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.

Back to the Danube

By Stuart Lowe on

After a visit to Interspar to buy some cold juice, I headed to the main square then along the Drave river to the main bridge. I followed the newly added section of EV6 marked on Oruxmaps to the point that Mislav had told me about - the joining of the Drave and Danube. Just before the village there is a look-out point that is reached by a path lined with crucifixes. Presumably there is some religious significance but I am unsure what that is as the sign was in Croatian.

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Croatian fields

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At the confluence of the Drava and the Danube

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Church near the confluence of the rivers

From here the route headed in a more southerly direction again to Vukovar. On the outskirts it tried to rain although I only felt four drops. On these warm days I'd really like a bit of rain to cool me down.

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Vukovar

I stocked up on food and liquid at the local supermarket. As I was putting my purchases away in my top bag I was approached by a man asking for a cigarette. He was a bit too close to me - in my personal space - and that made me a little suspicious of him. He asked if I was American. I shook my head. It seemed like a weird assumption given that I hadn't met any American cyclists in Europe. He tried almost a dozen other countries before getting to England (as close as many people seem to be able to get to the UK). He then asked me which town I was from. I pointed at my top which says "Yorkshire" - my county rather than a city. He said he knew it and asked if it was a big town. He was the second person since San Francisco - the first was in Gary, Indiana - so I told him I had to go to Istanbul and rode off.

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Vukovar

The country became a bit more hilly after Vukovar. There were a series of valleys emptying into the Danube and each had a little village nestled in it. On the tops were fields of wheat, corn, cabbage and vines.

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Harvester

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On the road

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Looking down into Šarengrad

Shortly after 3pm I reached Šarengrad which was Thomas Stevens' destination for the night. This was the second time I'd arrived at my destination so early. Either it was the poor roads of 1885 or Stevens' cycling companion, Igali, I had to thank for a fairly short day.

Oruxmaps had indicated a campsite and there was indeed a sign pointing to "free camping". I followed it to a bit of ground between a closed river-side restaurant and the Danube. There were no facilities (it was free after all) and it was still quite hot in the sun so I bathed in the river and dozed on a bench in a small patch of shade waiting for the sun to drop. Whilst waiting, a monk from the monastery came down to the river and chatted with a man who was watching the fishermen.

As evening approached I set up my tent, made dinner, and a flask of tea. After dinner two little boys, no older than about seven, turned up on bikes. The older of the two knew a surprising number of English words for such a young lad. We established I was English, had a bike and a tent, that he lived in Šarengrad and then his mum called him and his brother away - either because he shouldn't be talking to strange English men or because it was time for bed.

I was left alone to contemplate the sun setting along the river and looking across into Serbia on the other side. Tomorrow I was going to cross the border and cycle outside of the European Union.

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By the Danube

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Sunset on the Danube