Conquering the Donau
Hochstadt an der Donau Travel Blog› entry 24 of 126 › view all entries
The Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga. It originates in the Black Forest of Germany then flows 1771 miles eastward through nine other countries before emptying into the Black Sea in Ukraine and Romania. The river is called the Donau on its flow through Germany and I found access to it near the bridge at Dillingen.
Serious bicyclists and hikers commonly trek the popular river's entire length in a summer or two but the few that I encountered were probably locals. They weren't wearing spandex, toting plastic water bottles, or hauling heavy backpacks full of camping gear. Instead, they pedaled or strolled the two-rut bush trail at a more casual pace, absorbing the fresh air of a colorful fall season in a pristine setting.
Its scenic wilderness was spectacular. Leaves had started to turn color and others fell from trees. Those across the Donau reflected nicely on calm blue waters. I slung my camera strap around my neck and paused often to snap photos. The only wildlife that I saw were a family of swans. I stopped for a long while to watch them drift and feed close to the bank. The two adults were white and their four youngsters, nearly the same size, gray. They didn't seem disturbed by my presence, some fifteen yards away.
Further along, a gray haired gentleman in a brown sweater greeted me with a smile while gesturing his right index finger side to side.
I bypassed the bridge leading into Steinheim - my intended route to a main road - and kept going along the river. I was hooked on the setting. Shortly after passing a meter-high dam which also housed locks for occasional boat traffic, I reached the bridge leading into Hochstadt. Though I had only traveled eight kilometers from the bridge at Dillingen, I felt that I had conquered the mighty Blue Danube. After a couple of cheerful beers at Walter's place, I motored back to Wertingen sometime after dark.