Naked European Walking Tour 2005 – Wednesday

The next day dawned sunny, and clear, but my feet were so sore and I was so tired, that I thought it a good idea to take a rest day. The Liga-Voelscampsite is a private club in an enclosure on the outskirts of Voels, near Innsbruck. It has a very family atmosphere, with many local people making up the active membership, and the stupendous view of the mountains rearing up behind the trees in the campsite is simply worth the visit. It was the ideal place to take a rest day, and I was made to feel very welcome.

Waking, I set off early and took a bus to the Bergisel in Innsbruck, where the olympic ski jump stands. From here the river wends its way south towards the Brenner. The weather was fair, and I stripped off quickly to follow the winding river path naked, through the trees. After a short tarmac section and a pleasant midday rest, I walked up the wide track of the forested ridge towards Schoenberg. This was perhaps the nicest piece of walking of the whole day. The sun came meandered between the clouds and trees, and the air simply glided over my entirely naked skin. The sun shone down between the trees and the shadows described the steep and green wooded slopes in the way of caressing fingers. I heard barking behind me and soon a young woman and dog appeared around the corner of the path. Because the dog was obviously quite excited, I decided to sit down and let them pass. The woman apologised for the young dog, who was clearly upset to see someone on what it thought was its own territory. The dog sat down and barked constantly and no matter what the woman did, it would not move. She tried calling and cajoling, all to no avail. Finally she ran off up the track and the dog, desperate now that its owner had disappeared from sight, jumped up and leapt past me, only to sit down again and continue barking. The woman gave up and came back past me with yet more apologies taking the still barking dog with her. Soon the path opened out into a field, the view from here in the bright blue sunshine, across to the alps, was simply stupendous. Having circled the small town of Schoenberg, I followed a track which ran parallel to the Brenner motorway. In the forest shade I made good time along the mostly flat paths although I got a bit dehydrated on this stretch as I’d been counting on finding water on the slopes of the forest, but all the streams appeared to have dried up. Eventually, I reached Matrei, and went to a gasthof in Elbogen who took me in, just as the heavens opened and the most torrential rain simply dropped from the now black skies, accompanied by loud cracks of thunder and lightening.

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