Time has come and in addition the bitter sweet aftertaste of spending almost three weeks intensivly together. Three power-ladies left us today and we can’t say that this didn’t effect us all. Even for those who came as guestwalkers later by, already felt how fast a deep relationship can be built.
However, riverwalk-life keeps going on but today we had a “Do whatever you like”-Day. We all enjoyed our day differently. Some of us left the place and went for a walk, or visited Passau already. Some stayed and invented a song for this project, made a massage-workshop, or used the day to sleep and eat when- and whatever they want and some spent the day with reading.
In the evening everyone who wanted went to the river, swam and covered their bodies with mud. Maybe you can guess the order. There we met a guy from pakistan who joined us with hiking up to the castle of Neuburg. While this walk we exchanged some information about rivers in Pakistan. Who knows where we’ll have Riverwalk2018. Pakistan sounds nice.
After a rainy night full of thunderstorms we woke up to a nice morning and had our breakfast while looking outside as the morning sun dried off the wet grass. It was the day of our last bike ride. It began with a visit of the Europareservat Unterer Inn where we spent a few hours learning about the wildlife in that area and the river dynamics during a guided tour with biologist Beate Brunninger. Furthermore we walked through the riparian forest and to the Inn where we saw a lot of rare bird species. This is an important location for migratory birds because it´s their last chance to take a rest before they cross the Alps. The habitat was formed because the hydropower dam slowed down the water and allowed the sediments to create small islands in the river. Filled with knowledge we started the cycling journey to Schärding which is a nice little historic town in Upper Austria. We had a relaxing afternoon next to a small lake while some of us visited the old town of Schärding. After cooking for ourselves most of the time, we really enjoyed having a nice dinner at a restaurant. Then we continued cycling in the cool evening air to our camping spot while enjoying the sunset at the Inn. We were all feeling proud of almost reaching the final destination Passau, which is only 8km away, and celebrated it with a nice evening together!
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the soccer field, which was our sleeping place for last night. While having our beloved porridge and a first cup of coffee, a journalist arrived, asked us about our project and somehow managed to get a good shot of the still sleepy group.
A little later we took off and started today’s tour which was about 30 km long. Our destination for the day was Ering. As it was pretty hot already in the morning, we soon stopped at a lake in Kirchdorf and all went for a little swim. The lake seemed to be very natural and relatively untouched. We saw a watersnake, ducks and many, many fish. With these impressions in mind we continued our tour along the river Inn and its lack of naturality startled us even more than the other days. All along the way we drove along a dam serving as flood protection and keeps the Inn within its artificial borders. Furthermore we passed two more power plants and noticed that the flow velocity of the river totally decreased in the wetlands.
A stop at a viewing point next to a bird reserve lifted our mood up again. It gave an idea of how beautiful the Inn could be if it had the chance to flow in its natural ways. Tomorrow morning we are going to have a guided tour through this bird reserve which we are all very looking forward to.
But until then we’re going to rest and prepare ourselves for our last bike ride of Riverwalk 2017 all the way to Wernstein.
Surprise surprise, our porridge was containing some couscous some left-overs from last nights dinner.
To give you an insight of our morning struggles: packing the van is an every-day challenge since today we even had to include Leas bicycle. Real life Tetris. Also we had a clothing auction with wet towels, shirts and underwear which were left on the fence. Of course they belong to nobody.
With half an hour delay we started our 50 km trip from Kraiburg to Haiming. Our batteries were charged with good food and sunshine and thus we had a really good speed the whole way.
We were promised an ice cream on our way but then had to realize that we planned our break in the only village without any possibility for eating ice cream.
Finally we celebrated the arrival at the sports center where we are going to stay the night with vanilla ice cream, coffee and a bath in the cold creek nearby.
Some spent the hot summer afternoon creating art work, chatting or sun bathing, others explored the nature preserve in Haiming and checked out the meeting point „Innspitz“, the confluence of the Inn and the Salzach. The bike ride and the short hiking tour through the jungle was wild and adventurous.
„Guys, dinner is ready!“ We have to go, the cooks prepared pasta with 60 tomatoes! Tonight the group will gather in a circle to reflect on us and the following days. See you tomorrow!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.