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Published: August 15th 2018
As we needed to leave the hotel at 7:30 this morning, I was up at 6:15 to get ready and have breakfast. We had a short walk to the station, as we are staying in it! Our train was due to depart at 8:04 and we were there in plenty of time. Once on board and bags were stowed, we could settle in to enjoy the journey. Our trip to Trondheim would take six and a half hours so there was lots of time to chill. The scenery along the way was simply stunning - we travelled alongside the biggest lake in Norway for quite a while and then at other times there would be fast flowing rivers alongside the train and mountains either side.
The train had wifi on board and I enjoyed catching up on some of my podcasts. The only other thing worth mentioning was when one of the guys in our group came back with a coffee in each hand (first mistake) and when the train, which is moving along very fast, jerked his coffee flew out of the cup - and onto my face and neck! It was bloody hot too and I could feel
it burn me. He was so apologetic and there wasn't much he could do - I happened to have some napkins so I used these to wipe the coffee off my face and neck. Felicia then handed me a pad of napkins she had soaked in icy cold water, so I used these to dab the spots that I felt were burnt. Anyway, I survived and at this stage it doesn't look like there is any damage - except for smelling of coffee until I could change my shirt at the hotel and wash it.
Once we arrived at Trondheim we walked to our hotel, which was only 5 minutes away. We checked in and dropped our bags in our rooms as we were headed out for a tour of the city at 4:30. We had a small bus pick us up from the hotel and drive us to the Nidaros cathedral (domen) which was really only a 15 minute walk away. I wish I had known this as I would have been happy to walk there and meet the group. This cathedral is the world's northernmost gothic cathedral and was built from 1070 onwards over the tomb of
St. Olav (Olaf - and no, not the cute snowman from Frozen!). Olav was a Viking King and it was he who bought Christianity to Norway. It is believed the cathedral was completed in 1300. St Olav is Norways patron saint, who's reputation shone far beyond the borders of his country. According to folklore, King Olav Haraldsson was buried after his death at the battle of Stiklestad in sandy ground near the river. After his body was moved to the town church, a spring appeared near his original gravesite that was alleged to hold miraculous healing powers in its waters. King Olav was ultimately declared a Saint and martyr and the grand cathedral was built on the site where his body had lain. For centuries, pilgrims have flocked to the cathedral from across Europe and today it stands as an icon of religious and cultural importance. The main religion in Norway now, and for many hundreds of years, is Lutheran.
A local guide shared with us many of these and other stories about Olav and this Cathedral whilst we were inside the building. We then met another local guide who would take us on a walking tour of the
town. She explained some more about the cathedral as well as the Archbishops Palace next door - which is the oldest such building in Scandinavia. We then wandered through the cemetery and to a path that went along the river. This is where we came across Bryggene (The Wharf) which was the old wharf of Trondheim. These colorful warehouses date back to the 18th century and have been lovingly restored after fire and years of decay. We then crossed the Gamle Bybro bridge. This bridge was originally built in 1681 but was damaged by fire before a new one was erected in 1861. This bridge took us into Bakklandet which is Trondheim's charming old quarter. The houses in this area are all beautiful, well-preserved wooden buildings which were originally the homes of the workers.
This is also the location of the first (and potentially the only) bike lift. The way it works is you ride up and place one foot on this box, and you must keep your leg fully straight. Then you press a button and the box moves and your foot is just on a small silver triangle thing so really you need the strength of your
fully extended leg to push you up the hill. It was designed by students at the Trondheim University and it is pretty funny to watch! People who have done it before seemed to be ok but we did see a few people try it for the first time and it is obviously harder than it looks. As soon as the metal triangle your foot is on, no longer feels the pressure, it drops back down into the slot to head back down the hill for another user. So the person on the bike loses momentum and starts to roll backwards lol.
We meandered along, stopping quite often to listen to what the guide was telling us. It was interesting but oh so slow. I decided, given our time was limited, that I would take off and explore on my own. I am glad I did this as I was getting tired of just standing around. I found out later some of the others wished they had done the same. I also hadn't eaten so I stopped at a shop and grabbed some blueberries and a drink. I enjoyed my walk along the waterfront especially when it went from the
old to the new as it was good to see how they have kept the history and yet been able to build more modern buildings but in keeping with the style. There is a beautiful bridge with rows of flowers on either side that took me back to my hotel.
Tonight we had a group dinner in the hotel. It was a nice meal and it was good to get to know some of the people a bit more. We had the gazpacho for entree followed by salmon with potatoes and then a Norwegian dessert (a lemon cake sort of thing). Yum.
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