July 30, Day 17: Cruising through beautiful Bavaria!

After a night without the tarp, we woke up under the blue sky, ate our daily dose of porridge with view on motivated people in the fitnesscenter and got ready to take off to the center of Wasserburg.

Sadly, Daniel had to leave the group today. We had a long goodbye and also some tears. But there wasn’t too much time for sadness because we soon welcomed our new groupmember: Dominic, who is going to join us for the last week of riverwalking.

In the new constellation we continued  our way with the bikes to Kraiburg. We had lunch at a wonderful place next to the Inn with great weather and hot temperatures. Shortly before we arrived in Kraiburg, Jasmin’s bike chain broked. -but we have Jure!!! He repaired the chain within minutes and we could finish our trip. We spent the evening with swimming in a small stream, washing clothes and preparing a bonfire on the river banks of the Inn. So we are having a relaxed and funny end of the day. Oh, by the way: today we’re sleeping in front of the primary school of Kraiburg, thanks to the mayor Dr. Herbert Heiml!

July 29, Day 16: Here comes the sun :D

How sun changes mood and gives everyone a smile even in the morning before breakfast. We guess, or at least it feels like that, it was the first sunny day after two weeks. Already in the night the wildest slept under the stars without the tarp. Others were proud because they learnt how to built a tarp and finally had the feeling to deserve sleeping under their self-made-tarp.

Since we left the Austrian Alps we discovered a totally different landscape in Bavaria: FLAT. Also we observed the new very sad river which turned into a dead flow. It looked like a brownish brew. We remembered how we swam in that river, now we can’t even imagine washing our vegetables in it.

We cycled a very long flat, dry and hot path along the levee of the Inn. Although we had two flat tyres (on the same bike!), we reached our lunch point at 2 pm at a beautiful lake in a nature preserve. Apparently, we were not used to bike over 35 km in hot weather anymore, so once we had eaten our sandwiches most of us fell asleep on the pier.

Altogether we rode 50 km to arrive at our final destination. Surprisingly, it is not a camp site, it is the backyard of a sports center. The night is still young and we might go to the center of Wasserburg later.

July 28, Day 15: Third week, third country :) Guten Tag, Deutschland!

We woke up after a rainy night in Kufstein and enjoyed looking at the sky as it was slowly turning blue suggesting that we will have some nice weather. The cooking team prepared a wonderful breakfast and we enjoyed it while feeling the sun on our skin again after such a long time. We were surprisingly quick to pack everything and to clean the place up before leaving for a meeting with the press in the old centre of Kufstein. After some pictures, Beatrix, our new guest-walker, joined us and we had a quick name game to welcome her. We soon took off on our bikes to Germany, sadly the weather was not like we wished for and we soon got wet again. The river changed its lively mountain flow for a slow lazy movement between two dams on its sides and it was a sad sight. The ride was relaxed and short with a nice snack break in between before we reached our first campground in Germany in the early afternoon so we had plenty of time to chill in the sun, have a tarp building workshop, go swimming, take a shower and have some deep discussions about everything and nothing at the same time. We are now looking forward to a delicius dinner in the sun and a dry night. Meet us on our bike tour to Wasserburg tomorrow!

 

July 27, Day 14: The magic of silence

Finally, after a rainy day and night we slept relaxed until a peacock woke us up. After a typical breakfast (means: Poridge and bread), but this time much more chilled with guitar music and singing from Maria, we went through Kufstein by bike. As we have received delicious bread from the local bakery Hauber we stopped for a second to express our gratefulness. Thanks to the tourism office Kufstein and Yvonnes Mother Gabi we got the tickets for the chair lift up to the Kaisergebirge. The ride took 20 minutes and we could enjoy the view while slowly getting up – one by one as they had individual chairs. Starting at the Brentenjoch we went to the Gamskogel. Everbody went in solowalks up to the peak to reflect the past days and what we have experienced so far. A lot of us calmed down by walking on their own. On top we had a wonderful view to the mountains „Zahmer Kaiser“ und „Wilder Kaiser“ and spent the whole afternoon there. At the evening we will gather at the home of the shooting ranch, where we will drink tea and sit together.

July 26, Day 13: It´s raining – man – it´s raining

When we all woke up it already started raining. As usually we had porridge for breakfast. After we packed our stuff and all the tarps, we stood in a circle in order to speak about the day.

We were already very wet, when we started our bike tour. We changed our plans and instead of going to another camp ground, we went to a shooting range near Kufstein, where we are going to stay for two nights now.

The 45 kilometers to Kufstein were really hard because it was raining the whole time. Nevertheless we didn´t lose our motivation and were really fast in Kufstein. Although the weather was bad nobody got sad and everybody kept similing.

When we arrived the car drivers were already at the shooting ranch and started to prepare tea and lentils for us. After most of us changed into warm clothes, we started to build up our tarps. Today our tarp is very special. You can see it on todays photos.

Our lunch was ready when we finished building and we think it never tasted that good. It also warmed us from the inside. And then Nate, group leader of the past three Riverwalks, surprised us with his visit. Now we are playing cards, give each other a massage and just chill the rest of the day. Our mood is pretty good, although we are still looking forward to having drier and sunnier days.

July 25, Day 12: „Cold hands, warm hearts“

After a restday in Innsbruck and the very informative “Wild Rivers Film Night” with Tobias Schäfer from “GRÜNE LIGA” we had enough new energy to start Day 12 at 6 o’clock in the morning. The reason for getting up that early was a meeting with local journalists at the Inn river in the center of Innsbruck. Toni Vorauer, a WWF-River expert, joined us on the first kilometres of our trip. We arrived perfectly on time with our rafting boats, gave some interviews and handed over our collected water from the source of the Inn in our beautfifully coloured bottles to representatives of the city of Innsbruck and the Alpine Convention. After a storm of photo flashes and interview we continued our long journey (about 37 km) on the Inn River. During our raft we did funny things like trying to make a willy and flipping the boats, as the rafting tour itself was not that exciting. Furthermore we did something more senseful: We were swimming after plastic and other rubbish that was floating on the river. Even at the little beach where we had our lunch break, we cleaned up and had three bags of litter in the end (quite a lot for that size of the beach). But we also kept doing silly things. During our cleanup we found some T – shirts. Jure and Martin decided to try to find out if they have potential for being a model (We think they do!! Have a look at the pictures).

The next challenge was to stop on the very narrow exit of our rafting tour. And together with our amazing guides we made it. Now we are on the next nice campground. People are having hot showers to warm themselves up after a long day in the cold water. Some of us still have cold hands, but luckily we have warm hearts due to everything we have achieved and experienced so far.

Today was our last day of rafting. During the time on the rafting boats the group has grown together even more and we have new motivation to continue our journey on the bikes tomorrow.

 

July 23, Day 10: Raft´n chill, yeah!

In the middle of the night a thunderstorm woke us up roughly. It lasted for about an hour but most of us stayed dry. After a good breakfast we started the day with a funny ninja-game. Back on our rafts we made a first stop at a little waterfall and tried to swim under it. With soaked neoprenes we started our tour for this day. It was really relaxed and that was why we tried to catch up sleep on the river, tried to be on the back of a kajak or paddle it on our own, threw some teammates into the Inn and crashed into a bridge on purpose. After we had lunch in a little bay on the side of the river, some sunbeams welcomed us back on the river for another relaxed ride to Völs. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and the rain chaised us again, but this time it didn’t bother us as we were already wet and wearing our neoprenes. Completely soaked we arrived in Völs where we will stay for two nights now. All in all it was a funny and relaxed day after more than a week with a lot of action. Tomorrow there is going to be a “Wild Rivers Film Night” at the Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in Innsbruck. See you there at 19:00!!

July 22, Day 9: Hitting the waves

The tarp had one more time successfully kept us dry from the continous rain. Over night there was quite a lot of precipitation coming from the sky which didn’t help to make our soaked clothes dry. Being almost late in departure (surprise!), after only a few kilometres we were special guests of a luxury fish fun park, the „Fischlift Runserau“ (- „Eine innovative Lösung für schwierige Standorte“), whose purpose is to give the fish a ride over the 16 meters water level difference of that small power plant. Incredibly, that project had cost about 3.5 million Euros! Remarkable features like a concrete tower that lifts the fish up, a camera to monitor the fish movement, a tunnel of 600 meters to release the fish upstream PLUS a goody bag from the TIWAG were quite impressive memories of that 2 hours visit. Extremely satisfied by the new knowledge and the short discussions, we had to continue with our bikes all the way until our lunchbreak. Imst is the perfect spot to change a bike for a rafting boat and that’s just what we did. Nearly everyone was boiling under the strong sun and the layers of neoprene, so a cool bath in the crowded Inn was just right. After the briefing of how to handle a paddle, three boats of Riverwalkers hit the waves. Cheering at each other, the landscape was passing quickly. Still, some exciting manoeuvres were tried out: standing up, spinning around or jumping in the refreshing water, for example. The final turn was the jump-out here at Stams, where we are setting up the tarps and preparing the dinner right now – ready to close our eyes full of excitement for the next rafting adventure… Zzzzzz….

July 21, Day 8: Crossing the border!

Our day began in Strada. After breakfast we had a group game and the first goodbye of our guest walker, Dario 🙁 Our plan was to cross the Swiss-Austrian border which was only ten kilometers away. But after a few minutes an accident happend. A group member fell from her bike with an unintended double salto, resulting in a bruised arm and ellbow. Brave as she is, she went on a few more kilometers but realized she won´t be able to continue. Therefore she left the group one day earlier than planned.

We moved on to the castle Altfinstermünz and enjoyed an audio-guided tour.

The cycling trip went on to Tösens where we had lovely wraps for lunch. We could watch the Inn flowing by with an enormous force and energy.

Later on we met the expert Walter Michaeler for showing us the revitalisation in Serfaus. He taught us about the plant “German Tamarisk'” which is a sign of a natural overflowing river area, similar to the revitalisation project in Strada in Switzerland. In the distance we could already see a wall of rain coming. We arrived soaking wet at the camping ground in Prutz which welcomed us with sunshine and two new guest walkers, Lena and Valentin. They will join us for the following week. After building up the tarps, showering and prepairing the next day we had a delicious lentil dal. We are looking forward to the new chapter in Austria which will start with the rafting tour tomorrow!

July 20, Day 7: Last day in Switzerland :(

After breakfast we had a guided tour at a hydropower plant a few minutes away from the campground. We had a nice guided tour through the buildings. The guide explained us how the power plant produces electricity and how it is built up.

Then we started our way to the next campside in Strada. Shortly before we arrived it began to rain heavily and we had our lunch under a tree (so romantic!!!). The tarps were already set up by our bus drivers. At half past two Thomas picked use up and we helped out cleaning up along a restored part of the Inn.

Highlights were for example: Shoes, pipes, a big metal piece and many plastic things.

We collected trash for about 1 ½ h. Afterwards we had our next input from Pio Pitsch, an expert in restoring rivers and river ecology. He told us about how the river had changed in the last 30-40 years and also about a restoring project which ended in 2012. Many measures were getting done for reaching a natural river ecosystem.

The last evening in the Swiss we spent in a nice little restaurant in Strada next to the Inn. We had an awesome dinner with homemade dumplings and also (the best) homemade Engadiner nutcake.

The rest of the evening we laughed a lot and had a great time in the fancy restaurant. Big thanks to everyone who made the tour in Switzerland so special and thanks for the great hospitality that we experienced whenever we got in touch with the Räto-Romanic people in Upper and Lower Engadin! Thanks to Angelika Abderhalden who took every effort to make the Swiss part of Riverwalk 2017 unforgettable!