Hiking St.Olavsleden : Matfors to Gålviken

20/08/2016

This morning we left Rania’s house after saying goodbye to the tiny 8 day old kittens. I was instantly bitten by a horse fly on my leg and on the eye by a mosquito simultaneously, which then swelled up. Turns out that Swedish mozzies love exotic English blood, I am now a walking buffet.

We walked through the beautiful area near Ranias house, watching the mist roll around the mountains in the distance. I am really enjoying seeing all the interesting foliage around the forest and picking wild strawberries, blueberries and raspberries from the bushes along the way.

The walking has mainly been along forest roads dotted with the little red houses that I love so much. At lunch we stopped by a lake and had a little swim because we felt really clammy.

My feet were really hurting by this point and I have already had them taped up to try and help save them from blisters. We continued walking and before long came to a stunning spot that Rania has visited before. We were only going to stay for a 5 minutes but Angeliqa fell asleep so this turned into a much longer stay.

We continued walking and a few hours later we saw a sign for a pilgrim place and decided to check it out. It turned out to be the best decision ever because we arrived at the most fairytale house I have ever seen next to a lake. Even better than the house was the lovely people who live there. They invited us to stay in their furnished outbuilding for a bargain price and warmly welcomed us into their home for tea and cake, along with our fellow pilgrims from Norway.

They later let us use their sauna down by the lake which was great for our tired bodies. Afterwards we swam in the lake at sunset and it was the most wonderful experience.

‘The road gives is what we need’ is a something we have said a lot. When we have been hungry we have been invited in for Fika. When we are tired we have been given a cosy bed and a sauna.

The people in Sweden are so friendly and welcoming, it is so nice to know that people like this exist in the world.
I have been struggling at times as my Swedish is still very basic but I can sort of follow most conversations. Although many Swedish people speak English, many don’t or do not feel comfortable, which is fine but it is such a shame to miss out on building a relationship with people. I feel bad and a little rude that I find it hard to communicate although I am trying to get better. This experience is really helping me to develop my Swedish and Norwegian.

I broke my camera lens today so I hope I can get hold of a new one and the road will bring me a camera shop.

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