Five days along the pilgrim road to Trondheim

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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.

2 comments on "Five days along the pilgrim road to Trondheim"

  1. Top o’ da Mornin’ to ya! Will be reading with avid interest, to be sure!

    Just started my course of typhoid vaccination for Borneo and already suffering some mild side-effects, potentially psychosomatic (always think it’s foolish to read the side-effects portion of a drug pamphlet before taking them), and am itching in random places… However, am also concerned about mozzies in the Borneo jungle which I’m told are just as tenacious as their Norwegian cousins. Still, at least you don’t have to worry about leeches too… Every cloud eh?!

    Richard O'Pragnell

    1. NEVER read the side effects portion of a medicine leaflet. You’ll discover that something as incongruous as antihistamine has the potential to sterilise you for life, bring on major psychosis and make you grow kettles instead of hands. Also I have been petrified of leeches since that scene in Stand By Me when he gets one on his balls. Have a splendid time, old boy!


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