Naked European Walking Tour 2007 – Monday

This year’s Newt team met at the Bad Ischl Bahnhof (train station), a small town nestling at the foot of the Totes Gebirge mountain range, south-east of Salzburg. Our small contingent, consisted of John, who had flown from the UK, myself currently living in Munich, and a carload of French enthusiasts, Bernard, Jacques and Sylvie, and of course the indefatigable Christian from last year. We walked through the town and set off from a farm on the outskirts, before heading up into the woods above. It was a grey day, and although the sun was not shining, at least it wasn’t raining, and we had not gone 10 metres into the trees before we were all naked, taking photos and laughing. We walked under the trees shadows for a while, past large limestone outcrops, along the largely abandoned trail. After a time we had gone far enough for irrepresible Sylvie, who has had some very serious hip surgery, and she returned to the car with Jacques, to meet us later on further up the valley. The rest of us continued up through the forest, quietly tramping along the steep empty trail. After a couple of hours, we came to an impasse. The trees ahead of us had been struck by a storm some months previously and the hillside looked like (I imagined) a battlefield. Enormous trees were laying around like a giant game of “pick-up-sticks”, for hundreds of metres up the slope. We stopped for lunch at our high point, before retracing our route back down the hillside, using a forest road to contour up the valley towards our target ridge. The view across the valley was stupendous, high rocks surging upwards from atop each alp, fluffy tree covered slopes all around under a friendly sky. Descending at first via a steep overgrown path, we switched to follow the forest road, and it was here we had our amusing public encounter of the day. On a bend of the forest track, a car drove slowly past the four naked men, and the female passenger was clearly surprised, and she brought her hands to her face in mock shock. What we found particularly funny was that she covered her cheeks, not her eyes – most amusing. Finally we reached the gasthof in the valley where we met Sylvie and Jacques once more, and had a well deserved apfelschoerle. This is fizzy water with apple juice, and it was amusing observing the French trying to pronounce such a word. Then we had dinner. We camped by the river under the trees and slept well.

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