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.

A day in Osijek

By Stuart Lowe on

At breakfast I chatted with Michael. He seemed to have been inspired by my trip, and his experience since Munich, and was itching to cycle on to Athens rather than stop in Belgrade. The only thing stopping him was the holiday with his girlfriend. I gave him my number in case he had any trouble as I'd be a day behind him. I'd been having trouble with Google Maps as it wouldn't let me save maps for offline in Hungary onwards. Michael told me he was using Oruxmaps and had been able to download country portions of OpenStreetMap for it. This sounded great and I used the WiFi to get maps for Croatia and Serbia.

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Michael leaving

I arrived at the Tourist Information Office just after 11 am having misjudged how many traffic lights there were between the hotel and it. I was met by Mrs Vesna Latinović - a reporter from the local newspaper. The paper is a direct descendant of Der Drau whose assistant editor had met Thomas Stevens so this was very pleasing for everyone. After the interview and having my photo taken by the official photographer, Mislav took me for a "cyclist beer" in the main square. It actually turned out to be a shandy and was very nice. Mislav had been reading up on Stevens and had been excited to discover that after his bike ride around the world he went looking for the famous explorer Stanley in Africa. It turns out Mislav is related to the most trusted assistant of Stanley. What a coincidence! As we were sat talking about Croatia and Osijek, Mrs Latinovic came back. She had aquired some stickers for me! I immediately put one on my bike.

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Mislav

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Cyclist beer

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Osijek sticker

In the afternoon I saw a penny farthing in the main square outside a bike shop. Unfortunately it was broken so I couldn't have a ride on it.

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Penny Farthing in Osijek

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Osijek cathedral

Later I visited the site of the yew-shrub maze that Stevens had been to. Mislav told me that unfortunately it no longer existed but was located where the football stadium now is.

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Football stadium

I headed back around to admire the fortifications of the old town before crossing the Drava river to spend some time at the "Copacabana". I followed the lead of the locals and had a swim in the Drava. Afterwards I found a restaurant on a boat and had the "perkelt" - a local dish that Mislav had recommended to me.

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Old fortifications

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The Drava river looking towards the 'Copacabana'

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Plane over the Drava

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Perkelt on the Drava

Altogether I have had a fantastic time in Osijek and I won't forget the lovely people I've met.