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).
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.
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.)
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.