Today’s Miles: 0
Total Miles: 1,353.8
Trondheim, Norway – August 31, 2016
Some new friends feel like old friends so fast you forget you only just met.
Stian bought me dinner three weeks and four hundred miles ago, fish and chips in an empty diner while he waited for a road to open and I ate away the hunger from ten days without a resupply. He gave me a ride to a rest area where I could camp and we stood in the parking lot talking, our conversation flowing beyond the time we had.
“Let me know when you reach Trondheim,” he said.
The next morning a thief stole my batteries and I stood in dismay in that same parking lot, rain dripping off me, walking back and forth to stare at the empty socket, wondering how I could keep going with no power. But Stian’s kindness the night before helped pull my mind right, helped remind me that one sad act doesn’t change the truth.
Most people are good.
Vilhelm’s co-workers gave me a ride part of the way from Östersund. Then a wonderful woman picked me up, the kind of person you’d never expect to stop for a wild-looking, bearded man on the side of the road. She took the long way home so I could see the towns and buildings along the way, the old stone church that makes the United States look young, and the new church where she dropped me off.
I walked in and the pastor came, mistaking me for a pilgrim to St. Olaf’s cathedral in Trondheim, a Viking and the first Christian king in Norway.
“No,” I said. “But one day I’ll reach the Camino de Santiago.”
“Buen Camino then,” he said, the first time I’ve heard the phrase that will ring through my ears along the famous trail in northern Spain.
A trucker delivering construction materials stopped next and took me close to the Norwegian border. Then a man who saw me buying chocolate in the grocery store picked me up and we drove into Norway.
I waved to my trail as we passed Meråker, the spot Bjørn picked me up two days ago. We zoomed on, descending out of the mountains as I whispered for them to wait for my return and driving on the rest of the way to Trondheim where I walked to St. Olaf’s grand cathedral to stare up at the stained glass windows, the statutes, the towers, and wait for Stian to get off work, wait to see my old friend, wait to continue that conversation we left hanging in the parking lot four hundred miles ago.