"" Writer's Wanderings: Bad Start, Good FInish in Trondheim, Norway

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Bad Start, Good FInish in Trondheim, Norway

Quiet early morning start.
It was a painful beginning to my morning. The last couple of days my ankle had felt really good in the morning and I was able to navigate the days quite well. This morning I swallowed an ibuprofen and hoped for the best. 

A few steps off the ship in Trondheim I had the feeling I knew what was causing my pain and joint discomfort. Old joints, new injuries and a drop in the barometer as it began to drizzle. Yes, folks, what my grandfather said is true. "It's gonna rain. I feel it in my bones."

Thankfully it was only drizzle and off and on at that as we navigated a huge pedestrian bridge that crossed the railroad tracks where the central station is. Commercial as well as passenger trains stop by here. Lots of tracks. I was relieved to see an elevator at the other end of the pedestrian bridge. Going up an incline/steps isn't so bad. Coming down gives me trouble right now. I think the elevator was there more for the people with luggage going into the train station.

I was prepared not to like Trondheim. No reason except waking up with a bad attitude, a sore ankle and knees and then rain. I was pleasantly surprised as we got closer into the center of town. For one, the ship had said there would be a shuttle at the cost of $19.95/each for a ride to the center of town which according to my gps map said was a 20 minute walk. We were not going to be snookered again. We walked.

When we found the center of town using GPS My City (loving this app), it was still a bit drizzly and cloudy as we gazed up at the statue of King Olaf I who is said to have founded Trondheim. Around the base of the statue is a sun dial and I guess the cross in his hand must indicate the time when the sun is shining. 

Across the way we spied what appeared to be an indoor shopping mall. We detoured from our route for a few minutes to explore. It was nice and warm and dry inside and shops were beginning to open for the day. There were three stories to the mall but we didn't explore them all.

Outside again, as we crossed the square to get to our next stop, we noticed all the food trucks parked in a circle around the square. Constitution Day we heard is not just a day long. Most people take two days to celebrate and then decide to take the Friday off as well. The thing about the food trucks though was I didn't see one that featured local food. There was Dim Sum, Greek food, Mexican, etc. Truly international.

We found the first church on our list but couldn't go in. Our Lady's Church was first constructed in the 1100s but as we have discovered with many of the places in Norway, fire destroyed it several times along with a good part of the rest of the city. 

A street was next, said to be interesting for all of the shops and cafes, cafes that become busy pubs at night where you need an invitation to get in. We passed. It was drizzling again.

The Old Town Hall (replaced by the New Town Hall) was said to house an unsavory jail in its basement during its governmental use. Earthen floors and unsanitary conditions created quite an odor. Today it is a library and I'm sure the smell of books is much better.

This city walk was much easier than I anticipated and I was beginning to enjoy it. Most of the really interesting buildings are near each other. The Nidaros Cathedral was right around the corner from the Old Town Hall and as we approached it, we were in awe. It was massive and ornate and well, absolutely astounding. I'd say as impressive as Notre Dame in Paris--with or without a roof.

King Olaf II reigned in Norway from 1015-1028 and is also the patron saint of Norway. The cathedral was built to be the burial site of Olaf. Its name, Nidaros, comes from the original name of the city of Trondheim. The building took over 230 years until it was complete in 1300 and has served over the years as the coronation site of the kings.

Along the way there were of course fires and several ended up burning the church to the ground. Restoration began in 1869 and was completed in 2001. The church seats 1,850. I can believe it from looking at its size from the outside. We opted not to spend $12/each to go in. Maybe it was a mistake but we found the outside to be fascinating with all the sculptures. And the sun was coming out. Who wants to go inside where's it's dark?

We stopped over to the Archbishop's Palace next to the cathedral. The palace was used throughout the years as a residential palace and a military facility over the years. 

When we exited the courtyard we again admired the cathedral and decided to walk around the other side to the back. At the back of the building was a special entrance. The stones had obviously been cleaned around it. A sign next to the door indicated that it was the entrance for the king.

We crossed over the Old Town Bridge. The original had been built in 1681 connecting Trondheim with the Bakklandet district. I'm not sure if the carved gates mounted on the new bridge are original but they are representative of the old town bridge. 

Across the bridge, we explored the Bakklandet area a bit. quaint streets and homes and shops. The warehouses along the river make it quite a photo stop on the bridge as you cross over.

Our last point of interest on the City Walk was the Kristiansten Fortress. We looked up, way up, and decided we weren't going there even if there was a bike lift to ride. 

Let me explain the bike lift. From a metal box in the street, a single blade comes up and similar to a ski lift, runs up the hill in a track in the ground. You stay on your bike, set your right foot against the blade and it pushes you and your bike up the hill. 

As another guy from our ship pointed out, it was going to take a lot of clean up along the curbs before it could be workable when they start it up for the summer. 

Since the bike lift was closed and we didn't have bikes anyway, we turned toward the river and our cruise ship. It had been a long morning walk with one stop for coffee and a couple just to rest. It was time for lunch and an ice pack for my ankle. 

As I looked over our pictures and thought about our visit to the city, I decided it wasn't a bad place at all. It holds some true treasures. 

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