After five days on the long trail out of Oslo, and four nights skulking in my tent in the woods, it’s finally time for a little comfort. Life in the tent is actually reasonably pleasant, but nothing ever seems to dry, and after a couple of days of rainstorms I needed to get a lot of my stuff washed and dried.
And myself, for that matter. Apart from the odd splash in a stream and a glorious dip in a crisp forest lake a couple of days ago, it’s fair to say I haven’t been at my most delicately fragrant. I suppose it comes with the territory.
Anyhow, I’m currently sitting on the porch of a cabin in Granavollen, scrubbed deliciously clean and surrounded by drying gear. Comparative bliss for a July evening.
My first five days of walking have taught me a number of things, among which are:
1. I am not alone in this absurd endeavour. In fact if reports from the Norwegians I’ve been chatting to are to be believed, there are pilgrims all over the place, patiently wending their weary way towards Trondheim. I spent a couple of days walking with a cheerful compadre called Dave from Michigan, and there’s a Danish couple I keep running into. I haven’t seen anyone else yet, but I suppose the trail’s long enough that I’ll come across some others before long.
2. Mosquitoes have the ability to penetrate a t-shirt with ease. The woods are swarming with the little bastards, and after congratulating myself on limiting the number of bites on my arms to eight or nine with the rigorous application of weapons-grade repellent, I realised my back and shoulders were like Stalingrad. I have been resignedly sweltering in a jacket while I cook over my stove ever since.
3. Norwegians are unfeasibly nice. I sort of suspected this already, but over the past few days it has nevertheless surprised me. People are always stopping for a chat, or just to wish you a good trip, or pulling over in their cars to help when they see you’re a bit lost. This afternoon I found myself sitting in someone’s house, drinking strong black coffee with an extended family, including two lovely and very ancient great aunts. A story worth telling separately, I think.
Anyway, must go. A packet of macaroni cheese and a mug of Nescafé await.