Riverwalk 2017 – Planning weekend

From March 3 – 6, youth representatives from WWF Switzerland, Germany and Austria will gather in Innsbruck, Tyrol to plan the next Riverwalk – Walk the Inn! 

Together, with WWF staff, the team will discuss the route, camping, program, activities, communication and media events, and get to know the core planning team!

Stay tuned to find out what happens during the meeting!

Will there be a 2017 Riverwalk?

That’s the question many are asking…

And the answer is, “YES!”  There will be at least 1 major Riverwalk in 2017.  This year, the Riverwalk team will follow the Inn River, 500+ kilometers, from its headwaters in Switzerland, through Tyrol, Austria, and then to Passau, Germany where the Inn meets the Danube.

What’s expected to happen?  3 weeks of action: hiking, rafting, biking over 500 km, awareness raising activities, actions – media events, and more!

What’s happening now?  Right now, we are looking for planning team members from Germany and Switzerland to join up with the Austrian planning team to kick off the planning of all the activities, workshops, events, etc.

Know someone who might be interested? Then, please contact Martin Huber, WWF Österreich, Generation Earth, Tel.: +43 650 677 64 86, martin.huber.austria@gmail.com

Want to organize a Riverwalk of your own?  Need some help getting started!? Get in contact with us and let’s see what can happen!

Don’t just sit there, get Riverwalking!

Where are all the photos?

You may be wondering this question…

Well, please have a bit of patience.  They are coming, but due to the slow or almost non-existent access to the internet in Albania we chose to upload the texts first.  But they are coming soon.

Stay tuned!  …and be ready to be amazed.


The last full day…

”Today we woke up early and said our thanks and goodbyes to Gent’s relatives. Afterwards, we started our trip back to Lake Shkoder. Nate left with the WWF van (minus the spare tire, as someone must have needed it more than us!) to get to the car ferry, while we were supposed to walk for “only twenty minutes” to the point where the passenger ferry should come but then “someone” 🙂 thought that we were mistaken and we needed to also go to the other ferry location…so we began to walk.  It was not 20 minutes, but almost 2 hours!  So, we had to hitchhike. Fortunately, two Czechs (a large group of them is marking trails in the mountains) drove some of us and all of our gear to the ferry stop while a group of us were running along the road.

When we arrived there, we discovered that Mario Molla, the ferry driver, was waiting for us at the original ferry stop (the 20 minute hike one). And so… 

Keep calm and let Mario handle it. He came and picked us up! …thank goodness we didn’t have to walk back.

After two hours of beautiful sightseeing on the ferry, Mario stopped and let us swim in the lake. Once we arrived, we met Nate and 3 others hitchhikers who he’d met on the car ferry. We took a shuttle to Shkoder where we said the first farewell to a Riverwalker this day: to Genci (we love you, big mama, we hope to see you soon) and then we bought food for the long rides home.

In the evening we enjoyed pizza and a most beautiful sunset on the lake. Finally, all of us took a real shower…how fine! Now, finally cleaned, we are pretty ready for our last night under the stars (well… How we could be ready for this?).

Tomorrow, we have to wake up really early. And we have to be ready to let go a lot. To be ready to say goodbye, to split up again, and go home, by van, by train, by… (!)

BUT… always look at the bright side of life!

So, we all wish to keep the memories of the (now we can really say this) craziest and wildest Riverwalk ever. And to walk, again, together.

Natën e mirë

Riverwalk…Keep it going, keep it going

Love, Riverwalkers’

Saying goodbye to Valbone Valley

Our stay in Dragobia ended on the 29th with a quick clean up of the whole area where we had lived for more than three days on Fation´s farmland. In less than two hours, all our trash was collected, the tarp tents broken down, our dirty clothes washed and everything else stuffed into the WWF and two mini-vans that would take us over the mountains to Lekbibaj. After a few last thank yous and goodbyes, the Riverwalkers entered the minibuses to leave for an extremely curvy and bumpy mountain ¨road¨, which inspired the Slovenian sisters Stasa and Pia to sing a new song ¨the road is bumpy, don`t be grumpy, just smile smile smile.¨ One of the plus sides of this stomach-shaking ride was that we got an idea of how travelling must have been in a horse carriage, in earlier times.

So, we were very glad to finally depart the vehicles and walk a short but steep path up to the house and meadow of the Albanian participant Gent`s cousin. Refreshed by a quick rest and a swim in the nearby river, the tarps were quickly set up (as always mainly due to the hardest worker of the group, reliable Max) and the cooking group of the day started to prepare dinner for all of us. Yvonne, Ana, Stella and Ardit cooked a lovely supposed-to-be traditional Austrian meal for the group, which was planned as a Kartoffelgulasch, but actually turned out to be regular potato-vegetable soup, tasty nonetheless.

Before everyone could fall into a well-deserved sleep, the stress and organizational chaos of the past few days took its toll on Nate and he had to lie down with a stomach ache and allow his body some rest. Nate unfortunately was not the only patient of the day, also other Riverwalkers needed some peace and quiet, so everyone finally fell asleep, listening to the sounds of crickets and the river of Lekbibaj.

Last day of Riverfest!

Aaah what a morning, after the second night most of the 20 some Albanian participants felt much better because it was their second night of sleeping outside (and they were exhausted). After the breakfast we headed to the river where people could choose between 3 different workshops. Today, we had a wild animal (mainly, lynx) expert come to give a workshop but we could also choose between a wood carving workshop and a creative writing workshop,  both of these were offered by Riverwalkers.

Several of us spent a great time learning about the Balcanic Lynx from Dr. Alexander and had a very interesting discussion with him comparing the economic benefits of conservation of wildlife against an irreversible depletion of wildlife. His quote which stuck was, ¨if someone shoots a mother bear and sells the babies to a restaurant, he´ll get about 300 EUR per cub, but if we leave the bears where they are, tourists will pay much more than that each year to have the chance to see them in the wild.  So, we Albanians can choose… 1 person benefits or the wealth can be spread out.¨  Seems like a very important argumement.

During the creative workshop, participants made some great poems, stories and paintings as well as some nice stick carvings. After the workshops people went for a swim, and then we continued with another great lunch.

After lunch we had time to say goodbye to the Riverfest participants before their departure and everyone got to take a rock from a local river home with them.

Although it was sad to see the camp almost empty, we were also happy to finally have time for ourselves so we decided to have a solo walk after cleaning the campsite. Solo walk is time for everyone to get some time alone by the river, calm down and get closer to the nature. During the solo walk we got a suprise shower and it was quite an experience to see the river during the rain. As soon as the rain ended, a mysterious fog rolled in over the water and a warm breeze blew down the valley.

We quickly prepaired the dinner and continued with the last campfire before going to sleep.  T

he next day the Riverwalk will move on!