I have been wrapped up in Cheryl Strayed’s book ‘wild’ since I read it 3 years ago. So does hiking alone with nothing else other then your own thoughts and the bare essentials help to clear your mind and resolve the issues in your life? Here are the top 3 benefits tempting me to try this out for 2 weeks : )
1. A sense of accomplishment
Relying purely on yourself. You will have no help when it comes to problem solving, the challenges you will meet on the way and the obstacles you will have to overcome, both mental and psychical. It will make you realize when you’re back at the office that the ‘big issue’with that project you are working on is laughable now.
2. Spiritual Healing
Solitude allows time for self-examination and to reevaluate your life. What are the positive forces and what are the negative? What do you need to let go? What do you need to work on? You will have no choice but to face your fears on the long lonely hikes.
But overcoming this and getting used to being alone and excepting your own company is probably one of the most valuable of all benefits.
3. Be at your physical peak
Walk for two weeks-see your blood pressure drop.
Walk another two weeks-cholesterol counts are lowered.
Walk for more than a month-heart and lungs become stronger and more efficient and resting pulse rate decreases.
Walk on a regular basis and have a better chance at maintaining weight due to a higher metabolic rate and the additional calories you burn.
I want to mention that no one should hike unprepared and especially know orienteering and basic survival skills before wilderness hiking and letting people know where you are. Even getting a GPS device.
1. To climb mount Ulriken. Mount Ulriken stands at a sumptuous 2,100 ft and is in actual fact a mountain …. albeit a small one. The mountain is only a short 15 minute bus ride from the centre of picturesque Bergen with an easier climbing route 45- 60 minutes or the harder route, 40 minutes clambering up a boulder strewn stream! On the plus there is a restaurant at the top with a glass of red as a way of treating yourself, beautiful views over several Fjords, not to mention the cable car to whisk you back down if you were like me by the end of it. Exhausted! You can read the climbing Ulriken post here.
2. Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf -just one of the many protected UNESCO sites throughout Norway that is a testament to its beauty, both natural and man-made. The coloured wooden slatted buildings with a mountainous backdrop originated in 1702 and were traditional used for warehouses for merchants goods. Today you will find cafes, bakeries, artist studios and also jewellery inspired by traditional Viking designs. A perfect reminder of you holiday or just the perfect picture postcard : )
3. Bergen Fish Market – My obsession with seafood is well known and what better place to sample some of the best fishing waters in the world. Bergen has it in abundance. Literally straight off the boat. You may dine inside with 3 different restaurants to choose from or if the smell is a bit much there is also a heated outside seating area where you may feast on delectable sweet King Crab, Salty Oysters, Lobster and to this day, the freshest prawns I have ever had the luck to have eaten. Plump, firm, sweet and so fresh the produce, you can actually watch the fisherman offload their boats and walk into the fish market with their goods which will be arriving on your plate within the hour! Norway is notoriously expensive and the platters are no exception however just a few taster dishes and a bowl of Moules Mariniere is more than manageable.
4. Floibanen Funicular – Located in the centre of town, the funicular will take you to one of the several peaks surrounding Bergen and is well known for its stunning views looking down upon the UNESCO wharf and the surrounding Fjords. There is also a hotel which you may stop in for a light lunch and a multitude of woodland walks all starting from this point and leading onto the other mounts varying in 1 hour to 6. Seeing as Bergen itself has Europe’s highest rainfall, it’s worth coming prepared with good hiking boots and a warm waterproof jacket.
5. Slightly more off the beaten track, at least a 3 hour trip by train but who is complaining when you have scenery like Norway outside off your window? The Flam railway is the most beautiful railway in the world. Just a word of advice, we booked in for the Norway in a nutshell day trip that included the railway and the Fjord Gudvangen two hour Fjord cruise which to this day for me was the highlight of my trip. Sailing on a large cruiser with a backdrop of snow peaked mountains and cascading waterfalls. What more could you ask for whilst you sip on a latte and snuggle in blankets on the deck? Flam itself is quaint, of stunning natural beauty and an awe inspiring mountainous backdrop.