Vattholma to Vendel
Part four of the trail takes us from Lena church all the way to Vendel church, passing the Tensta and Viksta churches along the way. All four churches have medieval ancestry, even though they variously have been rebuilt, burnt down, had their interiors razed etc through the centuries. Pictured above is the goal of this walk, the venerable Vendel church, most famous for its iron age history with the fourteen magnificent 6th to 8th century boat graves discovered in the 1880s, reminiscent of the burial at Sutton Hoo in England. most of the relics are in various other museums in Uppsala and in Stockholm, but there is a small and charming Vendel-museum just north of the church that is worth visiting.
The trail follows tiny country roads from Lena, so you’ll be mostly be walking on asphalt, but the trail is varied and you’ll pass by charming farm houses, small meandering streams, pastures and forests so it doesn’t get tedious. At Tensta church the pilgrim stamp is easily found in a mailbox to the left of the main gate. The church itself is pretty much an original 14th century construction with minimal later modifications. If the church is open don’t forget to take a peek at the 15th century frescos which includes what may be the first “deliberate” portrait in Swedish history. The painting depicts Bengt Jönsson Oxenstierna, the then owner of the nearby manor and was made by famous painter Johannes Rosenrod.
Walking from Tensta to Viksta follows the same pattern as from Lena. You will traverse along tiny country roads, some of which are old gravel roads mostly bereft of traffic. The pilgrim trail markings along the path are spotty at best though, but there aren’t too many places where you can take the wrong turn. Take your time and enjoy the countryside!
The Viksta church pilgrim stamp is located in a small wooden box in the eastern gatehouse. The church building itself is from the 15th century and has some cool original features still in place such as original 15th century windows etc. Its worth a look!
The last leg is the longest on this stretch and you’ll again be walking along minor country roads. The final kilometre is along a rather busy road and is probably the worst part of the whole of the Maria trail, but despite this its not difficult or too unpleasant. It’s only a kilometre, and the view when you approach the Vendel church is breathtaking!
The Vendel church pilgrim stamp is in a mailbox inside the north gatehouse.
While some stretches of these 22 kilometres aren’t the most fun, this part is what I think of as the heart of the Maria trail. You get to see four magnificent medieval churches all steeped in history, as well as the beautiful Swedish countryside mixing deep forests with pastures, fields and streams.