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.

South along the Danube

By Stuart Lowe on

Before the trip I hadn't been able to plan a route between Budapest and Belgrade. That was partly because the Garmin software kept refusing to create routes between the places I wanted to go and also because I wasn't sure what to do. The EuroVelo 6 seemed to go down the east side of the river whereas all the places I needed to visit from Stevens's book were on the west side where the roads that seemed to be motorways were. I'd hoped that I'd be able to get some advice from locals when I was here. Unfortunately I hadn't met any locals who cycled and I've found over this trip that locals who don't ride bikes don't give good advice however well meaning they are.

Tonight I was to stay with Patrik and his dad in Dunaújváros. We'd exchanged a few emails and he suggested I follow the EV6 and get a ferry across the Danube (or Duna as it is called in Hungary) at Adony. He offered to meet me there and as he had classes until 3 pm, I suggested I meet him at the 5 pm ferry. Not being able to create the route in my Garmin I was unsure exactly how far away Adony was but it didn't seem like a full day's ride so I decided to have a late start and take my time.

Buda from a bridge over the Danube

I crossed over the Danube to the Buda side of the river and back on the EV6. At Infopark it crossed the river again on the Rákóczi bridge and then took me through some industrial areas before bringing me back onto a large island at the billiantly named M0 road bridge.

I was needing the toilet now and there was nowhere to go. I wasn't in the city but I wasn't exactly in the country either. The country-style road I was on seemed to be a one-street wide village that was lined with houses for miles providing little prospect of a secluded spot or of proper toilets. My dad would be the first to agree with me that the world needs more toilet facilities.

River-side houses

I was deliberately cycling slowly now because I was aware I was about half way to the ferry but still had hours until I was supposed to be there. So, after buying food and drink at a local supermarket I had lunch in a little bus shelter and then had a sleep on its bench as it was the only shade I could find. Unfortunately my sleep was interrupted by a surprisingly frequent bus service that kept stopping to see if I was getting on it. I'd hoped the laden bike would be a clue that I didn't. As the sun moved around it removed my shade so I decided to continue slowly onwards.

I rode along a long road that had some kind of military base or prison on one side of it. All the side roads had signs demonstrating that you'd be shot if you went down them. I pressed on along a road with a monster tractor on it that I could have ridden under. I reached the ferry early so sat on the picnic benches nearby. A little after 5 pm I was on the ferry and back across the Danube. At the landing I met Patrik who was on a snazzy road bike and looked ready for a fast ride. I explained that I wouldn't be that fast.

Monster tractor

The Komp (ferry) at Adony

Patrik is a keen cyclist who regularly covers hundreds of kilometres a week. His brother had ridden from Istanbul through Russia to Mongolia so cycling was in the family. It was nice to be riding with someone today especially as Stevens had ridden from Budapest with Mr Igali. Back at Patrik's house in Dunaújváros he showed me various kit for his bike and his self-built, ultra quiet, computer. He showed me a powerpoint presentation he'd made for his English class so I corrected the (few) grammar mistakes for him. We had dinner and I got to meet his dad after he returned home from work. His dad didn't really speak English but was very friendly and welcoming. You could tell he really loved his sons and didn't seem to mind that his son was letting strangers stay with them. He jokingly referred to me as "The English Patient". As a thank you for the hospitality, I presented Patrik's dad with the bottle of wine I've been carrying with me from the Renchtal tourist office in Oberkirch.

Patrik is a great young man who speaks excellent English and is very enthusiastic about the things that interest him. After dinner we stayed up talking until the small hours when I had to really insist that we got some sleep as he had school in the morning.

Patrik and his dad