Travel

NORWAY: A TRAVEL INTO THE BIG NORTH (BETWEEN TRONDHEIM AND AROUND) – PART 2

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[* HERE you can read – PART 1 of this post]

DAY 4 – RøROS TRIP + BEST DAY EVER AT THE SPA
We wake up early very excited for our small trip of a couple of days to Roros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We catch the train in the morning while it is starting to snow slightly, and for about two hours we go through some of the most beautiful snowy landscapes I have ever seen.A  frozen river runs alongside the railroad, while the ordered countryside with its fields, wooden houses and wild horses changes into bright untouched landscapes.
Røros is one of the oldest towns of wooden buildings in Europe; the street pattern and farming properties in the center of the town are the same as they were originally constructed in the 1600’s. The small city is also known for being one of Norway’s leading regions for locally produced food.

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I have adored Røros since the first moment I set my feet off the train, slipping on the thick ice sheets which cover the streets.
I had never seen so much snow around me, and I can’t even imagine what it must be here in the middle of winter. They tell me that in the colder months of the year,  temperatures plummet to 50 below freezing. I could die here, I thought, while I see some sleighs pulled by ponys!
Renata bought “the basic things to survive the extreme cold”: bananas, a jar of peanut butter and chocolate bars and, with these, we walk toward the Røros Hotell – Bath & Wellness, a spa recommended by Janne, Renata’s flatmate.
In this incredible – but incredible is not enough! – place there are several smaller pools, saunas, an outdoor pool and a jacuzzi. The roof of the main pool is adorned with beautiful ceramic fish by the artist Per Lysgård and the bath is built with natural materials such as stone, glass and concrete.

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Water is my element, and if it’s warm and you can swim looking at a snowy beautiful landscape… leave me there!  It has been incredible. And it has been so hard get out of the water to walk again on the frozen streets and get back to our accomodation, the charming Solheim Pensjonat. There, Johanna welcomed us very warmly and she gave us the keys… not only of our room, but of the whole house! Then she went to her house, not too far from there.
Our room is cozy, everything is made of white wood, it has two single beds side by side and it makes us think to a kind of “college” situation. Before sleeping Renata sings me the “Trollmora” song, which is an old Swedish bedtime song about a troll mother trying to put her eleven children to bed. (Listen to it here, please!)
The part of the song where she sings “puff puff” makes me die laughing. It will become our goodnight: “Puff, Puff, sleep well!”.

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DAY 5 – FEELING ‘DEVASTATED’ DAY
We have breakfast at the Pensjonat, with typical organic products made in Røros including elk’s milk. I don’t try elk meat because it creeps me out, even though it’s a local specialty.
We walk again around the city, exploring shops and cafes, but today it seems even colder than yesterday.

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The silence of these white boundless landscapes is something touching. I remain alone for some minutes, standing completely still, in front of this white huge and silent entity.
I’ll often go back there with my thoughts. That will be the picture of the whole trip more than any other, it will remain engraved on my mind. I don’t know exactly why, maybe because silence and emptiness are always more difficult to find, maybe it was simply this, what seemed precious to me of that moment.

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Let’s pick up the train to go back feeling ‘devastated’. Our facial skin seems almost burned by the sun, maybe it is because of the cold.
At home, in Trondheim, we collapse of tiredness. “What do we call today?! I don’t know, I would say feeling-devastated-day!”. We sleep for 10 hours.

DAY 6 – ITALIANS RECIPES FOR A NORWEGIAN COZY DINNER

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We’ve missed Janne and the kitchen of Trondheim’s house. It’s nice to be back here!
We are ready to start a cooking marathon to prepare a home-cooked dinner of Italian delicacies. We get to work to find all the ingredients by exploring different supermarkets of the area – which is one of my favorite things to do when I am abroad.
I guess I’ve been more than half an hour in front of the cheese counter, just to realize that with my carry-on luggage I won’t be able to take home anything with me. However, I buy a kilo of knekkebrød with pumpkin seeds, Polarbröd e cinnamon rolls.
Life seems quite expensive here, but the change from Norvegian crowns to euros is very easy. One hundred crowns are about ten euro.
After having explored supermarkets, we go back home with everything we need, also with a pack of italian Savoiardi cookies, perfect to make tiramisù.
With a background of a quite crazy music playlist, ranging from techno to traditional Norwegian songs, we make tiramisù and fresh tagliatelle with Janne’s pasta machine, adding crushed dried mushrooms into the dough, like a powder, as Valentina (Hortus) taught me.
We have dinner altogether by candlelight, toasting with Valpolicella red wine.

DAY 7 – EXPLORING THE COAST

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Last day has arrived, all of a sudden. I check on the calendar on the phone if it is really true that one week has already passed, it doesn’t seem possible.
We already organize our last meal. We wake up thinking what we could eat later, like Italian grandmothers do, since lunch represents for them the whole core of the day! I am kidding, but today Renata wants to make a traditional Norwegian recipe: torskefilet bakt med rotgrønnsaker. So, we go out hunting for ingredients and for a walk on the coast, one of the places I liked most of all.

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We sit down around a wooden table in front the sea, eating peanuts. We talk about our projects, our next travels and about Renata’s new website, just put online few days ago. (Go and see how lovely it is!!). I feel good.
We breathe the cold air at the top of our lungs. Renata always teaches me a lot of things.
With just two minutes of Strala yoga – of which she’s a guide – I learnt to drop a little bit of my constant anxiety about life. She teaches me to take things easily. To look at the beautiful things we have with enchanted eyes. To feel our body. To be authentic. To live without fear. To trust.
I am thinking of all these things, while I prepare myself for an important long travel to Australia and New Zealand. I am very happy but also a bit anxious about it.
I feel glad to have a friend like her, who is also a kind of guide, a good presence for the impact she has on me. We speak the same language, although in reality we speak different languages.
We can talk heart to heart, no judgment , no fear.
Maybe travelling is just that for me: finding home in the world, side by side with my soul mates – near or far.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Agnes {Cashew Kitchen} 27/04/2017 at 8:00

    What a lovely story! And your moody photography always captures my heart <3 How did you and Renata get to know each other? It must feel so valuable to have good friends in different parts of the world, that can show you their everyday life and their culture. I love the Norwegian landscape but I've never been to Trondheim, Or Roros! Gosh, that village was the cutest! It feels so close to Sweden, yet so far away. We don't have nearly enough of that old culture left here, I feel like. Or perhaps in the north. Though I recognize the chocolate & peanut butter brands 😉 Thanks for sharing this wonderful travel story Zaira! I enjoyed it so much!

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