Starting the S:t Olavsleden

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June 27th 2018
Published: June 29th 2018
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Selangor to Sol Garden

Getting things ready to go

I suppose Sundsvall won't be much different from other Swedish towns in that most of the places I thoght I needed to get things done didn't open until 10 am, and in one case, not until 11 am. So it was a bonus to be directed to the post office to send a parcel to Elaine to meet her in Trondheim, after being initially misdirected to a newsagent. There I was able to post my parcel, get a pay-as-you-go SIM and meet a nice Swedish woman who had spent a little time a bit more than a little while ago helping muster cattle in the Kosciosko high country.

After buying some provisions for the day, I wanted to get my pilgrim passport stamped in Sundsvall, but the place that could do that didn't open for another hour, so I cut my losses and got the bus out to Selangor.

It is here the S:t Olavsleden route formally begins at the ruins of a former Selanger church. The have just opened a modern pilgrim centre here, and I succumbed to coffee and cake - another delay! So by the time I got on the road it was 1140, warming up steadily, and I had a full days walk ahead of me to get to my evening accommodation at Sol Garden.

It took a little while for the route to leave sealed roads, which are pretty awful to walk on most of the time, but parts of these ones had softened substantially in the heat and my walking pole rubber tips kept sticking and collecting bitumen. Not a pleasant feeling!

After about two hours walking, I came to Gisselån, where a delightful couple offer tea, coffee and a sandwich to the weary pilgrim, as well as advice on what to expect over the next few days. Even though I had had my lunch a little earlier, I wasn't going to pass up a nice cup of tea at that time.

The route was now following a combination of gravel road (gis-vagen) and dirt footpaths. This made for more pleasant walking, but didn't last long enough.

The last leg really dragged on. After shopping for food in Matfors, there was about 6.5 km to go. A little bitumen but mostly it was unsealed. I finally got to Sol Garden about 2030 almost totally bushed, had a shower and fell asleep with my washing soaking. Next thing I knew was that it was after midnight and i still needed to finish in laundry if I was to have clean clothes for the next leg.


29th June 2018

The Heat
Sounds like an intense first day Doug. The team at the office was thinking of you this week. Great to hear your update. My imagination hadn't conjured up heat sufficient to melt bitumen. I hope the sealed roads end soon if that continues!
30th June 2018

Hot roads
I think there must be some ideal composition of rock and bitumun, and mix of the bitumun itself, that keeps the surface stable in the heat. As for the weather - a walking pilgrim has to be walking, and has little choice if one wants to complete it as a walk. The temptation to stop walking is always there - I expect it will be somewhere in the background right to the very end.
1st July 2018

Hi Doug. Good to be able to do this (sort of) vicariously with you. Please, keep the reports coming, as you can manage. Are photos possible, too?
4th July 2018

Monika, I haven't worked out how to get photos from my camera to my tablet. If I can, I will share them. Otherwise I am putting the occasional phone photo onto Facebook. Doug

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