime I hope the processing of all the notes I made on the way will be done, so I'm ready to start my new project in august: The bicycle route from Kristiansand to Oslo.
- this week working on my laptop and some appointments on the side
- Friday Remy comes for a week hiking in the west of Norway
- from the second week of august working on the route Kristiansand to Oslo
- going home somewhere in September