It was a slow morning. We ate a leisurely breakfast before Angeliqa set off to walk to Vikhammer. My toe was no better so I decided to save my foot for the final day, so I had the best chance of walking into Trondheim and having a good end to the hike. When Bernt got back from work around lunchtime, he drove me to Vikhammer, where we would be spending our final night in this cabin.
There were beautiful views from the farm at Vikhammer over the fjord.
Can you believe that this red barn houses an amazing gym? Probably the most picturesque gym location ever.
I had a long wait for Angeliqa today, after her walk took much longer than expected. It feels so strange to be in such an amazing place but unable to make the most of it in the ways you’d wish. Foot rest and lack of transport make for a very boring and frustrating day. I had time to think about the things waiting for me when I got home – lots of lovely things, but also the stresses and worries of every day life creeping back in. The transition back to normal life has begun, the hike is almost over.
Angeliqa came across the fields as the sun went down and sent a burst of colour across the sky. She was so tired from the day that we ate freeze dried food and went straight to bed.
The final day. We had a restless night in the cabin and barely slept. Not ideal for a final days walk into the city.
The forests and solitude of the mountain roads were gone. Houses were always in view and soon we were walking along very residential roads, crowded with houses. It felt very alien to be hiking through such built up places.
We came to the sea, our first meeting with it since Selånger. This was the end before the end, the coast to coast, sea to sea end. We dipped our boots in ceremoniously, contemplatively and then headed for the cathedral.
It wasn’t long before my foot was giving me much pain. The way my body was compensating for my injury was bringing me pain in my hip and backalso. This started to feel like the longest day before it had barely begun.
We stopped for a warm drink a few kilometres from the city. You need to rest, but rest also makes it so much more difficult to continue. I felt so compelled to push forward, to reach the end that resting felt counterproductive, but really it was needed.
I hobbled along with Angeliqa, along residential streets, crossing busy roads and searching for Olav’s signs on street corners.
By this point, the end was so close. We crossed the old bridge very close to the cathedral, and saw the one of the most famous scenes of Trondheim in real life. I feel like i’ve seen this photograph a hundred times before.
As we drew closer, I had to fight back tears. I felt so overwhelmed with so many emotions. Both happy and sad it was the end. Sad my time walking with Angeliqa was almost over, but happy knowing my partner Steve was waiting for us at the cathedral. I’ve missed him so much over the past month and I had butterflies. I couldn’t wait to get to him.
We’re not sure whether we entered the cathedral grounds the most conventional pilgrim way but as we came through the cemetery at the back of the building, the bells began to ring. A perfect welcome.
And suddenly, it was over. We rounded the corner and Steve was walking towards me, smiling. The bells were ringing and that was it. 564km from Sweden to Norway had brought us here.
We all hugged, and Steve reminded us how bad we both smelt! (30 days smelling bad does desensitise you to your own smells but clean perfumes people never smelt so good).
We walked around the cathedral to truly end the hike together and Steve joined us for our final steps. I was in so much pain now because of my foot, that it was a very slow walk around but a special final few steps filled with joy.
Tired and smelly, we then relaxed at the café next to the cathedral and watched a wedding party leave. Steve gifted a very happy Angeliqa with one of her English favourites, a terry’s chocolate orange – isn’t this the most happiest lovely face you ever did see?
We headed to the Nidaros Pilgrimsgard to register and collect our final stamp and certificates. I pinned Sittingbourne on the pilgrim map, feeling very proud to be one of the few UK pins on there. I made sure to write my hometown in as many guestbooks and trail books as possible. This hike has taught me to appreciate home more and try to make the best of where you live, instead of always seeking greener grass. (I still want to move to Scandinavia though! But until then I will make the most of living my little old industrial town in the garden of England).
Afterwards, Steve took me back to our accommodation – an Air BnB apartment stay with the very very lovely Arne and Andrea. I had the best shower i’ve had in a month. (Shaving my legs for the first time in weeks was a very satisfying action). I felt like a new woman!
We chatted to our hosts for awhile and then got ready to meet Angeliqa for a celebratory dinner.
We headed to a place Steve had spotted earlier in the day by the water. I had a huge burger and enjoyed every second of it. The body craves salt, fat and sugar right now.
After dinner, we walked Angeliqa back to the pilgrimsgarden. Once we had said goodbye, Steve wanted to walk along the old town bridge. I was limping and tired and was looking forward to getting the bus back to where we were staying but I also really wanted to make the most of our time together in Trondheim so we walked across the bridge and I took some photos.
Moments after taking this photograph, much to my surprise, Steve got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Of course I said YES. It was so unexpected and I was so shocked I had a little cry and we cuddled on the bridge. We met almost 9 years ago to the day in September 2007 and have been best friends since, until we became a couple 3 years ago when we were on holiday in Rome with a group of friends. Our first kiss was on a bridge at night in Rome and now engaged on a bridge at night in Trondheim!
We walked to the bus stop and caught a bus back to the apartment, where we gazed at this beautiful view of the city from the balcony.
The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and chatted to Arne and Andrea about anything and everything. Arne is probably the most knowledgeable person i’ve ever met! We could’ve talked with them both all day.
We headed into town to meet Angeliqa at the flea market near the old town bridge. We had a second breakfast of waffles, sour cream and jam.
Over the weekend, we explored Trondheim and some of its cute shops and flea markets, and we visited the cathedral to complete our pilgrimage.
Here is our bridge in the daylight. The one we walked over into Trondheim at the end of our journey, and the bridge where my soulmate asked me to marry him – it will always be special.
I’ve been home a couple of weeks now. The first few days were strange, my house felt unfamiliar and I felt a need to get rid of unnecessary items, some of which I’ve had for years. So I went through the house top to bottom de littering.
I’m so happy to be home and have been enjoying telling our family and friends about mine and Steve’s engagement, but I do miss Angeliqa and being in the forests of Scandinavia so much. I cannot wait to come back. It’s been an amazing journey and will always have a special place in my heart.
Thank you so much to everyone who showed us so much kindness along the way. We couldn’t have done it without you. ❤️
Ps. Sorry for the delay in posting this last couple of days of the trail, but I really wanted to share my happy news offline before sharing it online.