The Donau is what the river is called, not the Danube. And the famous waltz by Strauss is An der schönen blauen Donau (the Blue Danube) Not that is matters, because schön as the Donau is, it has not, under any circumstances (or rain, clouds, or clear sky and sun) or by any stretch or shade of imagination, even faintly resembled the color blau even for a second. I’ve seen it in shades of an olive, green-brown and grey or brown or green but never blue.

But no matter. There we were all in one place all set, with the exception of one of our party (that would be yours truly, the wussy non-swimmer), to go skinny dipping (nackt schwimmen) in the Donau. The party consisted (as agreed there were no photos and identification is by code names only – bearers of the names should recognize themselves methinks) Rabbit, Jessica (the instigator), ‘Roo, Jazzman, the Champion, and me. At the cusp between one day and the next – between darkest midnight and early dawn, at 2:30 AM, six of us walked down from the dorms to the Donau, only slightly tipsy from the heurigen experience earlier in the day, some of us singing all the way, (themes from Singin’ in the Rain, which it was mercifully not!, and the now-stuck-in-my-head My shoes are full of water, (Don’t ask).

After some wandering and looking we found the ideal spot – a raft tethered to the banks just outside the party limits. Off slid the clothes and in they jumped, and while I was slightly jealous (I love being in the water) I was not up for a midnight dunking in unknown waters in the wilderness (okay semi-wilderness) and in the raw at that, especially when I’m done fighting gravity. So I sat with my feet dangling in the water while the others went off swimming, with the Rabbit ( was he ever appropriately named on multiple fronts) periodically cautioning/exhorting the others not to go too far.

The fun part was when the swimmers were trying to clamber back on to the raft. I think it was a wee bit higher than they had anticipated. Anyway after trials and mistrials and few double dunkings later, folks dried off, redressed and we wandered back to our respective sleeping quarters. Wandered doesn’t quite cover it actually – I mean we all wandered, but them someof us had to go on… in cabs, bikes (aah ‘Roo you enterprising soul) etc. But not before a rousing game at the air-hockey (football actually) tables and a riotous rendition of Queen’s We are the Champions (by the losing team!!!) A fitting finale to our intense two-week summer university.

So… Nackt Nacht all. Auf wiedersehen.

P.S. Any comments adding to these memories will be welcome 😉