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Planning to walk the Gudbrandsdalsleden (western route) in Norway

dougfitz

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Time of past OR future Camino
Past: a few
Last: Sanabres
Next: St Olav's Way
I am planning to walk from Oslo to Trondheim, starting in late Jun 2024 and arriving for Olsok. When I did this walk last, I walked on the eastern route leaving Oslo. This time I plan to follow the western route.

At this stage, I will stay in Trondheim for about a week and attend some more of the various festival events associated with St Olavs Day than I have in the past. There is also an annual food and beer festival, although that might stretch more than my budget.
 
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There is also an annual food and beer festival, although that might stretch more than my budget.
I've often wondered if the price of food and drink is the main reason why you see so few obese Norwegians... :)

PS. My attempt to walk from Oslo to Trondheim ended prematurely near Ringebu when both knees gave up in protest at the weight I was forcing them to carry. Both on my back and around my waist. I'm currently trying to lose some of the internal avoirdupois and hope to finish that journey sometime. Perhaps this summer.
 
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I am planning to walk from Oslo to Trondheim, starting in late Jun 2024 and arriving for Olsok. When I did this walk last, I walked on the eastern route leaving Oslo. This time I plan to follow the western route.

At this stage, I will stay in Trondheim for about a week and attend some more of the various festival events associated with St Olavs Day than I have in the past. There is also an annual food and beer festival, although that might stretch more than my budget.
The Norw. currency is right now on the weakest related to €, so will enjoy a 20% increase of your money in Norway.
Buen Camino!
 
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I am planning to walk from Oslo to Trondheim, starting in late Jun 2024 and arriving for Olsok. When I did this walk last, I walked on the eastern route leaving Oslo. This time I plan to follow the western route.

At this stage, I will stay in Trondheim for about a week and attend some more of the various festival events associated with St Olavs Day than I have in the past. There is also an annual food and beer festival, although that might stretch more than my budget.
Forgot to say: NOK is even weaker towards USD and many other currencies: Good for you; bad for my next Camino... :(
 
PS. My attempt to walk from Oslo to Trondheim ended prematurely near Ringebu when both knees gave up in protest at the weight I was forcing them to carry. Both on my back and around my waist. I'm currently trying to lose some of the internal avoirdupois and hope to finish that journey sometime. Perhaps this summer.
My weight is a big concern, and I have put myself onto a weight loss regime. It is showing promise, but I am targeting a weight that I haven't been under for many years, even before I did my first St Olavs Way and first Camino over a decade ago. It would allow me to feel more comfortable walking without carrying my CPAP machine, something I did more regularly back on those first pilgrimage walks.

The nature of the St Olavs Ways does mean that it is very unlikely that I would disrupt anyone else in a herberge or hostel. Other than in the larger towns like Lillehammer and Otta, where I will probably stay in hotels in any case, there are unlikely many, if any, other pilgrims sharing a dormitory. So it is only my own personal medical care that I need to concern myself about.

The other matters are getting a pilgrim passport and an English language guidebook. Serendipitously, @ivar posted a link to a new online shop in Trondheim that actually had the passports in stock. While I am sure that the National Pilgrim Centre in Oslo would have had these when I start, it's always nice to have the passport when one arrives at the start.

The news on the guidebook front is a little more promising. I walked in 2012 with Alison Raju's guidebook, then about a decade old. An updated edition was published in 2015, and it looked like I might have had to walk again with a nearly decade old guidebook. While many things wouldn't have changed, my previous experience is that guidebooks quickly fall behind within any hardcopy book publishing cycle in some critical areas like accommodation, and over a decade much can happen. So the news from the National Pilgrim Centre that there will be a translation of one of the current (non-English) guidebooks available early in 2024 was quite welcome.

Unlike my last two Caminos in Spain, where I was already staying in Portugal, and could almost just get onto the train one morning, and start walking the next, this walk will require a bit more planning and coordination to bring to fruition. Of course, as many of you know, that planning and anticipation is almost as rewarding as undertaking the pilgrimage itself.
 
I am planning to walk from Oslo to Trondheim, starting in late Jun 2024 and arriving for Olsok. When I did this walk last, I walked on the eastern route leaving Oslo. This time I plan to follow the western route.

At this stage, I will stay in Trondheim for about a week and attend some more of the various festival events associated with St Olavs Day than I have in the past. There is also an annual food and beer festival, although that might stretch more than my budget.
Enjoy and God tur! The Director and Pilgrim Chaplain for the Oslo Pilgrim Center will be at the American Pilgrims Annual Gathering in 2024....you may want to come to the Gathering! I met her after I completed St Olavsleden from Selånger to Trondheim and then traveled down to Oslo for my return to the States.
 
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Enjoy and God tur! The Director and Pilgrim Chaplain for the Oslo Pilgrim Center will be at the American Pilgrims Annual Gathering in 2024....you may want to come to the Gathering! I met her after I completed St Olavsleden from Selånger to Trondheim and then traveled down to Oslo for my return to the States.
I will visit the Pilgrim Centre in Oslo when I arrive, and on past walks I have also dropped into the regional Pilgrim Centres that have been open. I don't think that I will add a trip to the US to my plans for next year. The US isn't on any of the family plans for the time being as we focus on some bucket list places elsewhere for non-pilgrimage travel.
 
Seeing this thread reminded me that this walk is high on my list, and I'm considering it for next summer. I've spent some time on the website, trying to make sense of it all and piece together stages/accommodation options, and just now went over to see if anything was new. And maybe others are already aware, but there's a downloadable Gudbrandsdalsleden accommodation list! It's so helpful to see it all arranged like this (with names of places, contact info, notes on cost & services available). Happy planning!

 
Seeing this thread reminded me that this walk is high on my list, and I'm considering it for next summer. I've spent some time on the website, trying to make sense of it all and piece together stages/accommodation options, and just now went over to see if anything was new.
Much has changed on the Norse pilgrim association website (https://pilegrimsleden.no/en/) since I first walked in 2012. That wasn't a surprize. My own view is that some of these changes haven't been for the better, and the planning tools are now less useful than they once were. They still contain a wealth of information, more than ever, but there are quirks about how to get it to release its treasures.

Doing stage planning was one of the difficulties that I initially had. I ended up adding everything possible to the trip planner, and then selectively removing places as I made choices about where would be a good place to stay. If anyone who has used the site has found a better way to use the planner, I would love to hear about that.

@NadineK, thank you for the link to the accommodation list. I found it earlier, then couldn't remember where it was located.
 
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Doing stage planning was one of the difficulties that I initially had. I ended up adding everything possible to the trip planner, and then selectively removing places as I made choices about where would be a good place to stay. If anyone who has used the site has found a better way to use the planner, I would love to hear about that.

@NadineK, thank you for the link to the accommodation list. I found it earlier, then couldn't remember where it was located.
I spent a long time with that planner and still find it confusing and cumbersome (and will also eagerly look forward to hearing from anyone who's discovered the key to navigating it! In the meantime, Doug, I may have to try your technique)

Also, I only linked to the main website... you'll find the accommodation list when you scroll down and expand the category 'Accommodation list and map brochures 2023' (and, as I'm typing this out, I realize that it's probably rather obvious once you're on that page that I linked to... but I've been known to miss the obvious, so...) :)
 
Following with great interest. Thank you @dougfitz, my husband and I found excellent advice on St Olav's Way before ever joining this forum. Later when checking bookmarks, I realized it was from this forum and from a member, you. Wishing all the best as you return to walk in Norway!
 
Much has changed on the Norse pilgrim association website (https://pilegrimsleden.no/en/) since I first walked in 2012. That wasn't a surprize. My own view is that some of these changes haven't been for the better, and the planning tools are now less useful than they once were. They still contain a wealth of information, more than ever, but there are quirks about how to get it to release its treasures.

Doing stage planning was one of the difficulties that I initially had. I ended up adding everything possible to the trip planner, and then selectively removing places as I made choices about where would be a good place to stay. If anyone who has used the site has found a better way to use the planner, I would love to hear about that.

@NadineK, thank you for the link to the accommodation list. I found it earlier, then couldn't remember where it was located.
Hi Dougfitz,

I'm Sorry to hear about your trouble with our planning tool at pilegrimsleden.no. You are not alone. We are well aware of it's issues. The National Pilgrim Center in Norway are trying to work out the quirks and changing it to be more user friendly.

In 2023 the planning tool must work for 9 individual St. Olav Ways compared to the one in 2012 that was mostly desigend for the Gudbrandsdalsleden alone. The picture have become more complex the later years, and that have affected the planning tool.

An update is comming to the planning tool. We hope it will be well recived by the pilgrims :)
 
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Hi Dougfitz,

I'm Sorry to hear about your trouble with our planning tool at pilegrimsleden.no. You are not alone. We are well aware of it's issues. The National Pilgrim Center in Norway are trying to work out the quirks and changing it to be more user friendly.

In 2023 the planning tool must work for 9 individual St. Olav Ways compared to the one in 2012 that was mostly desigend for the Gudbrandsdalsleden alone. The picture have become more complex the later years, and that have affected the planning tool.

An update is comming to the planning tool. We hope it will be well recived by the pilgrims :)
Hello! I am having trouble determining the distances between sites, accommodations, etc. On the site's maps. Is there a way to tell? Thank you! (when will the update artive?)
 
Hello all, since there are some solo pilgrims here, can you share how it goes as a solo walker? For me it's ok walking alone most of the time, but I am not walking to be alone. It's nice to connect and eat supper with others at the end of the day. Do you meet others during the day, or usually only at the end of the day?
I hear there is not much internet on the way. Is there phone service on most or all of the way? Are there sections that are far from public transport?
As the Pilgrim office is monitoring this thread, I have a related question: If a pilgrim is injured along the way, will that person be able to get help, and if necessary, medical help?
Thank you for all your posts!
 
Hello all, since there are some solo pilgrims here, can you share how it goes as a solo walker? For me it's ok walking alone most of the time, but I am not walking to be alone. It's nice to connect and eat supper with others at the end of the day. Do you meet others during the day, or usually only at the end of the day?
I haven't walked it, but I guess you will not meet many pilgrims on your way.
I hear there is not much internet on the way. Is there phone service on most or all of the way?
Mobile coverage is good mostly everywhere in Norway. Get a Norw. SIM card.
Are there sections that are far from public transport?
I believe most of the time you will be close to public transport.
As the Pilgrim office is monitoring this thread, I have a related question: If a pilgrim is injured along the way, will that person be able to get help, and if necessary, medical help?
Thank you for all your posts!
Simply call 113 for health assistance. Have health insurance just in case.

Be aware of the price levels in Norway. Have sufficient funds.

"All" Norwegians speak and understand English very well.

Buen Camino!
 
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I haven't walked it, but I guess you will not meet many pilgrims on your way.

Mobile coverage is good mostly everywhere in Norway. Get a Norw. SIM card.

I believe most of the time you will be close to public transport.

Simply call 113 for health assistance. Have health insurance just in case.

Be aware of the price levels in Norway. Have sufficient funds.

"All" Norwegians speak and understand English very well.

Buen Camino!
Thanks, Alex! I appreciate all your quick answers!
 
Thanks, Alex! I appreciate all your quick answers!
I actually meant to write "travel insurance", which should also cover medical assistance, but also including travel help.

The emergency numbers in Norway are (as in the rest of the EU):

110 - Fire alarm
112 - Police
113 - Health emergency

These services are sharing coordinated alarm centrals.

But nothing will most likely ever happen: Norway is one of the safest countries in the world, and you are most likely a tough, healthy pilgrim.

Just be careful if you go through Gudbrandsdalen (Western route): When crossing the Dovre mountains, there may be some bisons. I don't think you will meet bears, and wolves are not known to be in those areas. The Eastern route through Østerdalen may be more exposed to bears and wolves.

Due to recent wildlife protection rules, Norway has a growing wolf population in some areas, especially in south-eastern Norway.
 
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Hello! I am having trouble determining the distances between sites, accommodations, etc. On the site's maps. Is there a way to tell? Thank you! (when will the update artive?)
If you go into the main page (I use the English version) there is a Menu bar on the top right. Open that and then in the Planning area, there is a link to 'Plan your pilgrimage'. Open that, then select 'Create your own trip' at the top left. Select the trail, start and end points, and give it a name. Once you start selecting points along the way, the distances between them will start to appear.

This is not as easy to use as it might appear. I don't have time right now to explain everything I have found to do wrong. I will later if I can find time.
 
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I actually meant to write "travel insurance", which should also cover medical assistance, but also including travel help.

The emergency numbers in Norway are (as in the rest of the EU):

110 - Fire alarm
112 - Police
113 - Health emergency

These services are sharing coordinated alarm centrals.

But nothing will most likely ever happen: Norway is one of the safest countries in the world, and you are most likely a tough, healthy pilgrim.

Just be careful if you go through Gudbrandsdalen (Western route): When crossing the Dovre mountains, there may be some bisons. I don't think you will meet bears, and wolves are not known to be in those areas. The Eastern route through Østerdalen may be more exposed to bears and wolves.

Due to recent wildlife protection rules, Norway has a growing wolf population in some areas, especially in south-eastern Norway.
This is very good to know, thank you, Alex! Best regards!
 
If you go into the main page (I use the English version) there is a Menu bar on the top right. Open that and then in the Planning area, there is a link to 'Plan your pilgrimage'. Open that, then select 'Create your own trip' at the top left. Select the trail, start and end points, and give it a name. Once you start selecting points along the way, the distances between them will start to appear.

This is not as easy to use as it might appear. I don't have time right now to explain everything I have found to do wrong. I will later if I can find time.
This is super helpful, Doug, I'll try this. Thank you for taking time to reply!
 
This is very good to know, thank you, Alex! Best regards!
Also forgot to say: The Western route through Gudbrandsdalen is more close to civilisation than the Eastern route, which goes for many miles through Østerdalen, a sparse populated area. As a Norwegian, I would definitely choose Western route, but I suppose that our distinguished member @dougfitz , who has experience on this Camino, is better to advice you :cool:
 
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Also forgot to say: The Western route through Gudbrandsdalen is more close to civilisation than the Eastern route, which goes for many miles through Østerdalen, a sparse populated area. As a Norwegian, I would definitely choose Western route, but I suppose that our distinguished member @dougfitz , who has experience on this Camino, is better to advice you :cool:
Alex, I am finding this confusing, although I think I understand that you are referring to the Gudbrandsdalsleden as the western route, and the Østerdalsleden as the eastern route. The Norse pilgrim association also refer to a western route and an eastern route when describing the two paths leaving Oslo on the Gudbrandsdalsleden. These come together as one path at Lillehamer.

I walked along the eastern path, now over a decade ago. I recall meeting two pilgrims before Hamar, and a few more in the next couple of days. After that, I wasn't until I was crossing the Dovrefjell that I met a couple more. Around Meslo Gard I passed a large group of pilgrims on an organised pilgrimage. They took a rest day on the Sunday, and I didn't see them again, but the numbers did pick up from there through to Trondheim.

At that time, mobile phone coverage was patchy. When the path was close to major roads like the E6, it was okay, but there were many days where there was nothing between one town and the next. I wasn't too worried about that. When I walked the S.t Olavsleden, there was pretty good coverage in Sweden, but then the path was closer to major roads. Once it got away from these in Norway, it became patchy again outside of the towns. I won't be relying on getting mobile coverage outside of the towns.
 
Alex, I am finding this confusing, although I think I understand that you are referring to the Gudbrandsdalsleden as the western route, and the Østerdalsleden as the eastern route. The Norse pilgrim association also refer to a western route and an eastern route when describing the two paths leaving Oslo on the Gudbrandsdalsleden. These come together as one path at Lillehamer.
I think it has to do with two western options east and west of lake Mjøsa, that join in Lillehammer, and becomes one western route up Gudbrandsdalen.

As for mobile coverage, much has improved in the last years.
 
Hello all, since there are some solo pilgrims here, can you share how it goes as a solo walker? For me it's ok walking alone most of the time, but I am not walking to be alone. It's nice to connect and eat supper with others at the end of the day. Do you meet others during the day, or usually only at the end of the day?
I hear there is not much internet on the way. Is there phone service on most or all of the way? Are there sections that are far from public transport?
As the Pilgrim office is monitoring this thread, I have a related question: If a pilgrim is injured along the way, will that person be able to get help, and if necessary, medical help?
Thank you for all your posts!
Hi, I see you have recived a lot og good advice Elaine😊 But anyway, i would like to answer you anyway.

The busiest season is in July and August. You will very likelly meet plenty of pilgrims on the accommodations during these months. If you plan to arrive arround Olsok (29. July), you will even have a hard time finding accommodations in some areas. By walking in May, September or Oktober, you might be alone on some of the accommodations during your journey. We expect to recive about 1000 pilgrims in Trondheim traveling along the Gudbrandsdalsleden this season. You will not be alone.

Internett is rarely an issue.

All sections of the Gudbrandsdalsleden is close to public transport. You will be walking in the nature, but you will never be far away from the roads. It is a very safe journey. Call 113 in case of an emergancy, you will get help quickly. if you download the 113 app, they will even find you by gps. Which i reccommend all hikers in Norway.

About the wild animals Alex is mentions, they are very rare to see, and also very shy. They will not be any issue for you during the journey. If you are lucky and meet the musk ox in Dovrefjell that Alex menitons. Keep distance from them. They are only dagerous if you approach them. You will have to walk through som pastures with cows, horses, sheep and so on. They are used to people. Pilgrims travelig with dogs must be much more careful in these pastures. The animals are more unpredictable with dogs.

I hope this was helpfull. And I love to see others also giving you their advices.

I wish you a wonderful journey 😃

Toralf
 
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Thank you, Toralf, I appreciate ALL the answers from you and all the people on this thread! I have also written to the pilgrim center and received replies from Aksel. Your answers are valuable to my planning a good pilgrim walk. I think I will love walking, once I get into the rhythm. Best regards to all of you,
Elaine
 

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