On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

Friendly Coatia

By Stuart Lowe on

I crossed the river on the relatively busy 7.45 ferry to Dunaszekcső. It seemed to be the last one until 1 pm. Dunaszekcső was a hive of activity around the local shops and post office. Out of the village I headed on the south/western side of the Danube. This was the hillier bank with the other side having been a flood plain.

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Ferry across the Danube

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Leaving Dunaszekcső

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Field

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Cycle lane

At Movács I enjoyed an ice cream and then bumped into lots of older British people here on a Saga cruise holiday. I chatted to a few and had one lady shout "Yorkshire Post" at me as I cycled out of town (I assume the Grand Départ Yorkshire top must have looked like the Yorkshire Post masthead to her).

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Movács

I followed the EV6 to the border where I met my first passport control since Dieppe. The border guards were as serious and officious as they are almost everywhere but only looked at my passport for a few seconds before waving me through. Köszönöm Hungary. I was now in Croatia. The road signs were yellow.

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Croatia

Unfortunately I had to leave the EV6 on a road route to go to Branjin Vrh which I still can't pronounce. After a rather busy road I headed to "the Duke's vineyard" - Kneževi Vinogradi - and then south along the EV6-on-road-route to Osijek.

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A Croatian's home is their castle. Literally. With crenellations on top.

I rode over the bridge, through the old town, heading for the centre. I was earlier than normal and wanted to find the Tourist Information Office to ask about campsites. At the main square I saw the cathedral and then the familiar "i". Inside I said hello and the lady at the desk told me there was no camping but there was a hostel. Then she said I'd be better in a different place that was about the same price but I wouldn't have to take my bike upstairs (that didn't turn out to be correct). She rang ahead and booked me in. I then started telling her about the reason for my trip and that Thomas Stevens had been here for two days because it had rained. This caught the attention of her colleague, Mislav, who asked if he could photograph me for their Facebook group. We chatted some more and they insisted that I should come back to them tomorrow if I had any questions. With that friendly encounter I headed off to the room.

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Osijek Tourist Information Office

At the hotel I was met by another friendly lady who didn't have many words of English but she'd already been briefed by phone so that helped. She registered me in a huge book that looked as though it may have been the register since Stevens' day.

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Checking in

The room was on the top floor and was sweltering. I had a shower to cool down then went to ask about WiFi. On the way back to the room I saw a guy with a bike. He was Michael and had cycled from Munich throught he Alps. He knew about me already! Not because I was famous but because he'd also been to the Tourist Information Office. They had been surprised to get a second cyclist and sent him in my direction. After he had a shower we wanderd to the main square where we had the local Osječko beer that Mislav had recommended to me. We exchanged stories about our trips. Michael turned out to be a PhD physicist so we also talked about the difficulties of PhD/postdoc life. Michael was heading on to Belgrade on a limited timescale as he was going to have a holiday with his girlfriend. We arranged to meet for breakfast.

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Michael from Munich

Back at the hotel the lady in charge was very excited about something. She took me to her desk and showed me a message from Mislav. She rang him back for me on her mobile. Apparently the local newspaper wanted to interview me. Mislav wanted to know if I could go back to them tomorrow. I said yes.