Torfhildur Runa Gunnarsdottir from Iceland and Ger Lenssen from the Netherlands have both walked several pilgrim trails around Europe throughout the years. In 2017 they ran into each other walking from Oslo to Trondheim. They didn’t want to walk alone, so they kept each other company. It was soon decided that they would meet up for a second walk together. In the end of May 2019 they travelled to Sundsvall to start the 580 kilometre-long hike along St. Olavsleden together – from Selånger to Trondheim. We spoke with them in Östersund to hear more about their walk.
You have been hiking for about ten days – how was the first part of the walk?
– ‘It has been good. Nice weather and easier walking than the path from Oslo to Trondheim. It’s easy to find nice places to stay along the trail and the people we meet are so nice’ – says Ger.
– ‘The “fjäll” are only hills here compared to Norways mountains’ – continues Runa.
How did you choose to walk S:t Olavsleden?
– ‘When we walked together in 2017 we both heard about it. We then also met a man from Switzerland who had hiked St. Olavsleden and recommended it’ – says Ger.
– ‘Ger contacted me a while back and we soon started planning for this trip’ – says Runa.
You’re planning to walk for about 30 days. How have you prepared for such a long hike?
– ‘I sometimes walk long distances at home, but here I had some trouble the first two days when the road was mostly asphalt. It’s much better hiking 30 km in the woods than 20 km on asphalt!’ – says Runa.
– ‘I walk about three times a week at home. But in the Netherlands it’s not always easy to find challenging paths – since it’s so flat. I need to build up my condition however, so it’s necessary to walk at home anyway’ – says Ger.
This is your sixth pilgrim trail, Runa. And you have also done several, Ger. What is it that makes you want to come back to the pilgrim trails?
– ‘I think it’s something about these hikes that makes people open up and get close to each other. I’m still in contact with some of the people that I met along Camino Frances, which was my first Pilgrim hike.’
– ‘There is an absolute freedom, being in nature and having nothing to think about but yourself. There’s no disturbances here’ –says Ger.
Do you have any tips for people thinking about walking St. Olavsleden, but who haven’t made up their mind yet?
‘Go for it! St. Olavsleden is beautiful, safe and well marked – it’s a good pilgrim trail to start with’ – says Runa.