Along The Pilgrim Way in Norway

For hundreds of years following the death of St. Olaf in 1031, medieval pilgrims would travel to Trondheim. There, near the place of his death, they hoped to acquire powers that the saint himself was said to possess. The route by which they arrived came to be known as The Pilgrim Way (or Trail).

Nidaros Cathedral

Today the incredible Nidaros Cathedral marks the culmination of the journey – and there have come to be several routes by which to arrive. The original began in Oslo, went north past Lake Mjosa, through the Gudbrandsdal valley, over the Dovre mountain, and 400 miles later arrived at the Nidaros Cathedral. I encourage you to read more by clicking here on the Pilgrim’s Way website.

The Pilgrim Way routes

I decided to include this subject as a post because the Biri church where Maria Thorson and her siblings were baptized is along The Pilgrim Way itself, identified by the marker below indicating “424 kilometers til Nidaros.” (Thanks to Mary Lokken for sending her photo of the marker.)

The Pilgrim Way marker at Biri

Other family places would have been near The Pilgrim Way too: Stjordal near Trondheim where Bertinus Estensen was born, Elverum where Elias and Kari Borreson were married, Loten where Borre Andersen and Maria Andersdatter lived, to name a few. These latter two and especially Biri are all near Lake Mjosa which the route touched. (You can see the lake in the background for Biri church in my April 15 post.)

After the Reformation, pilgrimages to Nidaros significantly dropped off in number, but we can wonder if our ancestors would still see some travelers making their way on this spiritual journey. In 1993, Norway began restoring the original route and opened it in 1997. Since then, others have been added. If you go to the site I mentioned above, you’ll see that a whole tour business has grown up around offering hikes on parts or all of this ancient route.

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2 Responses to Along The Pilgrim Way in Norway

  1. Mary Lokken says:

    Hi Glenn!
    I have a photo of the Biri Kirke 424 km til Nidaros marker if you’d like it for your blog. It was amazing to visit, and to walk from the church to the Babergsgutua farm along the same trail our ancestors walked. Here’s a link to the photo on my flickr page:
    Har det bra!
    Mary Lokken

  2. Mary, I would love to have a photo of the Biri marker to substitute in my blog for the Hamar one. Thanks for offering.

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