Day 5: The walk goes on…

After an amazing full-moon night everybody woke up alive, unafraid of the terrible taily-booooone (what is it, by the way?)! The sun rose and the mountains shone in their beauty,  greating the Riverwalkers (or Mountainwalkers?).
After an evening debate we improved our group skills and managed to be punctual for the first time!!!! 😀
Riverwalk_Day5_015We started our trail and after one hour and a half we reached the nearest point to the sky of this Riverwalk, 1200 metres above the sea level! Here we greated the sun and stretched with Aris and Mana, our first workshop for the day… do you want to know something about the second one??? Reaaaally practical!
Nate was prepared to share his experience with us: how to shit in the woods!! If you want to make the perfect shit in the forest you need to follow the “4Ds rule”, distance, depth, drainage and decent view! And what if it doesn’t help?? There are 4 fantastic positions that will help you (and your partner?!?)…. but if you want to know them, you will have to become a Riverwalker 😉
After a very long downhill walking we were debating about wether to go to the waterfalls or going to the hostel to have lunch. Maybe we still have to work on decision making… The group split up and the ones that remained at the waterfalls took too many pictures in the freezing water!! Our hair was drying from the waterfall’s wind, and to make things perfect we lay on beautiful white rocks and relaxed…!
The group gathered again around the food in an extrafancy hostel with military beds and marble floor. After washing our clothes we played Ninja and discovered that Gaia is the Ninja goddes, what made Andrea and Nathan feel endangered. They united their manly forces against a goddes, we will soon see what the consequences will be…
We then split again, some went to sleep, some had a cold military shower and others had a very interesting stalking workshop. We discovered that Sergio has a perfect hearing and everything was going well untill a typical italian old man wanted to remind us that we were on his private property… luckily he didn’t have a gun!
Dinner is done, our bellies are full but we are still complicating about our future menus!! Wine has helped us to get to an agreement and to end our day together in a fantastic circle where everybody expressed his/her favourite moment during these amazing five days together! 🙂
See you tomorrow!

Day 4: A burning fire

But let’s start from the beginning. It all began with a sea of fog revealing only the mountain peaks.

If you saw our breakfast this morning, you would’ve thought we were in Spain. People were eating on a tiny square; on the other side some were painting their feet to leave a print not only on the banner but also in the memory. First mentioned is bragging with a picture of our sponsors, huge white letters and will be our companion for the rest of the trip.
Another fellow found his way to the side of each of us: a wooden walking stick, prepared by the glorious Massimiliano. As the time passes by and more and more adventures happen, the wooden stick will become a personal ‘signature’ from each of us by carving the bark.
Ready to walk!
Starting like a long Horned Viper (you get to know about that later), along the tortures road down to Resia Valley, a Common Bussard rose upon our heads, watching us and guarding our way. Crossing a huge bridge made us feel like beeing on a tropical trip in Vietnam… but actually at this point the Natural Park “Prealpi Giulie” began.

Thousands of trees. Billions of sun beams. And 20 Riverwalkers. 20 Riverwalkers that turned into Mountaingoats. “We are sweating so much that it’s becoming a Sweatwalk”, Nate gasped tiredly.
Another bridge. Another break. Staying faithful to our spirit we ate at a turquoise river. Neopren guys appeared out of the blue (waterfall) doing canyoning.
After ascending a steep scree the brave ones approached to a kind of fascinating canyon, splish-splash! For the adventurous types we left a treasure hunt in the form of Geocaches behind us…
We almost could touch the hut, our destination for the day, as the already mentioned Viper stopped us from running towards the tempting comfort that a small mountain shelter could offer. With an incredible amount of awareness everyone sneaked by the surprised snake face and dropped on the outside floor, just using the last energy for not falling into the field of stinging nettle.. and into the forest inhabitant’s poop.

A hut surrounded by the mountains.
New home for the night. New place for new thoughts. New sticks to carve.
The group members are slowly getting used of their roles and things are running smoothly.

When the sun hid behind the mountain tops, the clan’s chief showed us how to start a fire using bowdrill method. Although the end result was just a spark, we are staying highly motivated to try again tomorrow.

When our bellies were already rumbling like thunderstorm we gave up and used some matches to make a campfire. As the flames began to grow, also our inner thoughts and burning problems were voiced out loud during reflection time. All was quickly forgotten when we satisfied our appetite with traditionally made italian polenta under an rising sparkling moonlight.

Ghost stories and bonfire chants. Wolf howling and enchanting woods. With little folk and faries.


The first travelling day is behind us. And it was a tough, but a rewarding one.
As we are still trying to find our group dynamics, the morning started with a bit of a hassle. Still, proudly, we managed to keep up with the general time-plan (well, with the Academic 15 delay, but who’s counting) for putting down our camp. And that even included a group photo on the Cavazzo Lake. Don’t we just look stunning in our brand new T-shirts?

The first travelling day was also our longest one. So, the decision was to bike it through. It started with a steep climb, but as our guides were scaring us how steep it is, we were mentally prepared for it and managed it without any bigger issues.
Our guide was actually a biologist, so while we were having a break at the top of the hill, he took us to see the preserved swamp with lots of wildlife just hanging around there.
A hint: We liked the place so much, that we actually left a geocache behind for all our followers. Try to find the swamp by the road. Good luck!

After our breathing and heart beats relaxed, we continued our way. And for the first time we saw the magnificent Tagliamento. Just imagine a group of cyclists doing “Ahhh…”, “Ohhh…”, “Wooow…”. The massive riverbed is rather empty at the moment, as it is the peak of the summer. But already imagining it full during the rainy period in Novembers is impressive.

There was a time for a stop in the Venzone village, which was destroyed during the Earthquake in the 70s, but rebuilt in the same fashion afterwards. The fountain in the middle of the market offered a really nice relaxation, while one guy even managed to find a coffee there and went for a quick fix.


As the group was already mounting the bikes, Nate observed: “’Did Ales have his coffee?’ will probably become the next thing during our walk.” ☺
The running gag continued when the whole group began to show him the coffee places at all the new locations. Truly a compassionate crowd!
Just at the outskirts of Venzone we ate our lunches and the brave ones jumped in the water.

Some more cycling followed and we entered Resia valley (where there was already the next chance for the group to have a cup of macchiato, cappuccino or espresso.

Shortly after we entered the valley, the river Resia (yes, it is called the same as the valley) was just too inviting, so we jumped in. Technically speaking we sat in it, because it was not deep enough, but you get the idea. The brave ones even went for a swim, while some others simply enjoyed the sun rays at the river banks.


The bravest ones deserve a special mention. Hail to Mana, Martin and Matija.

And then it started. It’s always the last climb that destroys you! It was only 3 kilometres of easy climbing followed by a 2 kilometre steep climb. Red faces, deep breaths, fast heart bits, slow speed in the lowest gear, huge extension of the group size and some walking their bikes up the mountain,… The perfect description of the last metres of the trip.

When we arrived in Prato di Resia, we just couldn’t do anything else than sit in front of the house for a while. Then we hunted up our rooms, which offered just amazing views over the valley and mountains. Just before the dinner we were greeted by the Director of the Natural Park Julian Prealps, Mr. Stefano Santi. He really nicely summarized the situation in the park.

Italians just love to eat late dinners! Finally, at 9 pm, we sat down in a nice restaurant and enjoyed our long awaited meals.

Day 2: energy and moonlight


Good morning everybody! After our first successful test of the sleeping bags we are ready to start… with the breakfast!

Our bellies full and our ideas for the workshops ready, we started the day. The first workshop took place at the lake where we had the most amazing view of the scenery. We had to face a very difficult decision: out of three very interesting workshops we only had time to choose two. The workshops topics were: how to set up a tarp tent, how to read a map and orientate and lastly how to give first aid.

After the hard decision done, we cooled down in the lake, when we had some spare time. Because swimming burns a lot of callories (girls thumbs up!), we were starving, and were happily rescued by our cooking team, which this time decided to serve us with a delicious exotic couscous salad. Yummy!

What followed was the walk (the first walk together as a group!) to the Som Plago hydro power plant, where we had an exiting tour with an excellent Italian translator (who also happens to be the manager of the powerplant).

At the powerplant we were warmly welcomed and given some nice souvenirs and a lot of coloured helmets! We first went through the main entrance where we had a short presentation about how the powerplant actually works. Afterwards we moved inside the underground tunnels with the water pipes and huge electric cable cords. The electric power running through these cables is much higher than the voltage we have in our houses! We were shown how the cable looks from inside out (they used paper and oil in the old times instead of plastic!) Then the construction hall was shown to us.

What followed was the tour around the gigantic turbines, which were steady and did not make noise. (We were given earplugs in case if they would be turned on. Thankfully they weren’t.) What positively surprised us in the end of the tour was the decorated interior of the powerplant. They even had a fresco, that was showing the visitor the whole history of Friuli Venezia Giulia up to the middle ages.


When we came back, we had a lot of exciting team building activities. First we experienced how the decision making is in theory. After that we played a game to prove our decision making skills in practise. At the game we had two islands. All of us were standing at the same island and had to go to the other one. We got one pair of magic shoes. Everybody could use the shoes just one time to reach the other island. So we ended up carrying all of us around and learning important things about decision making.


We ended the day with a water ceremony at the lake in the moonlight. This made us feel our connection to each other and to ourselves.


We gave our wishes and hopes to the group.

We gave our wishes and hopes to ourselves.

And now with our wishes and hopes in mind we go to sleep.



Ready to Riverwalk (2015)! Lake Cavazzo – the right place to start!

It´s a new year, new rivers, new riverwalkers, new places.

One year has passed and the walkers are back, getting to know each other at the lake of Cavazzo in Italy. Today, 20 people from Slovenia, Italy and Austria met for the first time.

So here we are at the beautiful camping ground near the lake and ready to start this new adventure. The lake of Cavazzo is welcoming us with its amazing green-blue color, absolutely quiet surface and brightest sunshine.

But first things first: A jump into the lake was absolutely necessary and cooled us down more than we expected! (brrr…)

However, the sunshine, the nice lunch and the getting-to-know-us-games warmed us up again. We introduced ourselves not just by telling our names and talking about our motivation for the walk. We also introduced ourselves by telling a partner the story of a personal item we brought. Then we exchanged our personal objects and shared the story of our partner´s item with a different person.

In another game, accompanied by Nate´s magic mandoline music, we were invited to reflect on our wishes and expectations as well as on possible problems and obstacles. For some it might have been a relief that others were also worried about heavy backpacks, bad weather, poor sleeping conditions or dirty and wet clothes 😉

Later, the pioneers, namely the riverwalkers of 2014, presented the history, the goals and the spirit of the project until they turned to this year´s challenge 🙂

In order to split up the tasks, family groups with creative names such as “Lemon, Peace or Green Zebra, etc.” were established. By now, the cooks are ready to cook, the bloggers ready to blog, the guides ready to guide, the motivators ready to motivate, the paparazzis ready to paparaz and the helpers ready to …

…but before we fell into bed, we had a great first dinner and interesting presentations about the WWF Save the Alpine Rivers Project presented by Christoph, Irena, and Marina. We heard the inside story about the Soca and Tagliamento Rivers.  What stood out most for us were these comments:

“Only 11% of the Alpine Rivers are still in an unbuilt, natural state, and shouldn’t we protect these last remaining rivers?”

“The Tagliomento River is threatened to be regulated for flood control – in established Natura2000 areas.”

“While some parts of rivers may be protected, that depending on the political will, rules can be bent.”

“A relatively small project like Riverwalk, could have a larger impact than we think!  People are interested in hearing reasons why young people, in particular, would walk for nature protection!”