from tree to tree

Posted on

Google Maps

By loading the map, you agree to Google's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load map

This post is about a 24km walk from Mitterkirchen to Marbach. Andreas the bus driver shows me the site of a tragedy, and I receive two gifts.

Another morning, another view. I opened the tent flap and looked at the 500-year-old oak. It stood there, solemnly towering over the fields. Everything was quiet. My tent was so wet with morning dew that it looked as if it had rained at night.

the 2002 flood

Three hours later I reached a village hidden behind a dam. The dam had been built after a catastrophic flood some twenty years earlier. I knew about the flood because large parts of Germany had been impacted by it as well, and our then-Chancellor had secured his re-election by standing in the water wearing rubber boots.

When I walked past a house with a traffic bus and a travel coach in its driveway ,I noticed two men standing around, talking with each other. I decided to ask them for water.


Twenty minutes later I was sitting on the traffic bus, looking out of the window as my new friend Andreas was driving me through the villages. Andreas and Peter, owners of the house and of the buses, had given me water, hot water, and, upon hearing that I had lost my flask in Vienna, a bottle of fruit brandy. And then, when they heard  that I hadn’t noticed the location where a complete village had been relocated after the flood of 2002, Andreas had insisted on driving me there in his bus.

what happened to Hütting

When we arrived at the site of the former village of Hütting, there was just a field and some trees, one last house between the trees, and the gate of a former restaurant. It had been left there to serve as a memorial to the village of Hütting, the village that got flooded, evacuated by helicopter, and then torn down and moved to another location.

Andreas told me that seventy houses had been torn down and rebuilt a few kilometers behind the protective dam. “And you know what?” he said: “the people chose to rebuild their houses next to each other, just like before. Those who were neighbors in old Hütting were neighbors in new Hütting as well.”

the linden tree

I reached Mauthausen in the late afternoon. First there was a large supermarket, then a busy road, and then there was a square with some picturesque old buildings. I walked past the square and up a steep incline. It was surprisingly brutal, but when I got all the way to the top there was a beautiful tree, the Marbacher Linde. I decided to pitch my tent under the tree.

After a while four young men appeared. They were from the city and had come here to breathe some fresh air. They gave me a translation of the quran and a book about Muhammad. As we were talking I heard a voice behind me: it was Andreas, the bus driver from the morning. He had come with his brother Peter and with his wife, and they had a surprise for me: a new flask, filled with delicious fruit brandy.


the walk from Mitterkirchen to Marbach:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *