Saturday, December 12, 2009
Hilsen fra Norge! Setting Forth
July 5, 2009
Hilsen fra Norge! That one should attempt in these times to replicate a medieval pilgrim walk in heathen Scandinavia might be rightly considered Quixotic, ala the Grand Spanish countryside conquistador “Don”. After all, the many pastoral parish churches I pass trekking the emerald Norwegian landscape are mostly locked, even today, a Sunday.
I must be some kind of sinner. Temperatures in my first five days in Norway, three of which I have walked, have been record breaking hot as Haedes—easily mid 30s daily. Early this morning, lethal lightning and crisply crackling thunder heralded the arrival of a chilling cooling trend. Pilgrimage, apparently, is about penance. Heat induces blisters and it will be a week before my pilgrim feet harden up. Every Chink in my weather proofed armor has been mercilessly laid bare. This may earn me an indulgence yet.
I am beginning to realize that if I am to walk the 4,250 kilometer Pacific Crest Trail Mexico to Canada, I should probably spend a month trekking trail with loaded rucksack and trail clad feet before leaving the Mexican border at Campo. But fragrant roses flower the pilgrim’s way. Yesterday, an attractive, appealing woman braked her car to a halt beside me as I walked at roadside. On learning I spoke English, she said (quote): “Where was it you would like me to give you a ride to?” Only later did I realize the only possible rejoinder: “Anywhere … Anywhere.”
Where my pedestrian feet took me was down on Norwegian earth—the Bønsnes Church. Built by Saint Olav himself in the 11th century after his storm tossed ship came safely ashore there.