Last April, I went with a very good friend of mine to do a trek near my hometown. I grew up in the province of Alicante, in Southeast Spain. In a very tiny town named Xirles, 15km off the coast. My friend and I wanted to sleep at the mountain, in order to do a longer trek, and enjoy the evening. So we hiked two of the most relevant mountains in the area. Puig Campana and Mount Ponoig (Sleepy Lion in English, or “León Dormido” in Spanish).
Puig Campana is a mountain with an elevation of 1,406 m (4,613 ft). And Mount Ponoig is 1,181 m (3,874 ft). These mountains are very close to each other. From top to top, the shortest walkable distance is only 4,11km.
Legends of Puig Campana
Among the locals, there are a few stories that talk about the mountain of Puig Campana. I’ve even checked in the Wikipedia, in order to see if some match the one I remember since I was a child. But none fit, although they are very close between each other in the essence of the myth.
Back in October 2016, I was at the last part of my Japanese trip, and I did part of the Kyoto Trail. I normally go to places with local immersion in mind, so my trip to Kyoto wasn’t going to be less. I sent a couple of CouchSurfing requests in order to get hosted and/or visit the city with the hand of a local. And the good luck was with me this time.
I had the great pleasure to meet Hiroshi (Hiro for friends), a local. Well, he isn’t really from Kyoto, but had been living there for 4 years at that time. So he knows very well the city and it’s surroundings. He and I became a good match even while talking via CouchSurfing and other messaging apps. He liked walking here and there. Getting into local places, no matter if they were very popular or not. Moving through the cities with a bycicle or on foot. And of course, hiking.
“When architects want to strengthen a decrepit arch, they increase the load which is laid upon it. For thereby the parts are joined more firmly together.”
Viktor Frankel (Man’s Search For Meaning)
The Hiking “Drug”
If alcohol is a social lubricant, then hiking is a social binder. To go on a hike with a group of people, facilitates the forming of connections in a unique manner.
You’re out there in nature, committed to a mutual endeavor.
When we remove ourselves from our regular “habitat” (the city), and spend a period of time in nature, we respond immediately. Our body reacts to the change of environment as if we were on withdrawal from the city.
It’s very common to feel a sense of unease, in the first hours of a walk. That initial shift challenges our system, and makes us adapt our mindset to the new context.
To go through that transition with a group of people, has impacted me greatly during this year. I had the chance to go on hikes in Spain, Switzerland, Chile and Colombia.
Each time, with different groups or individuals in different contexts. These experiences have educated me on the “magic” of hiking.
This Bergen hiking guide aims to be a reference with all you need to know for a great experience around Bergen. Although not the only city based around 7 hills, as you can see here, this is a very special place. A charming city, due to it’s long history, mainly related to trading and fishing. Nowadays, it’s one of the most touristic places in Norway. It’s a starting point for people who come to visit the fjords. Concretely, the 3rd longest fjord on earth, Sognefjord, is a few kilometers North from there, and is 204km long.
However, we are not going to talk about fjords this time, but about the hills of Bergen. The city was settled in a valley, surrounded by seven hills, and hiking is because of that a very common activity in the area. Probably because Norwegians are really into nature activities too.
The Seven Hills of Bergen
Although Bergen is commonly named “the city among the seven mountains”, though a bit wrongly. There are actually 9 mountains over there, which are named:
During the last winter I accomplished one of my childhood’s dream. See the Himalayas and do an Annapurna Trekking or an Everest Trekking.
Why did I pick the Annapurna Massif as my first adventure in the Himalayas? Easy, I got to talk with several people while on my Eastern Asian trip and all of them agreed that it was the best choice as a first contact with the Himalayas. Basically, because it has several options.
Some people go to Poon Hill, which is the easier trek. Others do the Annapurna Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit, which are harder and take longer. And then, there are who do them all, Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit.
I wanted a challenge, not just to see the roof of the world. But I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to make it to the end. That was my biggest fear before I finally decided to do this trekking. Happily, I ended up sleeping at the house of a trekking guide in Kathmandu. Thanks to CouchSurfing. I didn’t know he was a guide though, since he didn’t say anything about it in his profile. Continue reading Annapurna Trekking, still a challenging experience
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