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Look how beautiful! I ran outside, quickly snatching an umbrella. The whole day, on the way from Voll to Ringebu by car, I had alternating sun and rain. And now it rained both sunbeams and water and even a second rainbow appeared!
This week I drive parallel to The St. Olav’s Way - and sometimes even on the path - from Trondheim to Oslo. I'm a bilgrim now. "Bil" means "car" in Norwegian and in the other Scandinavian languages. There are those who think that you can only walk on pilgrimage, because then you suffer more. Well, I can assure you that as a cycling pilgrim on The St. Olav’s Way you suffer enough to be a worthy pilgrim. But by car? Well, if pilgrimage means suffering, then bilgriming certainly fits the bill…

I certainly enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way, but found it extremely frustrating not to 'experience' it. I didn't smell it, I didn't feel it, I didn’t hear anything but the eternal hum of the engine and went way, way too fast, even though sometimes you're only allowed 40 km/h on some stretches of a Norwegian highway and not faster anyway than 90 km/h. And meanwhile being locked up behind glass from which you can only get out if there is room to stop somewhere with that large colossus. And then I only have a small Polo. This year no pictures from me of the beautiful Dovrefjell and the beautiful Rondane that I drove through. Fortunately, I was once able to 'experience it all with all the senses' by bicycle and have nice memories and photos that testify to this. And it is precisely that experiencing with all the senses that is the essence of slow travel. Cycling or walking. Of course your health must allow this and I fully realise that I am a very privileged person to be able to do this and even make it my job.

img 8744Despite the fact that I'm in a fixed place these two times, traveling by car and also being glued to the computer for three days in a row to process all the notes I made, I still experience great things.
When I stayed this weekend at Nørgar Voll, with Joar and Magni, I experienced a pilgrim church service for the very first time. Occasionally services are organised for pilgrims on the way and the priest is the pilgrim priest, Einar Vegge. Coincidentally, a service was being held nearby and the priest, who is now on the way as a pilgrim himself, like me, would also spend the night at Nørgar Voll. Local members of the parish were also present at the service, which was held in both Norwegian and English.
That afternoon I was in the garden with Joar and Magni working on my blog (the previous one) and I was just finishing up when a pilgrim walked up. He greeted me and said that he had seen me at the service in the morning. I looked at him in despair, because I thought I should say I’d seen him as well, but I really didn't remember him. I said that honestly. “Yes, sorry, so many strange faces…”. He looked at me amused "but I was the priest this morning...." And I suddenly recognised him! That morning he stood there with neatly combed hair and a priest's band under his neat blouse. He was wearing outdoor pants and sport shoes. But most of the congregation, including the older ones, had that. I thought that was the most impressive part of the entire service: even the older ladies had sport shoes/sneakers under their skirts. In my view Norwegians are always, or at least very often, dressed for a solid outdoor activity.
However, the priest who arrived at Joar and Magni was now wearing shorts, a huge backpack on his back and a cap. And since I'm not very good at remembering faces - and that was really the only external feature that had remained the same - I didn't recognise him. Fortunately, he found it entertaining.
We had a pleasant evening. Halldis Prestegård, the new manager of the pilgrim center on Dovrefjell, also came to eat and stay overnight at Nørgar Voll, just like Einar. That was nice, because I had never met her before.

img 9043After being incredibly spoiled by Joar and Magni, I drove to Ringebu on Monday. There I had a guest house and workplace in Tom and Janke's garden. Or rather, in the beautiful former 'konfirmantsalen'. When the former school, which is also on the property, is fully booked with pilgrims, this house is also used, but this week I had it to myself. On Tuesday, in the middle of the day, Janke knocked on the door: “A pilgrim has just arrived here who would like to speak to you”. It turned out to be Margriet, my translator-to-be! I knew she was on her way, but not that she would be around here. That was a very nice surprise!

In the meantime, I was also interviewed by Henrik Kos of the Fietsvakantiepodcast (Dutch podcast about cycling holidays). I am telling here about the St. Olavsleden I just cycled and the episode is now online (in Dutch, sorry…): Het St.Olavspad Op Twee Wielen.

Today, Friday I drive further south. I will first visit Renée Dekker in Brumemdall. She has participated in the cycling route Cycling over Nes and Helgøya and tonight I'm having dinner with Tone Stræte, the manager of the pilgrim center in Hamar. And tonight, very late… then Remy comes!!

We are going to spend a week vacation together. No idea how to do that without a bicycle (Remy comes without the bicycle because it's so short), but we'll find out. In any case, we want to hike a lot! Maybe we can too.

Ha det!

P.s. this time the newsletter is translated by myself because Remy is on his way to Norway. I know, it’s not perfect, sorry for that…

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