Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

All aboard the sleeper train to a healthier life
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The Independent Online

Apart from this, I'm thoroughly enjoying my detoxing regime. On arrival, I had a battery of proper medical tests. To my surprise, as I'm a hypochondriac with more doctors than Woody Allen, there appears to be nothing wrong with me at the moment, but I'm ordered to rest as much as possible.

An essential part of the cure is the delicious diet. Breakfast consists of dry spelt bread and sheep's yogurt; lunch is soup, local veg and perhaps fish from the sparkling lake opposite. Instead of dinner, we sip herbal tea, as an empty stomach at night helps regenerate the digestive system.

The mayr mantra is chewing - hence the dry bread, which makes us practice. We must chomp everything 50 times, ensuring digestion begins in the mouth.

Mornings are spent having strong massages, kneipping (alternate hot and cold baths for the feet, hips or arms), stumbling around in our dressing gowns, and gossiping with fellow guests about our ailments. At the herbal tea station I spot Clement Freud giving racing tips in German, and make a note to collar him for some political tips - I am standing as the Green candidate in the council elections next spring and need all the help I can get.

The day's high spot is staggering down to the aromatic sauna on the shores of Lake Worthersee opposite. To get there we must cross a road and, clad in dressing gowns, we resemble a bunch of escapees from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. As a treat for the ducks, I throw them bread from breakfast, but it's so hard they have to bang it against the jetty to break it up. I must try this technique myself.

My fellow detoxers are an international bunch and include German tycoons, English matrons and soignée Austrian housewives. They all love the regime and, apart from two skinny Irish pop stars who keep sneaking out for strudels, are following the prescribed cure to the letter. I am pretty good, despite being inseparable from my travel kettle and stash of Earl Grey.

Sadly, my heavenly week is nearly over and I have now regained my strength for the epic cross-European rail journey home. I'm going to need it!


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