Meet the owners of the pilgrim hostel in Munkeby, Norway: Håkon Fiskvik & Sissel Eldal.
In 2008 the Levanger municipality asked us to provide housing for pilgrims. We did some renovating and are now using an old storehouse from 1681 to provide accommodation in Munkeby. And it is going very well!
2015 was an exceptional good year. We had 207 pilgrims who stayed over. Additionally there were travellers who stopped at our place to get a stamp for their pass or to buy some food. Most pilgrims were Swedish, but we also met many people from Germany, Holland, Denmark and Norway. Others came from Switzerland, France, Italy, USA, Poland, Great Britain and Russia.
There is one pilgrim story that we will always remember. We received a call from Stiklestad on the 6th of December 2013. A pilgrim from Poland had arrived there, but they couldn’t provide him with accommodation because of Christmas celebrations. The man had been a soldier in Afghanistan and had many traumas that he wanted to process during his walk. He started in Östersund and bought snowshoes in Åre – leaving him without money, surviving on snow, biscuits and dry noodles, while he was using the soft top of a car as shelter. With up to two meters of snow and a blizzard in the mountains, he was soaking wet and cold. He stayed with us for two days, to dry his clothes and eat as much as he could, before he continued his hike to Trondheim. A good example that preparation is essential when walking this route!
We are very excited about the future of St. Olavsleden and hope that it will be possible to have enough accommodation for all pilgrims – because the number of visitors is growing every year. And based on the stories we hear from our guests, more and more people will come to Norway and Sweden to experience walking St. Olavsleden, after for example walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Because walking a pilgrim’s way is something special.