The Danube, second largest river in Europe and famous cycling route as part of the European “Eurovelo” (Eurovelo 6) cycling paths. I reached the Danube in Deggendorf Germany, where the Isar river from Munich flows into the Danube. This large river, which is one of the oldest and most important European trade routes. The Danube, originating in Germany, flows eastwards through ten countries and ends in the black sea between Ukraine and Romania.
I was happy to have some flat kilometres towards Bratislava after all the climbing in Switzerland and the Allgäu. As I started cycling along the Danube in Deggendorf, the first thing I noticed and what I had expected: there are other cyclists! Yeaaahh 🙌🏼
As in the past weeks Anna was the only cycle tourer I saw, I have now met several bike tourers every day. As almost all of them were on a day trip with much less baggage than I had, there was no reason to stop at each of them to ask where they are heading to. Though there were a lot of smiling faces passing me and one has greeted each other, as its common among cyclists.
The routes were well signed, most of them perfectly paved and the sun was out. The only thing I had to deal with was some headwind, but I could live with that.
I spent the first night along the Danube and the last night in Germany at a boat hire in Vilshofen, where I initially just wanted to fill up my water bottles. They also run a small campsite and offered a shower with a place for the tent for a total of 6 Euros, so I couldn’t resist. After they had given me two pieces of cake as a gift, I ended the day with a hoppy liquid bread and fell asleep.
Towards the end of the next day, after I’ve cycled through Passau and did the first few kilometres on Austrian soil, I spent the night behind a Guesthouse after I asked them to set up my tent on their ground. Since it was very early in the season and I was travelling alone, they had no objections with that.
The next morning, when I started early before 7 o’clock, was one of the most pleasant so far on this journey. It was a pretty cold morning and I was cycling on a dam on a seemingly endless bike path, all for myself. There was fog laying over the river and the sun began to rise far away on the horizon of the Danube. The silence together with the sunbeams shining through the fog have created this special atmosphere and I had a feeling of freedom that I have never experienced before.
Little did I know at this time, that there were two guys on loaded touring bikes just cycling half an hour ahead of me. I met Nathan and Elliot from the UK after I saw two loaded bikes from the far distance, next to a bench with two guys on it, waving their hands like crazy. Nathan is on the way to Turkey and on a long distance journey as I am. His friend Elliot is joining him on a part of his journey from Munich to Sofia.
Because they just wanted to continue cycling again after their lunch break and I was looking for a place for mine, I took over the bench and met the boys again in Grein in the evening. We have teamed up, bought some food in the next grocery store and continued to find a great camp spot along the river. And what a Campspot this was! We knocked on a door and asked for permission to stay a night on a field which Nathan had previously picked out with google maps.
After that night, I joined the boys for a total of 9 days as we had the same goal, cycling along the River to Bratislava. So we cycled on as the “Surly trio”, not because we were in a bad mood, but because we all had a bicycle frame from the manufacturer 😁
We had some really fun days and campsites on the way to Sturovo so as an unplanned night out in Vienna’s #1 karaoke bar. I enjoyed cycling in a Group as everything was a bit easier because you could split the tasks. Suddenly buying food was simple, as someone looked after the bikes, cooking dinner was a much faster task and the km’s on the bike went by much quicker when you are talking to someone while cycling.
Another highlight next to the great camp spots was for sure the beautiful Wachau Valley with its vineyards between Melk and Krems which is a well-known viticulture area and a UNESCO World Heritage.
Furthermore we met Bernhard and Harald, two Austrians from Vienna in a coffeehouse on the way to Bratislava. The two were also on their way to the Slovak capital by bicycle and insisted on inviting us to the Viennese speciality “Topfenknödel” and a coffee. After this delicious dessert we made our way to Bratislava as a group of five, where we said goodbye to the two of them at the central square.
After Bratislava, I had two more days and camps with the boys in the Danubian lowland and finally turned north in Sturovo to cycle through Slovakia, where Nathan and Elliot continued cycling along the Danube to Budapest.
What awaited me in Slovakia and Hungary? In the next post!
Special thanks to all of you for being part of my journey: Nathan, Elliot, Harald and Bernhard
Howdy! I'm Fabian, a Swiss adventurer, photographer / filmmaker who loves exploring and capturing our beautiful planet. From March 2019 - April 2020 I cycled 20'000km from Bern Switzerland to the pacific coast in Vietnam, trying to inspire others to do the same, to travel more, going outdoors, enjoying nature and get to know our amazing planet wi live on.