How long has it been since I last posted? Months and months. Here I am in Norway, with a final exam tomorrow morning at 8 for the intensive Norwegian class I’ve been taking all summer, and yet now is the moment I finally feel like writing. Go figure. Perhaps it’s simply procrastination. (Why yes, I should be studying, or sleeping.) But the bottom line is that I feel inspired to write and I am not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth. And, this is the perfect story to tie my Norway adventures back to the Camino.
Two and a half years ago, when I began (vigorously) preparing for my first Camino and was spending significant amounts of time poring over Ivar’s Camino Forum, I contacted Nidarosa, pilgrim and author of Camino blog, Somewhere Slowly for advice on backpacks. Yesterday, right here in Oslo, after communicating for 2 1/2 years via the forum, Facebook, and email, I finally met Nida in person for the first time. After we hugged, she told me she was fully expecting to see me with my walking sticks, we laughed, then headed to a nearby sushi restaurant to “catch up”.
What a joy it is to meet fellow pilgrims in person. It never ceases to amazing me how connected we can feel to people we have never met or spoken with.
As you know, I have met several other Camino bloggers over the course of the past couple of years: In April 2015 I did a beautiful training hike for my second Camino with Jen of Jen’s Journey while I was visiting my mom in Portland, Oregon. Jen, incidentally, did her second Camino this year, a “reverse” Camino. Check out her blog to find out more.
Then, in June 2015 on the north coast of Spain, I met Nadine, who writes about her Caminos (she’s on one right now) at Begin with a Single Step. Nadine and I had begun communicating via our blogs in the spring of 2015 and coincidentally began walking the Camino del Norte from Irún on the same day. Our experiences on the Norte were very different and her story is extremely inspiring and motivating.
I also ended up randomly meeting Denise from Jakobsweb Blog/My Camino blog that same summer in Santiago de Compostela when her boyfriend recognized me from photos on my blog. The three of us had dinner together and shared our Camino stories.
Each meeting has been a gift and a pleasure, in very different ways, and yesterday’s was no exception.
Nidarosa and I ate sushi, shared Camino stories, and she also filled me in on her upcoming 2018 Camino in Norway, on St. Olav’s Way. Although I had heard that there are pilgrim routes all over Europe, many of them, but not all, leading to Santiago de Compostela, the first I really heard about those in Norway was a couple of weeks ago, when I was backpacking in Sognefjellet, Norway, and we ran across this marker. I wish I had time to do more research and write more about the pilgrimages here, but sleep beckons. Suffice it to say, there are several routes here, all leading to the Nidarosa cathedral in Trondheim.
After sushi, Nida and I walked around the Stortinget neighborhood of Oslo, where I happily took photo after photo of the buildings. Oslo happens to be one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen and the architecture, old and new, blows me away. All of a sudden, she stopped, and pointed to a statue on a beautiful old yellow and white building and said, “There’s St. Olav”. A few minutes later, she pointed to the top of a tall modern building and called out, “Is that a shell?” We walked until we had a clear view, and sure enough, there on top of the building was a giant scallop shell.
Needless to say, we were thrilled to see these Camino symbols; it added even more to our already special “reunion”.
Now I really do need to draw this post to a close and get some sleep before my final examination early tomorrow morning. I hope to post more soon. Norway is beautiful and while it isn’t the Camino, I think it IS exciting to know that there are pilgrimage routes here.
Buen Camino, my friends.
P.S. Have you done a pilgrimage in Norway? Please tell us about it in the comments!