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What Travel Really Means

I love to travel.

But what does “travel” really mean? For me there is no right or wrong answer. Every trip is made of discoveries, meetings, desire to immerse themselves in cultures, manners and people totally different from us. Travel allows you to get to know others and through others yourself.

To me it represents a break from routines and roles that we must play in our everyday life. The point is that every time I come back home I feel better: I learned new things and saw places that I could just imagine. As Bruce Chatwin said: “Travels not only open your mind: they shape it.“

This summer I have been in Norway, I didn’t have many days so I opted to cross the region from Oslo to Berghen. My aim was to live in full contact with the nature by hiking in various fjords of this magnificent country. For me the biggest obstacle to overcome was to walk several kilometers with a backpack of 20kg. In fact to get used to I spent most of August walking through my mountains in Northern Italy. In my first plan the only companion was my tent, nevertheless one evening, just a few days before leaving, I met Paul. He is a photographer, which was my classmate during high school, and like life goes we lost track for many years. After talking to him about my project he said just one sentence: I will come with you!

We planned our route in Oslo but we left the city as soon as possible to lead to our first goal: The famous Language of Trolls. A hike of 22 km to sit on a protruding rock that stands horizontally above the lake Ringedalsvatnet with a sheer drop of 700 meters; what a powerful view! Along the way to Odda, last city served by public transportation before Tyssedal, (starting point of the road to Trolltunga) we passed through Voss and the great plateau of Handangervidda. This is the habitat of  the largest population of wild reindeer, unfortunately we have only seen some gruesome remains left by hunters.

We moved only by public transportation, on our legs and sometimes by hitchhike. And thanks to hitchhiking we met Michael, Max, Stefan and Daniel. Three guys from Germany, who gave us a ride from Odda to Tyssedal on their Volkswagen T3. They also wanted to sit back and enjoy the unique view of Trolltunga. Once in Tyssedal, a huge parking welcomes people from all over the world, this is the last check point before tackling the hike of 22km. Some people with tents others in campers, but everyone ready and equipped to spend a night in this remote place, where not even cellphones works and the only thing here is a toilet.

That we met the German guys, probably saved the rest of my trip, because the several kilometers long walk with backpacking caused an acute inflammation of the tendon of my left heel. So Stefan, student in physiotherapy, has been able to cure my heel by rubbing my foot to relieve the pain, while sitting in front of the fire.

After Trolltunga we were very Tired, but not for this we were demotivier. The following days we decided to embark on the journey that would take us to the famous Preikestolen. We spent a full day in Stavanger to rest and the day after we catched the ferry that took us to the start of the hike to the Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen).

The hike itself wasn’t difficult, but the backpack of 22kg made it pretty tough. Then the unhealthy idea of sleeping with our tent on one of the symbols of Norway crossed our minds and so it was. The night was very cold but I know a little trick to keep my feet warm: Boil water, put it in a bottle and then put the bottle at the inner bottom of your sleeping bag.

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