A quiet Norwegian pilgrimage

Spring festivals are getting underway, bringing the promise of prime walking weather. Although it’ll be a little while before Norway warms up, St. Olav’s Way is a trek (and bonafide pilgrimage) to check out.

The route stretches about 400 miles (643 km) northwest from Oslo to St. Olav’s grave in Trondheim. It traces lakes, rolls over hills, cuts into and out of forests “dotted with wild mushrooms and holy healing wells,” according to Brandon Wilson, the peripatetic author of Yak Butter Blues.  Elevation tops out at 3,900 ft (1,200m) before the final downhill stretch to Trondheim. Apparently, complimentary pastries await you at the finish along with a completed pilgrimage certificate.

The pilgrimage has been around for 1,000 years — active for the first 600, fallow for the following four centuries. I’m not sure about the number of pilgrims you can expect to see these days, though it’s safe to say the path won’t be flooded. But if it somehow is and you’re seeking solitude, you can veer off onto one of the Norwegian Trekking Association‘s numerous other trails.

I have to admit I’ve never walked this route, but it looks amazing. If anyone has, let us know how it went in the comments…

Photo by Jørn Adde © Trondheim Kommune

Posted by | Comments (2)  | March 3, 2010
Category: Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Europe, Simplicity

2 Responses to “A quiet Norwegian pilgrimage”

  1. Thomas Says:

    While the pilgrimage aspect of St. Olav’s Way is significant to some, there are plenty of other treks I would undertake in Norway before considering Oslo-Trondheim. The landscape is not all that exciting along large parts of the route, crossing the Dovre mountains being the notable exception. I prefer hiking in areas such as Lofoten, Sogn or Hardangervidda; anyone going for dramatic scenery is likely to do the same.