07/06/18 Drunk tourist climbs mountain

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Weekly English Practice Drunk Tourist Climbs Mountain


Rescue services spent the night trying to find the Estonian tourist who, following a party, showed up at a restaurant 2,400 metres up a mountain

Before you read the complete article, look at this vocabulary and find it in the text:

upon: at the moment of

blazer: a thin formal jacket

to head: to go (in a given direction)

to make out: to start travelling

steepness: angle, difficulty

to come across: to find by chance

perched: located, sitting like a bird

to have a go (at sth): to try, to attempt

to soothe: to calm, to make less intense

hangover: the unpleasant symptoms experienced after a night of drinking alcohol

let alone: not to mention

to fine: to charge a monetary penalty as punishment for a criminal offence


Listen to the audio

Pavel, a 30-year-old Estonian tourist was on holiday at a ski resort in the Alps. He’d drunk a little too much on a night out, and upon seeing that it was too late for him to use public transport, decided to stay out until the bars were closed. Despite being alone in the dark, with just his moccasins and blazer for warmth, there was now no choice but to head back on foot. However, instead of walking towards his hotel, he made out in the opposite direction.

At some point along the journey, he must have stopped walking and started climbing, because he somehow got past a 400-metre cliff on his way to the top of the 2,400-metre-high mountain. By this point, it was too late to worry about the cold, the steepness of the route or whether he was going the right way. He just kept going, unaware of the fact that the snow ahead of him was increasingly deep and the mountain increasingly steep.

At the end of his route, at about 2 or 3am, he came across a restaurant called the Igloo, perched at the top of a piste called the Ventina, and he mistook it for his hotel. He had a go at putting the key in the lock, and somehow (even though there was no way it would fit) managed to open the door. He drank two bottles of water which he’d found behind the bar to soothe his dehydration -and no doubt his hangover– after the climb, and lay down to sleep in the first comfortable spot he could find: a bench for visitors in the entrance.

The cook and the waiting staff found him sleeping there the following morning when they rode up on their motorbikes to get breakfast ready. He couldn’t remember anything. He was simply mortified, and apologised repeatedly.

Nicoletta Giordano, the owner of the business told EL PAÍS that she still doesn’t understand how he managed to get there without so much as a coat. “We don’t know how he found the physical strength to get up the mountain, let alone which route he took.”

The Estonian, despite his drunk state, had managed to keep walking without sinking into the snow. “He was very lucky to have stayed on the right track. His life would have been at risk.”, celebrated Nicoletta.

Meanwhile, a search had been sent out with dogs and drones to find the man who hadn’t returned to his hotel. (He was later fined for wasting their time.) The owners of the restaurant drove him back safe and sound, and he rode a motorbike back up the mountain the next day to thank them with a bottle of wine from his country. By this time, he’d already read about himself in the news.

Translated and adapted by Alison Keable from: https://elpais.com

“Let’s chat about that!”

Send your answers to your ECP coach!

  • Which part of the story is most surprising?
  • How do you think Pavel felt when he was woken up by the restaurant staff?
  • How much would you have to drink to forget how you got from one place to another?
  • How would you have reacted if you had been the restaurant owner?
  • Do you think it was fair that the rescue services fined Pavel? Why (not)?
  • Can you share a story about a time you or a friend got as drunk as Pavel?


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