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Chin-Yu Lee walked from Selånger to Trondheim

Heidi and Marica inform about the trail

Practical information for pilgrimage

Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no



From SelĂĽnger via Stiklestad to Trondheim, the St. Olavsleden trail follows in the footsteps of King Olav. In the Middle Ages, thousands of pilgrims walked this route to Nidaros (Trondheim) where St. Olav was buried.

Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no


The art of walking We learned the art of walking as little ones. We got up, let go and took ours first wobbly step. A great victory, a day the adults remembered and told you about later. Eventually, we walked steadily, and could try to explore everything around us. A lot happens when we walk. It brings you from one place to another, and walking gives you new powers. It gives you experiences, you can walk and be with a good friend. It allows the body to participate in and process thoughts and experiences and to find new answers. That is why roads and walking are symbols we use about our lives. The 564 km long St.Olavsleden trail runs along an old roads which has been used for ages. It starts in SelĂĽnger close by Sundsvall, and goes through cultural landscapes and forests and mountains, down the valley to Stiklestad, and on to Trondheim. Maybe you just want to walk for 1 day and see if it is possible to walk more? It goes well to walk both parts of, or all of St.Olavsleden trail. Is a pilgrimage something more or something different than another hiking? Both yes and no. You decide that. I urge you to try and experience for yourself. For me, the pilgrimage has become a journey of discovery, a new one way to walk, which I would like to recommend. A continuous, multi-day walking provides room for attention to what we sense and encounter along the trail: the forest, the road. A butterfly, the cry of the crane, the wind, the rain and the sun. We experience the richness and beauty of nature when we are in the midst of it, and feel that we belong to it. We can carry questions with us in our lives, and something happens to them as we walk. In this way, the outer walking can also become an inner pilgrimage. Conversation with others may alternate with conversation with God. If you walk alone, the meetings with hosts and other pilgrims may be especially valuable, and the silence will be your friend. Now the trail is waiting for you. I invite you to try. Welcome on the trail! Herborg Finnset Bishop of Nidaros



A HISTORIC ROUTE Marica Hamberg is the newly appointed project coordinator for St. Olavsleden trail in Sweden. Heidi Carine Brimi has been General Manager of the Stiklestad Regional Pilgrimage Centre since 2016. Both are passionate about more people discovering how wonderful the St. Olavsleden trail is.

Text: Gunn Merete Roll OUTDOOR RECREATION AND PILGRIMAGE Heidi Carine Brimi is an archaeologist specialising in the Viking Age and has extensive knowledge about Olav the Holy and the era in which he lived. Consequently, she really enjoys her job as general manager of the Stiklestad Regional Pilgrim Centre. Her interest in human interaction with nature and culture has gradually become a way of life, and she guides pilgrimages from Stiklestad to Trondheim every year. “I find the historical and cultural aspects of St.Olavsleden trail particularly interesting. The Pilgrim Centre has an office at Stiklestad National Cultural Centre, and the cultural centre’s reception is open around the clock. It was here at Stiklestad where the famous battle took place during which Olav the Holy was killed. The miracles that occurred after his death led to him being declared the saint. This marked the start of the pilgrimages to Nidaros Cathedral where he was buried,” she says. Heidi is also passionate about outdoor recreation and takes advantage of any opportunities to spend time in the mountains and forest. This is an interest she shares with Marica, who grew up in Jämtland and has always been interested in nature, forests and mountains. Marica is educated as a forestry manager. She now lives in Bjärme, where, in addition to her full-time job, she runs an idyllic smallholding with a B&B and farm shop selling handcrafted products and tastes of Jämtland. Among the tasks in her new job is helping local providers along the route to develop good experiences for those walking the St. Olavsleden trail.


Heidi Carine Brimi and Marica Hamberg are working to get more people to discover and use the St. Olavleden trail.

FOOD AND CULTURE Both women are very fond of nature and culture and believe local culinary traditions also form an important part of the cultural heritage. “I want to help to promote the cultural heritage associated with locally produced food,” says Marica, adding that she considers being served good local specialties by accommodation providers who offer this adds to the unique experience. “Sitting in the kitchen and eating good homemade food is a very authentic experience that many people appreciate.” People walking on the Norwegian section of the trail can also eat well since Trøndelag has distinguished itself as one of Norway’s leading food regions, says Heidi. “Many of the places for pilgrims to stay are on farms, making

them homely as well as authentic. When you complete the pilgrim trail in Trondheim, there are many excellent eateries to choose between. If you want to celebrate completing your pilgrimage with an extraordinary dining experience, you will even find two restaurants with a Michelin star, along with restaurants serving good locally produced food to suit all budgets.” UNIQUE EXPERIENCE “I think the best thing about going on pilgrimage, besides the culture- and nature-based experiences, is that you have time to take care of yourself and give yourself some consideration and love,” says Marica. “You can take a break from social media, e-mail and other stresses, which is now a huge luxury. We notice that many people are bitten by the pilgrimage bug and, once

Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no

they have walked once, they will return to walk more.” “Many people love hiking in the mountains and, in a similar way, walking on the pilgrim trail also offers nice nature-based experiences. Nevertheless, I think going on a mountain hike and walking on the pilgrim route are slightly different,” says Heidi, who often goes on mountain hikes. “I can happily go on a mountain hike alone. This combines exercise and fun, but pilgrimages are more than that. No matter whether you walk alone or in a group, on pilgrimages you have space to yourself and your own thoughts and reflections. Walking in traces of religious history in an area with rich cultural heritage is a spiritual experience. You get time to wonder and see where you are in life and the world.” “I think following in St. Olav’s footsteps and

the historical context this provides appeals to the modern person,” adds Marica. EASILY ACCESSIBLE Heidi has walked the Norwegian part of St. Olavsleden trail, and leads two group pilgrimages from Stiklestad to Trondheim each summer. “The trail here leads through woodlands and pastures and we experience a beautiful cultural landscape with nice farms and wonderful views. It’s also possible to walk along the coast and take a boat across the fjord to Trondheim.” The wonderful thing about this trail is that it’s so easily accessible by public transport. Basically, you can start virtually wherever you wish and decide the starting point based on how long you have available. Both point out that the trail is also suitable for beginners and accommodation and other amenities are

available along the entire route. Walking the entire route takes about five weeks, but it’s nice to divide it into stages, explains Marica, adding: “Perhaps you will have a favourite stage, or you can complete the entire route in stages over several years.” There are good accommodation options along the entire route. It’s advisable to book accommodation well in advance, or at least call a couple of days in advance. As many of the places to stay are privately owned, its wise to maintain contact and inform them about when you will arrive. The walking season is from June to October. Heidi emphasizes that it’s very important to follow weather forecasts because the weather can change rapidly, especially in the mountains. Wearing suitable clothes and packing properly are also important. This magazine


The General Manager of the Stiklestad Regional Pilgrim Centre, Heidi Carine Brimi, says that the St.Olavleden trail offers many nice nature-based experiences. Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no

contains a packing list and you will find plenty of practical information on our websites: stolavsleden.com and pilegrimsleden.no. The pilgrim centres in Selånger, Borgsjö, Gällö, Frösö, Åre, Stiklestad and Trondheim are important hubs along the trail, says Heidi. “You will get good information about the place and the next stage, meet other pilgrims and get your pilgrim passport stamped here. Some provide accommodation while others can refer you to places to stay nearby. The pilgrim centres also have exhibitions about St. Olav and the history of the pilgrim route.” STIKLESTAD – TRONDHEIM BY BIKE One of the first things Marica decided after getting the job was that she wanted to experience St.Olavsleden for herself. She decided to start by cycling the section from Stiklestad to Trondheim with her friend Carmen Nilson. “It was a very nice trip,” she says. “The nature is completely magical, and it was a wonderful energy boost for us who generally have busy days. There was time for peace and tranquillity. There was us, our bikes and the trail, and nothing else to disturb our minds.” Marica says that all their expectations were fulfilled. The trail was varied and wonderful and no two parts were alike. The hills at the start


made it slightly more challenging to ride, but she believes that everyone who is somewhat active in their everyday life could manage this. “We are both relatively active but neither of us trained specifically for this trip. Naturally we felt it in our thigh muscles after the first day, but it just made it all the better to arrive at our accommodation.” They biked around 70 km on the first day, but Marica says anyone who thinks that sounds too far can easily add an extra overnight stop. They spent the night in historic surroundings at the Ersgård farm hotel in Stjørdal and are full of praise about the experience. “It was simply wonderful to come here and be served pilgrim soup and good bread. We had a nice time with the hosts and they shared interesting stories about the farm. After spending the whole day outside, it was extra good to sleep in a comfortable bed in one of the authentic and cosy rooms at Ersgård. The following day, they completed the ride to Trondheim and were rewarded with nice views of the scenic Trondheimsfjord. It goes without saying that it was great to arrive in the city and at the majestic Nidaros Cathedral. And like all pilgrims, whether arriving on foot or by bike, they also walked three times around the cathedral.

MARICA’S TIPS TO THOSE WISHING TO CYCLE ST.OL AVSLEDEN - Read the map and plan the number of overnight stops based on how far you wish to ride each day. - Check that your bike is in good condition and has a light and reflector. Bring a repair kit and an extra torch. - A helmet is essential for everyone! - Bring provisions and drinks for one day and some snacks like nuts and chocolate. - Dress warmly with wind and waterproof clothing, gloves, hat and good cycling shoes. A waterproof cover for your backpack/bike bags is a good idea. Check the packing list on page 15.

1 og 2: Selånger Pilgrimcenter, 3: Ristafallet, 4: Duved Church, 5: The vikinghouse at Stiklestad, 6: The old docks in Trondheim. Foto: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no

THE HIGHLIGHTS ALONG THE WAY The St. Olavsleden trail starts in Selånger near Sundsvall and leads to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. This is the route Olav the Holy followed when he returned from Russia to recapture the Norwegian throne in 1030. The 564 km long trail is the world’s northernmost pilgrimage route. It leads from coast to coast, from the Gulf of Bothnia in the east to the Trondheimsfjord in the west. The pilgrim route starts at the ruins of the Selånger Church, which was built in the 12th century in memory of St. Olav. There is now a lovely pilgrimage centre beside the church ruins, where you can enjoy good food and get all the information imaginable about the route. The trail to Borgsjö leads through a picturesque area with nice places to stay. You can visit Stöde Church and see the sculpture of St. Olav. You walk along the shores of several beautiful lakes, including Borgsjö where we recommend visiting the St. Olav’s spring and the Borgsjö church, which is one of the most beautiful Late Baroque churches in Sweden. The pilgrim trail continues through deep forests and along the shores of more nice lakes, where you see if the fish are biting. This area is well known for moose hunting. You will also notice several nice, old wooden

houses. This area has had several inns where kings and archbishops have stayed. Further north is Revsund, which has been a hub for pilgrims since the Middle Ages. The church features a 13th century painting of St. Olav. It’s also worth mentioning Pilgrimstad, where folklore has it that sick pilgrims who drank from the well were healed. The trail continues to Östersund, a beautiful and traditional town situated on the shores of large lake Storsjön. In the nice pedestrian street here, you will find wonderful shops, good hotels and guest houses and many good places to eat. The trail then take you to to the island of Frösön in lake Storsjön. Further north, you will visit Åre, a famous ski resort with all sorts of amenities for walkers, before approaching the international border. You can enjoy panoramic views in all directions on the beautiful walk across the mountain. On the Norwegian side of the border, you walk through woodlands and beautiful rural farmland to Stiklestad. This is a place of immense historical importance since it was here during the big battle in 1030 that St. Olav received his death wound. The farm Stiklastadir has been reconstructed to reflect that era. Pilgrims can stay the night in the guest loft, which is a replica of a 13th century

medieval building. From Stiklestad, the route continues to the monastery ruins at Munkleby, where the trail divides. You can walk the final stretch to Trondheim on the inner trail through woodlands and pastures or the coastal route along the shore of the fjord via Frosta and Tautra, before taking the pilgrim boat across the fjord to Trondheim. The destination of the pilgrimage is the magnificent Nidaros Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Nordic region, in the historic and beautiful city of Trondheim. The body of Olav the Holy was taken here after his death at Stiklestad. The stories of the miracles associated with his body spread far and wide and, within a few years, pilgrims started to flock to the church built over his burial site. Throughout the Middle Ages, thousands of pilgrims walked here, and the St. Olavleden trail is based on this tradition. Today, Trondheim is a lively university city with a historical and vibrant centre with a lot to offer visitors. Pilgrims can choose between a variety of good accommodation options. However, the one with perhaps the most beautiful location is the Nidaros Pilgrim Centre, just a stone’s throw from Nidaros Cathedral and on the banks of the river that winds through Trondheim’s idyllic old town, Bakklandet.




The trail is suitable for both a long pilgrimage, a week of walking and weekend trips. Most of the St.Olavsleden trail is easily accessible by public transportation. Take the train or the bus to the desired starting point and the walking can begin.

about riding on the trail at www.stolavsleden.com/horse-back-riding/

train is approx. 6-7 hours and you can hop off almost anywhere and start the walk.

LONG WALK The starting point for the St. Olavsleden

SOME SUGGESTED STAGES The stages are between 86 and 137 km long. Most people consider 20 km per day is a suitable distance. Selånger-Borgsjö (86 km): A fine walk from the starting point in Selånger through a picturesque landscape. Borgsjø- Östersund (100 km): Through deep forests, along the shores of beautiful lakes to the pleasant city of Östersund. Östersund-Åre (120 km): Through the meadows of Frösön, along the shores of the beautiful Stosjön and up to the alpine village of Åre.

trail is Selånger (near Sundsvall). The trail follows in the footsteps of King Olav the Holy all the way to Trondheim. The beautiful and varied nature makes it ideal for shorter and longer trips.

A unique feature of the St. Olavsleden trail is that there are two routes on the final stretch to Trondheim, one through rural farmland and forests and the other along the coast. If you choose the latter, you take a pilgrim boat across the fjord, which is a nice way to arrive in the city. You can walk alone or in small and large groups. This magazine includes an overview of the various organised tours along the trail. If you decide to arrange your own trip, we recommend studying the map carefully before you start and planning well when it comes to accommodation and buying provisions. Stages of 15-18 km per day will suit most people. If you plan to walk longer each day, we recommend a rest day each week. You can also ride your horse at the St.Olavsleden trail. There are suitable lodgings for riders and horses along the route. Apart from certain sections to make the trip safe for rider and horse alike, the riding route follows the same trail. Remember to check vaccinations and your animal health certificate so your horse can cross the border. You will find a map and more information


As part of the St. Olav Ways, the St. Olavsleden trail received European Cultural Route status in 2010. Thousands of people come from all over the world each year to walk the trail. Some choose to walk the trail in stages, while others walk the whole route from coast to coast.If you want

to walk the entire trail you should calculate 4-5 weeks on the trip and plan well. Accommodation should always be arranged in advance, and most importantly: Pack easily and pack properly. SHORT WALK Many people choose to walk parts of the trail and almost whatever starting point you choose for your stage on the St.Olavsleden trail, it will be easily accessible by public transport. This makes the whole route very flexible. The trail goes from Selånger to Trondheim. Between these two places the travel time by

Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no

WALKING THE ST.OLAVSLEDEN For those who want to walk, there are several possibilities. Some start in Selånger and walk the whole route to Trondheim, while others walk stages each year. Some select a special stage they wish to explore. Many people like to walk the last 100 km to the Nidaros Cathedral, so they receive the Olav Letter when they arrive in the city.

Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no

Åre-Stiklestad (112 km): Over the wonderful border mountains. Plan well for this stretch and pack provisions for at least three days. Stiklestad-Trondheim (134 km): Through a beautiful cultural landscape to Munkeby, where the trail divides. The inland route goes through a nice forest landscape, while the coastal route leads through coastal villages and districts to Tautra and then by boat across the fjord to Trondheim. WONDERFUL CYCLING STAGES More and more choose to bike and the St. Olavsleden trail is well adapted for cycling. The trail leads through farming areas and past lovely lakes. On the way to the mountains, it leads you through beautiful birch forests up to the border (700 m a.s.l.). There are wonderful views of both the Norwegian and Swedish sides. Sami reindeer herders have used the areas as grazing lands for centuries and that remains the case today. Visit www.stolavsleden.com to download a special cycling map. As most of the trail is accessible by public transport, you can take

your bike with you on the bus and start your trip where you like. ENJOYABLE WITH A DOG Many like taking their dog as a hiking companion and, with some preparations, it’s quite possible. On some sections of the trail, shops are few and far between, so it’s important to take enough food for two-legged and four-legged pilgrims. We recommend taking a first aid kit for the dog and using tick repellent. Special rules also apply for dogs crossing the border, including deworming treatment before crossing from Sweden to Norway. Contact your vet well before setting off and ensure the dog has a pet passport including all necessary vaccinations. Several accommodation providers will welcome your four-legged friend, but we recommend arranging this in advance. Good preparations translate into a great trip. Regardless of whether you walk, ride or bike, we can promise you wonderful nature-based experiences along the way.

- The St.Olavsleden trail is 564 km from Selånger to Trondheim. Allow approx. 28 days to walk the entire trail (20 km per day). Most of the St. Olavsleden trail is easily accessible by train. SEASONS: Spring: Spring is a wonderful time for walking, but you need to check if there is still snow in the border mountains. Summer: June and July are perhaps the finest time to walk along the trail. In August, it starts to become cooler in the evenings, but this is also a great time for walking. Autumn: September is a wonderful time for walking. In October, snow can fall in some areas. If you plan to walk in the autumn, it’s important to dress warmly as the weather can change quickly, particularly in the mountains. TRIP PLANNER: You will find maps, places to stay and suggestions for long and short trips on stolavsleden.com and pilegrimsleden.no



ACCOMMODATION GUEST HOUSES, HOTELS AND PILGRIM HOSTELS More than 200 accommodation options are affiliated with the St. Olavsleden trail and most people doing the route choose to stay at these. Many farms have converted a storehouse or a few rooms into pilgrim accommodation. The prices are affordable but count on sharing a room with other pilgrims. If you want your own room, you should therefore look for a B&B, guest house or hotel. Except for larger hotels in the main towns, you should book all accommodation in advance, also at pilgrim hostels. Several places are run on a voluntary basis, so be patient if you don’t receive an immediate response. You can pay by card at most places, but it’s a good idea to check this when you book. Some places serve delicious food based on local produce, and their rich cultural heritage makes these a real experience.

ABOVE: Stiklestad Pilgrim Guest Loft is located in a beautifully furnished house in a historic location. BELOW: Nidaros Pilgrim’s Hotel in Trondheim has a beautiful location just off Nidaros Cathedral. Photos: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no


CAMPING SITES As camping has always been popular in Sweden, you will find many nice camping sites. Many sites have idyllic locations and most rent out basic cabins. All have toilet and shower facilities, many have a small kiosk and some even have a café. There are few camping sites in Norway. Good options are farm stays or renting via Airbnb or cabin rental agencies. TENT AND RUSTIC SHELTER. The unique Swedish and Norwegian Right of Public Access means you can roam freely in nature and even pitch your tent for up to two nights in the same place. If you bring a tent, you have countless options providing you are considerate towards the nature and don’t camp too close to houses and cabins. You will also find rustic shelters along the trail. Although basic, they are a good alternative to your tent when it’s raining heavily. You will also find basic, unmanned cabins, and if you choose any of these options you are almost guaranteed to have unique nature experiences with the purchase. Maybe you wake up to the sight of a moose standing and grazing in the woods, maybe a fox is tripping lightly across the grass and an owl is singing you to sleep. If planning to camp, you need more provisions and obviously your backpack will be heavier. We recommend packing your backpack and having a few day hikes before making a final decision because it’s easy to overestimate your strength. Good planning and packing light are necessities for a good walking experience. We have made a packing list to help you, which is on page 15. ABOVE: Träporten in Bräcke is one of several nice campsites along St.Olavsleden in Sweden. BELOW: You can find many nice places to camp if you choose to sleep in a tent. Photos: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no



THE PILGRIM ENTHUSIAST Chin-Yu Lee’s first encounter with pilgrimages was when she accompanied her sister on some stages of Henro, one of Japan’s major pilgrim routes. During the summer, Chin-Yu walked the St. Olavleden trail from coast to coast alone. Thirty days and nearly 600 km later, she can honestly say she has become a very enthusiastic pilgrim walker.

Text: Gunn Merete Roll

One could say that the fact Chin-Yu Lee ended up settling in Trondheim is due to a somewhat strange coincidence. Or was it really a coincidence? Chin-Yu is in no doubt. “I went on a backpacking trip to Europe when I was 24. After visiting Spain and Germany, I planned to spend a few days in Sweden.” After a previous trip to Europe, she was fascinated by the Scandinavian country and looked forward to using her Interrail pass to travel north in Sweden by train and experience the Arctic Circle and the Midnight Sun. While planning her trip, she talked with a travel adviser who recommended her to visit Norway while she was in Scandinavia because it had beautiful fjords and mountains. “I hadn’t considered going to Norway, but I decided to include 10 days there in my itinerary. I was supposed to cross the border at Narvik but, due to the train company’s summer timetable, that didn’t work out. Coming from the East, I had never heard about seasonal timetables, so I had to change my plan there and then.” She ended up travelling from Östersund to Trondheim, which by coincidence became the first Norwegian city she visited. On that same trip, she met her future husband on a bus trip to Geiranger. A few years later, she completed a master’s degree in environmental management and politics in Lund, Sweden, before love led her back to Trondheim.

everything really. I had a strong feeling that I already knew this area. It felt like coming home. It might sound strange but, as I grew up in a Buddhist/Taoist home, the belief in karma and that we live multiple lives is a matter of course. I’m sure I lived here in a past life and that I was destined to return.” Chin-Yu keeps in regular touch with her family in Taiwan. Back in 2017, when her sister planned to do the 1200 km long Henro pilgrimage route in Japan for the second time, she met her sister there to walk some stages together. Her sister not only completed the entire route on her first attempt, she also wrote a book about her experience. Chin-Yu found this inspiring and started thinking about going on her own pilgrimage.

REFLECTION AND PEACE “I’m very interested in cultural events. One of my favourites is the wonderful St. Olav’s Festival in Trondheim every year. I visited a stand there a few years ago informing about the trail. In many ways, Sweden and Norway represent my Nordic identity and I’m extremely fond of both countries. When I wanted to go on a pilgrimage, St. Olavsleden became an obvious choice.” Chin-Yu says that her parents are religious and, although she does not practice the same religion, this provides a foundation for which she is grateful. “To me, it doesn’t matter which god you LOVING LIFE IN TRØNDELAG believe in. I think the spiritual aspects are Chin-Yu has now lived in Trondheim for 16 important, perhaps even more so today. It years. She currently works as a climate adviser also involves having an inner dialogue and an at Trondheim City Council and enjoys life in understanding of how everything is connecTrondheim. ted. I didn’t learn anything about Christianity “I like the city, the people and the culture... at school, but I enjoy going to churches. My


son was Christened at the Nidaros Cathedral and I have great respect for churches. It’s also a place to find peace and to reflect.” OUTSIDE HER COMFORT ZONE Chin-Yu is extremely pleased she chose the St. Olavleden trail. Walking from coast to coast through the countries she is so fond of was a fantastic experience. “The cultural landscape the trail leads through is so beautiful. This walking was a way I could express my gratitude for everything I have experienced here.” She adds that although she has no problems being alone, she felt that being alone out in the nature was outside her comfort zone. After deciding to do this pilgrimage, she gradually began to prepare by going on walks and by practicing Qigong to be in harmony with herself. She also read a book on Taoism about being at one with nature. “The values I have coming from the East have helped me a lot. Years ago, when I was backpacking, I learned that I wasn’t alone but that I was with myself. After all, you should be your own best friend. Learning to live with oneself and being alone is the most important lesson one can learn in life. It enables you to enjoy life as well as to enjoy other people’s company.” 30-DAY WALKING Chin-Yu took care of practical things like a packing list and maps and quickly decided she wanted to arrange all her accommodation in advance. She contacted Ruben at Nordic Pilgrim. In addition to providing a lot of good advice, they booked all her accommodation for her. “It was very good because I knew all

Photo: Chin-yu Lee

the practical details were taken care of.” She settled on 24 June 2019 as her starting date. She expected to use 30 days to complete the walking but wanted to allow a few extra days to ensure she was back in Trondheim in time for the opening of the St. Olav’s Festival on 29 July. “It worked out just fine. I walked around 20 km per day and had one rest day along the way.” Chin-Yu was careful not to pack too much and, since she planned to sleep inside, there was no need to take a tent and sleeping bag. She stayed in a mixture of pilgrim hostels, private homes, youth hostels and hotels. “The standard of accommodation varied but everything was clean and nice,” she says. “My bag weighed about 8 kg, which worked out

fine. Naturally I was a bit stiff and sore some days but overall the entire trip was perfect.” FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER PILGRIMS “Most of the time I walked alone, but two of my friends came and walked stages with me and sometimes I walked with other pilgrims. I met a pilgrim from the Netherlands who was walking the trail at the same time. We got to know each other well and often met up for dinner together in the evening.” When you go on a pilgrimage, you have a mutual experience and you can make life-long friendships. “I enjoyed walking alone during the daytime, but it was also wonderful to arrive at the pilgrim hostels in the evening. You meet others

who are on a pilgrimage and listen to their stories. I perceive it as a gift to meet such nice people.” CULINARY EXPERIENCES “I’m a foodie and I love good food. Although most food tastes good after a whole day walking outside, I would like to mention three especially memorable culinary experiences along the way,” says Chin-Yu enthusiastically. In Revsund, she stayed with a couple who are friends with Ruben. “They run a brewery and bakery called Bakgården and invited me to dine with them. I was served delicious soup, home-baked bread and beer they had brewed themselves. That’s one place I would love to go back to.”


She also describes her experience at Skalstugan in the border mountains. You cannot book in advance there, but she decided to take a chance. “I contacted them a few days before I was due to arrive. Not only did they have space, I was extremely fortunate to be served a wonderful three-course meal with a large group of bank employees and their families at the start of their holiday. It was like a proper farewell from Sweden.” She also wishes to highlight Folden Gård, a farm 20 km of Trondheim, where she was served sodd, a Trøndelag specialty consisting of mutton, meatballs, carrots and potatoes. “At Folden, they also put green peas in their sodd. It’s worth pointing out that authentic Trøndelag sodd has long traditions and it’s not something people in Trøndelag fool around with. But I have to say that it was absolutely delicious!” agreement with a publisher in Taiwan. She has joined a pilgrim association and is active on social media. This was no doubt appreciated by the many people who followed her pilgrimage via daily updates on Facebook and Instagram. As Chin-Yu has been bitten by the pilgrimage bug, her next pilgrimage is probably not far away.

Photos: Chin-yu Lee

TATTOO When Chin-Yu had completed her pilgrimage, she wanted to mark that she had experienced this as an important event in her life. She chose a permanent mark – and got the pilgrim logo tattooed on her ankle. Chin-Yu is now writing a book about her experience and has already signed an

Photo: Eskil Roll


The pilgrim’s staff (or walking stick), passport and outfit characterised pilgrims during the Middle Ages, and helped ensure their safe passage on the dangerous journey to Nidaros. Receiving and helping pilgrims was considered so important that


detailed rules for this were written in the laws of the Gulating, one of Norway’s earliest legislative assemblies. To day the passport makes an excellent souvenir of your trip. The pilgrim centres and most accommodation providers along the route issue

and stamp pilgrim passports. Everyone who walks the last 100 km or bikes/rides the last 200 km to the Nidaros Cathedral qualifies for the pilgrim diploma, also known as the ‘Olav Letter’. The Olav Letter is presented at the Nidaros Pilgrim Centre.


TRIP PL ANNER: You should carry a map and compass even though the trail is well marked, and you have GPS on your mobile phone. The map and compass will be a good back up in case you get a flat battery or encounter poor mobile coverage. You will find maps, places to stay and suggestions for long and short trips on stolavsleden.com and pilegrimsleden.no GUIDEBOOKS: Search the web for: - St. Olavsleden by Söderlund & Sjöstrøm (English and Swedish) - St. Olavspad by Ria Warmerdam (German and Dutch)

GETTING THERE Air: Airports in Sundsvall, Østersund and Trondheim. Info: sas.se and norwegian.com Train: The train between Trondheim and Sundsvall stops at many places which the pilgrim trail passes through. Info: sj.se and vy.no Bus: Local bus routes link most of the places along the St. Olavsleden trail. Info for Norway: en-tur.no Info for Sweden: dintur.se


Selånger Pilegrimssenter selanger.forsamling@svenskakyrkan.se Tlf: +46(60)563575 Stiklestad Pilegrimssenter heidi.brimi@stolavsleden.com Tlf: +47 932 17 739 Nidaros Pilegrimsgård Mail: post@pilegrimsgarden.no Tlf: +47 73 52 50 00 The pilgrimage centres in Borgsjö, Gällö, Frösö og Åre opens in summer 2020.

Photo: Heidi C.Brimin

Photo: Eskil Roll


PILGRIM BOAT The St. Olavleden trail divides into two separate routes at Levanger. If you choose to walk the coastal route, you can take the pilgrim boat from Tautra to Trondheim.There is no scheduled boat on the route, but there is a pilgrimage boat every Thursday at 1500 from Tautra harbor from June 1 to Aug. 30; Price 500, - per. pers. The ticket is purchased at Klostergården and no advance booking is required. Boat cruises can also be booked on other days or from Frosta to Steinviksholmen. Price by arrangement. For orders outside Thursdays, contact Jan Kjørsvik at jan@frostahageby.no +47 911 36 760.


Photo: Eskil Roll

This is our recommendation for packing for both shorter and longer pilgrimage trips. Remember to check the possibilities of shopping for groceries on the route you are going, in some places it is far between the shops. Weather and temperature vary widely. Therefore, bring an extra layer of wool (sweater and stilongs) if you are going in the spring or autumn. CLOTHES AND SHOES: Steady, waterproof, hiking boots Preferably also a pair of lighter sneakers 2 pairs of socks (wool mix) Woollen mittens + woolen hat 2 sets of underwear (wool mix) Light wind jacket and fleece jacket Hiking pants Shorts and t-shirt (not cotton) Rainwear (jacket and pants) Slippers (for indoor use)

EQUIPMENT: Suitably large backpack with rain cover Travel sheet (or light sleeping bag) First aid kit with blister plasters and sports tape Small roll of gaffer tape Map (in waterproof folder), compass Small knife and matches/lighter Small headlamp/torch Cash + bank card Mobile phone + charger + power bank

TOILETRIES: Soap, comb and sun cream Toothbrush/toothpaste (travelset) Insect repellent and medications Extra glasses and contact lenses Sunglasses 1 microfibre towel + face cloth Some toilet paper in a bag

PROVISIONS: Light drinking bottle + small thermos Provisions for 1-2 days + a bit more IF YOU PLAN TO CAMP: Light tent + sleeping pad + sleeping bag Gas primus + light pot Plate and spork




Photo og text: Troset Farm

TWO-DAY WALK PIlgrimage with a visit to a monastery, local food, qigong, mind-fulness in beautiful Trøndelag landskape. You will join a guided walk through beautiful scenery from Troset to Munkeby. Along the way you will learn simple qigong and mindfulness exercises guaranteed to enhance your experience. Distance approx. 20 km /day Max. 6 pers.

The landscape opens on the trip down from the mountain as you walk along the pilgrimage route from Munkeby to Markabygda. Here is the farm Troset, one of the oldest settlements in the area, with a restored farmhouse from 1780. The farm Troset is still in full operation, and in the summer you will meet both goats and cows on pasture. Troset has accommodation for pilgrims in a cottage and in the granny-house. At the farm you will also find the Troset clinic where you can get acupuncture and where they regularly arrange courses in mind-fulnes and qigong.

Day 1: Arrival Troset. Mindfulness at Troset. We prepare our own dinner. Accommodation Day 2: Breakfast and making your packed lunch. Walking to Munkeby with mindfullness. 2-course dinner at Munkeby. Evening walk to the monastery with qigong. Munkeby cheese and beer by the open fire. Accommodation w/breakfast at Munkeby hostel. Included: 2 x accommodation. All meals. Guided walk. Mindfulness and qigong Cosy open fire in the monastery ruins.

ONE-DAY WALK A different walk with mindfuldness and qigong, ending with a 3-course dinner. You will join a guided walk from Troset to Munkeby. In addition to beautiful nature, you will experience mindfuness and qigong on the way. The lunch is served al fresco. On arrival to Munkeby, a delicious 3-course dinner awaits you. Possibility of attending completorium at Munkeby Maria monastery. Min. 6 pers. Max. 11 personer. Included: Guided walk. Qigong and mindfulness Lunch on the way. 3-course dinner. Prayers. Transport. BOOKING TO: hakon.fiskvik@ ntebb.no heidi.troset@gmail.com Phone:+47 99692315 Read more at: trosetklinikken.no

Photo: Eskil Roll


Join us as we retrace the pilgrim’s journey from Munkeby Monastery to Stiklestad. Discover the fascinating history about Saint Olav and the Munkeby Monastery, which lay on the route between Jämtland and Levanger. You will also gain insight into the French monks who live at the new Munkeby Mariakloster/Maria Monastery today. Max: 14 people For more information or to book contact Visit Innherred: Email: post@visitinnherred.com Tel no: +47 74 40 17 16 16

Day 1: 16.00 Arrival at Munkeby Old Monastery, where you will hear the story of the monastery. 17.00 You go up to Munkeby Hostel where Håkon welcomes you. Here you can taste the popular Munkeby cheese produced at Munkeby Mariak Monestary, close to the farm. Many regards this as Norway’s best cheese. You can also taste Munkeby Beer, specially brewed by Inderøy Farm brewery 17.45 Relaxation and socializing. 19.00 The evening ends with a two course dinner and accommodation at Munkeby Hostel. Day 2: 07.00 Departure to Munkeby Maria Monastery 07.15 You attend the prayer in Munkeby Maria Monastery, together with the monks in the monastery. 08.00 A nice lunch at Munkeby Hostel. 09.00 Pilgrimage to Stiklestad. The trail is part of St.Olavsleden that goes from Stiklestad to Nidaros. The trip takes 4-5 hours, is 21 km long and the terrain is easy to walk through forests


and fields. The areas you walk through have been the centerpieces of the Norwegian Viking Age and the Middle Ages. On arrival Stiklestad you will be served lunch and attend guided tours in Stiklestad church, St Olav´s Chapel and Stiklastadir Longhouse. Then it’s time to relax or to walk around Stiklestad on your own. 19.00 In the evening, you can enjoy dinner and dessert in a quiet setting at Stiklestad Hotell. Accommodation at the hotel. The tour costs from NOK 2100 per person in double room, included tour of Munkeby old monastery, taste of Munkebycheese and Munkeby beer, two-course dinner and accommodation with breakfast at Munkeby hostel, guided tour at Stiklestad National Cultural Center, two-course dinner and accommodation with breakfast at Stiklestad hotel. In addition, there may be transportation of luggage and a guide. If you come to Munkeby by car, we will arrange transportation back.


Photo og text Nordic Pilgrim


Your Nordic Pilgrim-contact along St.Olavsleden is Ruben Heijloo. Ruben has been active in promoting St.Olavsleden in Holland and Germany. He himself has cycled and walked from Selånger to Trondheim to get to know the trail properly. Nordic Pilgrim offers trips along St. Olavsleden trail: in stages, the complete route, individually or in a group. Let Nordic Pilgrim arrange the practical part – then you can just enjoy the walk. Nordic Pilgrim can arrange accommodation, meals, luggage transport, pilgrim passes, roadmaps, information about points of inte-

rest along the world’s most northern pilgrim route. If you have questions or encounter problems during your trip then there is always a contact available in the region. Would you like to take care of food yourself? Then you receive a list indicating food shops and dining and cooking facilities along the route. Do you just have a short period of time? Together with Nordic Pilgrim you pick the best option for you. And if you carry your own luggage while walking, traveling can be even more ‘low budget’. POSSIBLE STAGES : SELÅNGER - BRÄCKE: approx. 7 days. The St. Olav´s trail begins in Selånger, on the Swedish east coast, which has a kind of Mediterranean atmosphere to it. After a walk through deep forests, along lakes and forgotten roads, this stage ends in the village of Bräcke. BRÄCKE - ÖSTERSUND: approx. 5 days. The second stage of St. Olavsleden is the shortest of the route: it starts in Bräcke and ends in Östersund, the capital of the province of Jämtland.


It is a pleasant walk, which passes historical sites and picturesque villages. ÖSTERSUND - ÅRE: approx. 6 days. From Östersund, the pilgrimage continues over rolling green hills, crossing the islands of Frösön and Rödön in the direction of the Swedish-Norwegian mountains and the bustling ski village of Åre. ÅRE - STIKLESTAD: approx. 5 days. This stage follows the trail through the mountains, across the Swedish-Norwegian border. From there, the route goes downhill. It’s a lovely walk through valley’s in the direction of Stiklestad, where King Olav died in 1030. STIKLESTAD - TRONDHEIM: approx. 7 days. The final part of St. Olavsleden follows the Trondheim fjord, where it passes through rural areas and suburbs until the final destination: the impressive Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, where St. Olav lies buried. STIKLESTAD - TRONDHEIM (coastal route): approx. 5 days. The coastal route follows the road across Frosta peninsula and Tautra island. The last stage of this route is by boat – which makes the planning a bit harder.

Photo og tekst: Aktivut


The outdoor event organiser Aktivut was started in 2000 by Sofie Jugård Löfgren and Crister Löfgren. They believe that the Right of Public Access and the opportunities this offers is an important part of the Scandinavian nature and cultural heritage. Aktivut has a team of knowledgeable experts with considerable experience arranging outdoor events, including food, logistics, accommodation, transport and anything else needed to create great experiences.

Aktivut has been involved in the development of St.Olavsleden for many years and in the summer of 2019 has contributed to improved facilitation for cyclists. Aktivut offers tour and bicycle packages for different routes along the entire route from Selånger to Trondheim for both hikers and cyclists. You can choose to start in Selånger, Östersund, Åre or Stiklestad and end in Trondheim. Tailor-made hiking and

biking packages with luggage transport, accommodation, meals and guide can also be booked. If you want to stay indoors and have everything organized around luggage transport and meals, there is every opportunity to find a package that suits you, otherwise we will put together a special package. Read more on our website www.aktivuttravels.com 17



Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no

Heidi Troset and archaeologist Heidi Carine Brimi from Stiklestad Pilgrim Center.

Stiklestad Pilgrim Center invites you to a pilgrimage from Stiklestad to Trondheim through the historic and beautiful Trøndelag landscape. On this guided walk, you will enjoy wonderful nature-based experiences and gain knowledge of the region’s rich cultural heritage. On the way to the Nidaros Cathedral, you will be part of a fellowship, learn fascinating history, visit traditional pilgrim hostels and eat local food. We walk approx. 20 km per day with a daypack. Hilly terrain, no mountains. The trail is a mix of gravel roads,

asphalt and forest trails. Luggage transport. Accommodation and dinner are included. Our guided pilgrimages in 2020: WITH MINDFULNESS AND QIGONG Dates: 14. – 21. June 2020 Price: 11 900,- NOK We start our pilgrimage at Stiklestad on Sunday 14th June with a welcome dinner and a tour of the medieval Stiklastadir farm. We will learn about and perform mindfulness and qigong daily. The walk is led by qigong and mindfulness instructor

PILGRIMAGE OF PEACE Dates: 18. – 23. August 2020 Price: 11 300,- NOK This is a historical and spiritual pilgrimage along the outer part of St. Olavsleden. The theme of the pilgrimage is peace. Activities include visits to the Falstad Center of peace and human rights and the 22nd of July memorial room at the Tautra Monastery. Specialist guides, Qioging and mindfulness are among the program details.The Jekt ”Pauline” from 1897 will take us across the fjord from Tautra to Trondheim. The walk is led by archaeologist Heidi Carine Brimi from Stiklestad Pilgrim Center. Details and booking at www.stiklestadpilgrimscenter.org

MUSIC & MOVEMENT - FOR GROUPS Registration: sofia@mentha.se, www.mentha.se Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/stolavsledenmusic/

Music & Movement - for groups - Experience life with all senses With balance in your body and in the meeting with nature and music, you get access to the calmness, self-healing and power within you. We offer tours for groups; choirs, teams, associations etc. During the walk: music and storytelling about St. Olavsleden with Sofia Sahlin and body knowledge with Helle Axel Nilsson. We provide food, accommodation and baggage transport. Starting point: Anywhere along the route. Dates: Throughout the whole hiking season. 18

In the Footsteps of Saints, 6th-9th of august 2020, Selånger-Borgsjö Listen to music and storytelling about St. Olav, St. Anna and St. Bridget, all three of them with special bonds to St. Olavsleden and pilgrimage. We learn body knowledge and walking in a free and sustainable way. Short day tours and bus/train. 4 days of walking (3 nights) – 8000 Skr, including - Body knowledge, storytelling and music during 4 days - Full accomodation, meals and transfer.

WALKING AND COURSE LEADERS: Helle Axel-Nilsson in Ergoakademin has developed and established courses in physical consciousness and ergonomics. Her background as a rythmic pedagogue, stress release pedagogue and massage therapist gives her a musical, pedagogic and anatomical understanding in her way of working. Tel: +46 73 691 55 23. www.ergoakademin.se Sofia Sahlin is an educated cantor and has performed ”pilgrimage concerts” since 2012 based both on the inner journey and on the history of St. Olav. She has worked in symphony orchestras and as a chamber musician. Sofia holds a master’s degree in flute from the Royal Music Academy of Sweden and one year in the Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam. Tel: +46 70 628 83 58. www.mentha.se/vandringar


Photo and text: Auskin


Auskin provides a space to rest, lower your shoulders and feel that ‘home’ can be right here and now. We make room for pilgrims who want one or more rest days during the walk. You can attend 3 or 6 day courses in wood carving, painting or other creative techniques. You can also choose to just rest, either joining the community around our long table with good food and meaningful conversations, or alone in the garden by the outdoor fire. You can also swim in the river, and you can stay as many days as you want. It is possible to book time with the on-site

art therapist, either to investigate existential issues that have emerged during the walk, get help interpreting dreams, or simply let the subconscious be expressed using colors and shapes. Every evening from 7 pm to 8 pm you have the opportunity to attend in guided meditation / contemplation or sit in silence, together with other pilgrims. There is also room for sitting alone both inside and outside. The legend says that Olav had his last rest here at Auskin, (the field around is called Olav’s rest place - Olavsrasten) before

heading towards Stiklestad and the final battle. Knowing that Olav sat here nearly 1,000 years ago, led by a dream, gives a special feeling and room to question his own intention and reason for the journey. Our workshop is filled with the good smell of wood, and there are ongoing courses in various crafts. You can also get a guided tour. Here at this place, large parts of the ornamentation of the long house at Stiklastadir were drawn and cut. It was this work that first led us to Auskin. In the library, pilgrims can find many different books. You can bring a book with you in bed or lie down and read in the shade of the tree in the garden. We are always available for a chat about life, death and love and always have a good hug in stock. Greetings Mona and Kai AKS - Auskin Creative Center Vukuveien 971, 7660 VUKU, Norway Tel: +47 45 08 28 38 Web: http://auskin.no/

GUIDING ON THE ST. OLAVSLEDEN Imagine walking from monastery to monastery along the shores of the Trondheimfjord. You can experience this on the 57 km long trail from Munkeby monastery in Levanger to the ruins of Tautra Abbey. This is a four-day walk staying at Munkeby Herberge, the Falstad Centre and Oldervik Herberge at Frosta before reaching cosy Klostergården at Tautra. Jorun Mari Børstad is a pilgrim guide who has led around 300 pilgrims to Tautra over the past four years. The common denominator is experiences and joy.

Photo: Heidi Carine Brimi

Visiting the monks at Munkeby and tasting their famous cheese, wading in the Levanger river and lighting candles at the 12th century Alstadhaug stone church are unique experiences that create peace of body and mind, she says. Visiting the Catholic nuns at the Lady Chapel is another special calming experience. Other experiences include visiting Tinghaugen at Frosta and the Logtun stone church. Jorun leads monastery walking tours and one-day walks on the section of the St. Olavsleden along the fjord. If you wish to hear more about the tours, please contact Jorun Mari by e-mail: jorunmari1@gmail.com 19


Photo: Eskil Roll, rollphoto.no

St. Olavsleden runs from Selånger (at Sundsvall). From there the trail goes to Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. The trail follows in the footsteps of the saint king Olav II Haraldsson. St.Olavsleden trail goes through a beautiful and varied nature, and is suitable for both short and long walks. As part of the pilgrimage trails, St.Olavsleden got European Cultural Road status in 2010. Every year, people from all over the world come to walk here. Some people choose to walk in stages, others choose to walk the entire stretch from coast to coast. (564km)

Administration for the St. Olav’s rail in Norway:

Administration for the St. Olav’s trail in Sweden:

Stiklestad Pilgrim Centre

Selånger Pilgrim Centre

Info: stolavsleden.com and pilegrimsleden.no

Info: www. stolavsleden.com

Follow us on facebook @stolavsleden og @Pilegrimsleden Instagram: @stolavsleden og @pilegrimsleden_st.olavways Editorial content for the info magazine St. Olavleden: Heidi Carine Brimi, Stiklestad Pilgrim Centre and Gunn Merete Roll, rollcompany.no The info magazine St. Olavleden was developed and designed by rollcompany.no © The magazine content and design may not be copied in whole or in part without our permission. English translation: Gavin Tanguay Oversetting og språkvasking Text & graphic design: rollcompany.no (unless otherwise specified) Photos: Eskil Roll, rollfoto.no (unless otherwise specified)


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S:t Olavsleden Info Magazine 2020  

News, interviews, useful tips and an overview of tours and offers in 2020.

S:t Olavsleden Info Magazine 2020  

News, interviews, useful tips and an overview of tours and offers in 2020.