Tour de Danube
Updated: Jul 2, 2022
29th of June 2014 it finally happened! After many months of planning, we launched our epic ride along the great Danube river. We started at the very beginning of the Danube river, in the Black Forest in Germany, and followed on all the way to Romania, where the river runs out into the Black Sea.
Below is a complete view of the final route, from the prologue in Zürich to the final stage in Constanța. The route is exact and based on GPX files we recorded along the way. Check out our GPX-files, journal and photos below the map.
29.06.2014 - Prologue: Zürich, Switzerland >>> Donaueschingen, Germany (83 km): We started the first day of our adventure by reassembling our bikes. Fortunately Swiss Air had been kind to them during transport, so no parts were broken. After a good breakfest at the Holiday Inn Expresss Hotel, we were on our way. As it was raining pretty heavily when we started, we thought we were about to see just how waterproof our Blackburn panniers really was, but luckily the weather got better after some 20 km. We are using the Garmin Edge 810 to navigate and it proved itself extremely useful, by giving turn by turn directions. It took us to roads surrounded by beautiful scenery and hardly any cars. A note to self however is to prevent the Edge from routing on narrow paths and gravel roads. While it certainly caters for some stunning views, the price to pay is steep climbs, many tedious turns and an average speed quite below what we are aiming for in order to reach Constanța before the summer is over. Finally we reached Donaueschingen and checked into Hotel Waldblick.
30.06.2014 - Donaueschingen, Germany >>> Sigmaringen, Germany (94 km): The day started with a bit of disappointment as the Donaquelle, which is the origin of Donau, was closed for restoration. But that quickly got in the background as we started our ride. The landscape is fantastic, but quite a bit more hilly than expected. We hope that will change as we get further down the river. The adjustments we did last night with the navigation and baggage gave the results we hoped for and today we managed to hold an average speed just above 20 km/t. Once in Sigmaringen, we checked into Hotel Garni Jägerhof.
01.07.2014 - Sigmaringen, Germany >>> Ulm, Germany (79 km): It appears as we are out of the woods, for now, and into a more open and flat landscape. The strangest thing happened today, when we were out in the fields. An eagle flew over us and circled a few times before it disappeared. As it happens, the logo for the Rohloff gear system we use on our bikes also resembles an eagle. Hardly a coincidence... On that note we have decided to up the ante for tomorrow's stage and go straight to Ingolstadt, skipping Donauwörth. But first a bit of mingling in the bar and then a good night's sleep, which we will get at Hotel Stern.
02.07.2014 - Ulm, Germany >>> Ingolstadt, Germany (140 km): Being 140 km, todays stage was our longest yet. It was however slightly downwards almost all of the way, so the kilometres rolled by quickly and without much effort. Along the way we passed many small and charming villages. Practically in the middle of them, was a nuclear power plant. The steam from the cooling towers reached sky high and made for a contrast worth reflecting upon. We were a bit too fast when we booked our stay in Ingolstadt at Minotel Pius Hof, so we ended up in an industrial area in the outskirts of town, right next to Audi's headquarters. As we passed straight through Donauwörth we are now one day ahead of schedule.
03.07.2014 - Ingolstadt, Germany >>> Regensburg, Germany (75 km): We woke up today realizing that yesterdays ride had taken a greater toll on us than what it felt like last night. And so we thought best to keep the pace down for todays stage. That turned out to be a good call, as we were surprised by two rather steep climbs. As we crawled our way up the hills, we saw a furry little creature lurking in the surrounding woods. While others may disagree, we are quite sure it was a baby wild hog and was relieved that the mother was nowhere to be seen. Another highlight of todays ride was that for the first time we got so close to the Danube river that we could literally dip our toes in it. Once in Regensburg, we checked into Hansa Apart-Hotel.
04.07.2014 - Regensburg, Germany >>> Passau, Germany (133 km): Considerable headwind and a sizzling 32 degrees Celsius made todays 133 kilometres quite an intense experience. It took us seven hours before we finally reached Passau, where we checked into Hotel König. At Passau, the Danube is joined by the river Inn from the south and the river Ilzfrom the north. This makes Passau a popular starting point for cyclists wanting to ride along the Danube. It is very inspiring to see these cyclists roll by and we can hardly wait to join them. But first it is time for our planned day of rest, as we now have six stages and 600 kilometres behind us.
06.07.2014 - Passau, Germany >>> Linz, Austria (93 km): We started our ride by undertaking a wicked climb up the ridge just south of the Danube. That was certainly NOT what we had in mind when we woke up today. We had envisioned ourselves sliding effortlessly along the river with little to none elevation, accompanied by the other cyclists. We were also looking forward to see the famous bend at Schlönge, where Danube does a 270-degree turn. But we didn't get any of that, instead our trusty navigator decided to send us on a hilly inland route. A bit disappointed, we arrived at Linz six hours later, where we checked into City Hotel. Tomorrow we will pay closer attention to exactly what the navigator is proposing, before pedalling away. A highlight of todays stage was however that we crossed the border into Austria.
07.07.2014 - Linz, Austria >>> Melk, Austria (112 km): Well aware that we needed to do something about our route planning, we started todays ride by locating the EuroVelo 6. This is a bike trail that goes all the way from the coast of France and the Atlantic Ocean, to our final destination, the coast of Romania and the Black Sea. After spending way too much time in the ridges above the Danube on the first stages, the EuroVelo 6 gave us exactly what we were hoping for when we planned Tour de Danube - effortlessly cruising along the banks of the Danube, with ridges towering on both sides. For good measure, we also had strong tailwind all day, making todays ride a pleasant experience and an appropriate rectification for our last few stages... We also saw some pretty interesting things along the way, amongst others the massive floodgates that protect the villages along the Danube. It was chilling to see a number of them marked with the water level of August 2002, when there was a big flood that affected many European countries. After doing our 112 kilometres we arrived in Melk and checked into Hotel Restaurant Zur Post.
08.07.2014 - Melk, Austria >>> Vienna, Austria (129 km): We started the day by doing a half circle around Stift Melk. This is among the world's most famous monastic sites. We then headed towards Vienna, still following the EuroVelo 6. Todays stage took us through the beautiful vineyards of the Wachau Valley and countless small Austrian villages. In one of these villages, Dürnstein, King Richard I Lionheart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria after a dispute during the Third Crusade. But we don't stop, no siree! We can't, if we are going to reach Constanța and the Black Sea on time. We did however stop to marvel at one of the many hydroelectric plants along the Danube. We got to talk with one of the workers and he explained that each of the turbines are capable of moving a whooping 300.000 litres of water pr. second. Finally, in the woods outside Vienna, we met the Rattenfanger, also called the Pied Piper of Hameln. He looked quite spooky, standing there, in the middle of nowhere, with his flute and his rats. Mystique and creepy stories surround this character. We hurried on out of there, and into Vienna, where we checked into Hotel Erzherzog Rainer.
09.07.2014 - Vienna, Austria >>> Bratislava, Slovakia (74 km): We found ourselves in a bit of a pickle this morning, when we tried to leave Vienna through its maze of busy streets. Fortunately our estranged Navigator came to the resuce and totally redeemed itself by getting us out of the city and safely onto VeloRoute 6. We spent most of the time today riding through the Danube-Auen National Park. This is the last remaining major wetlands environment in Central Europe. It was so beautiful and quiet there. Narrow and paved, the bike path ran straight through. Towards the end of the stage, we swooshed through an abandoned border post and into Slovakia, arriving in Bratislava shortly after. Tonight we will stay at Hotel Loft.
10.07.2014 - Bratislava, Slovakia >>> Komárno, Slovakia (157 km): The part of VeloRoute 6 that we rode today and the parts that lie ahead of us, are not yet realised. That means that the route is marked, but that it has not yet got dedicated tracks. This caters for some pretty interesting riding, ranging from heavily trafficked roads to the backyards of different suburbs. After stopping in the big cities of Vienna and Bratislava, it felt good to be back in the countryside again. Todays stage started in Bratislava and ended in Komárno, which are both Slovak cities. But most of the stage actually ran through Hungary. Being almost 160 kilometres, it was a bit longer than we expected. We spent the night at Hotel Banderium.
11.07.2014 - Komárno, Slovakia >>> Budapest, Hungary (126 km): For the fourth day in a row, the wind was once again coming in strong from the northwest. That meant more amazing tailwind for us, as we keep heading southeast. During the last few days temperature has also dropped from about 30 degrees Celsius to a more comfortable 20 degrees. Aside from less strain on our bodies, that also means we can once again enjoy our chocolate without having chocolate sauce all over the handlebar. In the basket of not so good news, we find that VeloRoute 6 can no longer be used. In the outskirts of Budapest it led us into some sort of wasteland with dirt tracks and garbage floating around. Things did certainly not improve when thunder broke loose and it started pouring down. Our heavy bike dug into the wet and muddy tracks, getting so dirty we had to stop at a bar closer to town to hose it down. About midway in todays stage we passed through the city of Esztergom, located just on the border between Slovakia and Hungary. The city is one of the oldest in Hungary and actually was the capital of Hungary from the 10th till the mid-13th century. In the midst of the city lies the Esztergom Basilica, which is seat of the Catholic Church in Hungary. The cathedral itself is the biggest building in Hungary and the 18th biggest church in the world. After trying to absorb some of the beauty of the Basilica, we went on to Budapest where we checked into Hotel City Cosmo. We will chillax here for a day, before heading towards the town of Dunaújváros.
13.07.2014 - Budapest, Hungary >>> Dunaújváros, Hungary (77 km): We decided to start the day by having a quick look-see on what kind of toll the first 1.300 kilometres had taken on our bike. We were pleased to discover that the chain was the only part that needed a bit of adjustment. Loaded with carbohydrates and can-do attitude from our day of rest in Budapest, we then set course to Dunaújváros. We tend to avoid numbered roads as their traffic is usually heavy and speedy. But as the bike lanes stopped just outside Budapest, we had no other viable options than to get onto Road 6. We were a bit anxious the first kilometres, as signs repeatedly reminded us that this is NOT the place to be for riders, be that of bikes or horses... But soon we got used to it and when we saw other riders coming the opposite direction, we started feeling more comfortable with the situation. Being Sunday, the traffic was light as well. In detailing our stages, it helps a lot to know that we can fall back to certain numbered roads if the bike lanes fail us. But interstates and everything else with the combination of letters and numbers, we will definitely avoid. We should also mention that we have made it part of our morning ritual to read the blogs of Geoff Jones and Ed Schum. These two riders have already been all along the Danube river and have valuable insights and route information to share. From reading their blogs, it appears as the most demanding stages of our journey are yet to come. But we will cross that bridge when we get there, as the saying goes.. First we rest in Dunaújváros, at the Klub Hotel.
14.07.2014 - Dunaújváros, Hungary >>> Baja, Hungary (101 km): Even though the hotel we stayed at last night was fairly large, it seemed like we were the only guests. As such, the breakfast was a bit limited and we soon found ourselves scavenging the streets for additional food to bring along for the ride. We ended up at a local supermarket, where we joined the locals in their monday morning shopping. As for our ride, we got back onto Road 6. At Dunaföldvár we headed east, across the Danube, and then onto Road 51. This road is actually allowed for cyclists and took us all the way to Baja, almost in a straight line and with little elevation. We needed that today, as the temperature is now back in the ranges of 30+ degrees Celsius. On the way we passed through the city of Kalocsa. This is one of the oldest cities in Hungary, allegedly founded about 1135. It was a bit more traffic today. But except for a few drivers realizing the full potential of their vehicles as they blasted past us, most were considerate and we did not feel unsafe. When we arrived in Baja, we checked into Pension Kaiser. Todays highlight was definitely when we bid our waiter farewell and got the reply: "Be blessed, brothers!". We'll certainly take that one along for the remainder of our journey.
15.07.2014 - Dunaújváros, Hungary >>> Osijek, Croatia (94 km): We woke up this morning by much commotion outside our room. It turned out that this time we were not the only guests. Some 50 other riders had also checked in the evening before. They all participated in a challenge in aid of breast cancer research. A good cause to ride for. We wish them the best of luck as they continue their race towards Belgrade in Serbia. We continued to pursue our own race towards Constanța and the Black Sea by getting back onto Road 51. The road was for some reason practically deserted today and the tailwind gently pushed us forward. For hours the only thing we could hear was the monotone sound of our tires against the asphalt and our own breathing. The feeling was quite magical and brought about exactly the state of mind we are looking for with this journey. Approaching the Serbian border we were catching up with the charity riders, unfortunately just too late to overtake them before reaching the border post. After a bit of waiting we crossed the border into Serbia. Some 20 kilometres later we crossed the border into Croatia and went on to Osijek, which is the fourth largest city in the country. We are staying here tonight, at Hotel Millennium.
16.07.2014 - Osijek, Croatia >>> Ilok, Croatia (79 km): As we are determined to follow the Danube without straying too far from its path, we have been going directly south the last 300 kilometres or so since Budapest. While this does not bring us closer to the Black Sea, we are now at approximately the same latitude as our final destination - Constanța in Romania. As such, it was with a certain delight we finally saw our compass needle tilt east on todays stage. In general our average speed is up as we are now following ordinary roads instead of bicycle paths. For those familiar with Norwegian roads, we mention that the roads we ride often resemble State Road 7 (RV7). We spent much of our ride today on roads 213, 519 and D2. About midway we passed through the city of Vukovar. There was a battle here in '91, leaving most of the city in ruins. The city's water tower, sustaining heavy damage during the battle, was retained by city planners to serve as a testimony to the events that took place. We headed on to Ilok and checked into Villa Iva. This is easily one of the best places we have been to so far on our journey. Its exterior is kind of anonymous, but as soon as you get behind the walls, a beautiful backyard reveals itself. Tiny passageways leading to the rooms, surrounded by flowers and lit by small lights. At the time of writing this, we sit in their restaurant, enjoying a fine Croatian beer, looking at the rain pouring down.
17.07.2014 - Ilok, Croatia >>> Belgrade, Serbia (117 km): The border to Serbia is only some six kilometres from Ilok in Croatia, so it didn't take long before we had crossed into Serbia. On our way to Belgrade we passed Novi Sad and got a fantastic view of the city as we rode by on the surrounding ridges. The city is the second largest in Serbia, with a population of about 230.000. We have seen quite a few animals today. Still in the rural areas of Serbia, starting out with some lizards and a snake. The snake moved so fast across the road. We were very pleased it didn't snake-dance itself onto our bike and sank its teeth into our by now luscious legs. As we got into more urban areas, we started to see stray dogs. Although a bit raggedy in their fur, most seemed to have the best of intentions. We hope they will keep that m.o. as we for sure will encounter a lot more of them along the streets of Romania. When we reached Belgrade, we checked into Hotel New Belgrade. With just over 1.000 kilometres left to Constanța and the Black Sea, it is time to start planning the details of the last 10 stages. Originally we planned these stages to run along main roads and cities in Bulgaria. But behold, there is unrest among some of the riders. Some feel that such a route would take us too far away from the Danube and that the journey will come to an end all too quickly. To remedy this, we have decided to totally change the last part of our route. We will instead proceed along the northern banks of the Danube and head into Romania much earlier. This path is less travelled and supposedly caters for some really scenic views.
18.07.2014 - Belgrade, Serbia >>> Kovin, Serbia (69 km): Leaving Belgrade on bike turned out to be one of our more demanding feats. Bike lanes are scarce and we practically had to rub shoulders, or tires if you will, with busses and cars to advance ourselves through the intense morning traffic. But we finally got across town and traffic got lighter. We were just a tad too fast when we reviewed our route for the day, so we mistakenly ended up riding along Road 100 and the south side of the Danube. The south side of the Danube is rather hilly in these parts and we got to both see and feel fine examples of that. The temperature being at times above 35 degrees Celsius, certainly added to the experience. While chewing on our already third croissant of the day, we got a pleasant surprise as we descended from the third climb. Two sharp looking cyclists coming the opposite direction signalled to stop. It turned out to be our friends Željko and Aleksandar, who had come to meet us. Željko and Aleksandar led way down the mountain and to Smederevo, where we got a guided tour of the Smederevo Fortress. This impressive fortress was built already in 1430. The fortress withstood several sieges between the Ottomans and Serbs. It was not until World War II that it was heavily damaged, by explosions and bombing. We then headed to Kovin, where we checked into Villa Milano. On the way there Željko and Aleksandar invited to a few Lav pivos, which we had in an improvised cafe along the road. The beers tasted unusually good this day, after many hours in the blistering sun. Željko took some great pictures of todays ride, available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/batespro/sets/72157645350260449 Thank you for your hospitaliy, Željko and Aleksandar. Much appreciated!
19.07.2014 - Kovin, Serbia >>> Moldova Veche, Romania (88 km): After great company of Željko and Aleksandar the day before, we were once again on our own as we left Kovin. We quickly got onto Roads 15, 134 and 18 and followed them to the border of Romania. After passing the border we headed south and onto highway 57, which led us straight into a steep climb. This was however as expected, as we had reviewed our route better this time. What we did not foresee, is that many roads here seem to be constructed by merely putting large segments of concrete one after another, leaving a slight gap in the surface every fourth meter or so. This rather unorthodox road construction technique gave us quite a bit of the Paris-Roubaix feeling as we charged down the other side of the mountain. We hope the next service of our bike won't prove that exhilarating feeling to be too expensive. Shortly after we arrived in the small town of Moldova Veche and were lucky to find accommodation at a local Bed & Breakfast. We enjoyed our dinner this day at a nice restaurant, overlooking the Danube and Serbia at the other side. We took a stroll about town after dinner. It is so quiet and peaceful here. A few men sitting outside their houses and smoking, some elderly women herding cattle through the empty streets and stray dogs sleeping in the shadows. The latter getting ready to bark through the night. One thing that puzzles us, is that we see very few young people here. Must they all have gone to the big cities? This has surely been a day with some impressions to reflect upon.
20.07.2014 - Moldova Veche, Romania >>> Mehedinti, Romania (90 km): Having read about the Gates of Trajan in advance, we embarked upon todays stage with great expectations. The Gates of Trajan, also referred to as the Iron Gates, is a gorge on the Danube river. It is located between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south, separating the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. It was absolutely fascinating to see how the great Danube river crammed itself into ever tighter passages. At the most narrow part of the gorge, this magnificent river, as wide as a lake in some places, is no more than a minuscule 150 meters wide. All along todays stage we could see across Danube, to the Serbian side and the road we originally planned to follow. It was only then we realized that our original route was packed with tunnels and viaducts. Quite pleased with our change of route, we pedaled on, unaware that danger lured along our new route. Suddenly we thought we saw two pointy ears behind a bush. We found that to be a bit strange. Stray dogs tend to stay within city limits and right now we were midway between two towns. As we approached, we started to hear deep growling and we could see the teeth as his lips pulled backwards and upwards. The many other stray dogs we have met along the way have been quite uninterested in us. But this one was definitely a different cup of tea. Luckily for us, as we struggled to grasp what was about to unfold, partly put out by the 40+ degrees Celsius, our little reptilian brain was already hard at work pouring all our remaining go-juice into the pedals. After a short race, this angry outcast of a stray dog understood that he could simply not match the Rohloff Speedhub in a shakedown on flat grounds. Still, we please ask not to cross paths with this creature again, particularly uphill.. As a grand finale of the stage, we passed the statue of the Dacian king Decebalus. This is a rock sculpture located on Danube's northern bank, near the city of Orşova in Romania. Being 40 meters tall, the sculpture is the largest of its kind in Europe. Surprisingly this statue was only complete in 2004, after 10 years in the making. Shortly after we arrived at Pensiunea Septembrie. A beautiful resort, residing just on the northern bank of the Danube. As an ending to a perfect day, Geoff Jones called us on video to hear about todays stage. Geoff is a long distance biker and a source of great inspiration to us. We have now ridden for eight days and shall rest one day before taking on the last 750 kilometres to Constanța and the Black Sea.
22.07.2014 - Mehedinti, Romania >>> Calafat, Romania (144 km): We woke up this morning to thunder, lightning and heavy rain. This change of weather is actually most welcome as riding in the rain is a lot less demanding than riding in high temperatures. Tucked away in our parkas we got back onto Road 57, which was running right past our hotel. We have made a habit out of starting at a low pace to get a feel of the stamina for the day. Even though we pick up speed during the day, we aim to stay in the upper half of zone two and the lower half of zone three. That is, if we don't meet any agitated stray dogs. We did however today experience another reason to jump up a few zones and that is to have Romanian big rigs tailgating us across viaducts or through unlit tunnels. There were quite a few viaducts today, but at least the tunnels were few and short. In any case, the incredibly busy E70 is definitely not a road we would like to ride again anytime soon. Having headwind most of the day, we dug into the saddle and struggled our way the 140 kilometres to Calafat, through Drobeta Turnu-Severin. We are spending the night at Hotel Panoramic. A rather interesting place, seemingly from another time. A large treatment center of some sort is part of the complex. There are high fences around the entire property and we wonder if those are to keep unwanted visitors out or guests in.. We sense that there are interesting stories to be told here. Unfortunately we experience a bit of a babylonian confusion with the staff, so we will have to leave that box unopened.
23.07.2014 - Calafat, Romania >>> Corabia, Romania (144 km): Todays stage went almost in a straight line from Calafat to Corabia, with elevation close to zero, following Roads 55A and 54A all the way. It should have been easy, but even though we kept the pace down, we ran completely out of energy after about 70 kilometres. The 70 remaining kilometres felt more like 700 and for the first time on this great adventure we felt like we had put ourselves in a situation we were not equipped to handle. We decided not to board that train of thought and instead pulled over at a local cafe to up the blood sugar. After some Coca Colas and a few laughs with the locals, probably on our behalf, we were back on our bike, slowly feeling the can-do attitude returning. As we pedaled on and approached one of the countless villages along the way, we could see a group of people amassing ahead. In a state of mind not able to handle much more than keeping our bike upright, we were relieved when we came closer and saw they were all kids. As we passed they started running alongside us, reaching out their tiny hands for high-fives and crying out what we believe to be words of cheer. What a boost, finally someone that recognize our sportsmanship! Completely forgetting about our little crisis and low level of energy, we indulged our insatiable need for attention and circled around them, giving solid high-fives to everyone interested. That little episode certainly got our attitude back to where we wanted it and gave us just enough juice to reach Corabia, where we checked into Hotel Sucidava and enjoyed a perfect meal. As a fun fact we mention that we have obviously pedaled our way into a new timezone (GMT + 2).
24.07.2014 - Corabia, Romania >>> Zimnicea, Romania (88 km): Still recovering from yesterdays loss of energy, we opted for a shorter ride today. After following Roads 54 and 51A through the towns of Turnu Măgurele and Furculești, we pulled over for the night in the town of Zimnicea. This is the most southern place on the banks of the Danube river and the most southern harbour on the Danube in Romania. We are definitely still in rural areas, but as Geoff also noted on his rides through these parts, there are now fewer horse carts and more modern means of transportation keep appearing. In addition, Gin Tonic is back on the menus. Thats good news for us as two a day, preferably in the evening, keep the doctor away (or at least the fever), as they say.. We have started to review the last parts of our journey and it seems like the final stage will certainly give us the crescendo of an ending we are looking for, being both long and hilly. Tonight we will stay at the fashionable Hotel Inter.
25.07.2014 - Zimnicea, Romania >>> Giurgiu, Romania (65 km): Todays stage was just short of 65 kilometres and was probably as flat as we will ever experience, with a total elevation of less then 40 meters. The previously mentioned road construction technique has obviously been in widespread use, so the roads were quite bumpy. We took the opportunity to keep the pace down and reconnect with what Tour de Danube is really about, which is not racing to the Black Sea, but enjoying the journey itself. That has gotten a bit too much in the background the past few stages as the Black Sea is now so close we can practically feel the soothing sea breeze. We still meet some other riders along the way, but much fewer now than on the touristy stretch from Passau to Budapest. The ones we meet now seem to have been out on the road for an eternity and some of them have bikes that look like they are taken directly from the set of the Mad Max movies. Upon reaching todays destination, Giurigu, we checked into Hotel Sud.
26.07.2014 - Giurgiu, Romania >>> Silistra, Bulgaria (126 km): We started todays stage by crossing the Giurgiu - Ruse Bridge to Bulgaria. This bridge is formerly known as the Friendship Bridge and is actually one of only two bridges connecting Romania and Bulgaria. It opened already on 20th June 1954 and was designed by Soviet engineers. It is over two kilometres long. When we once again found ourselves tailgated by big rigs, it felt like the longest two kilometres in a while, but the view of the Danube was worth it! Once in Bulgaria, we got onto higway 21 and was welcomed by Bulgarias beautiful rolling hills. We rolled along and arrived in Silistra some 120 sweaty kilometres later. Tonight we will be staying at Hotel Danube. By now we feel poised to reach Constanța and the Black Sea as planned. We are quite excited about tomorrow and our grand finale, to say the least of it. TO THE COAST!
27.07.2014 - Final Stage: Silistra, Bulgaria >>> Constanța, Romania (147 km): Hold yer horses, we say! Before thee lies the mezmerising Black Sea. After 2.727 kilometres and 26 stages, we are finally here! Both body and mind got properly put to the test this last stage. With gluteus maximus already on fire, we were faced with climbs well on par with the most demanding stages in Switzerland and Austria. In addition, headwind was coming in super strong already from the get-go. At times it felt like Gandalf himself was standing in front of us with his stick, screaming "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!". But we did pass and made it to Constanța and the Black Sea. Slowly rolling along the marina we could hear waves coming ashore and hitting the breakwater. Describing it will simply not merit the awesomeness we felt at that moment. We leave it by saying it felt like a dream come true, as perfect as can be. Tour de Danube is now over, but our journey is truly just in its very beginning. The BluA bucket list is packed with exhilarating tracks waiting to be explored. Route 1 of Iceland, The Iron Curtain Trail and the PCA, to mention a few. We will be staying in Constanța a few days, at Villa Ami, which is located just on the outskirts of the Mamaia area. This area is supposedly Europe's answer to the beaches and clubs of Miami. Here we be chillaxing and preparing for our return to the far north and the epilogue.
30.07.2014 - Epilogue: Gardermoen, Norway >>> Oslo, Norway (64 km): After a few days of rest in Constanța we once again returned to the road. But this time in a car, headed for Henri Coandă International Airport in București and our flight back to Norway. The drive is about 220 kilometres, almost all of it on motorways. After having spent the previous 2700 kilometres on our bike, it felt a bit strange to travel by car. The kilometres roll by so quickly and the landscape is only a blur. The anticlimax we have long feared as this grand tour is about to end, was put to rest for good when we were surprised by two dear friends upon arriving at Gardermoen Airport in Norway. It turned out that Tom Marius, Captain and lead of Blu Acciaio, had saddled up along with Espen, to escort us the 60 kilometres from Gardermoen to Oslo. While the riders coming from Romania got something to eat, Espen and Tom Marius assembled the bikes, fitting them with head- and taillights for the night ride ahead. The ride back to Oslo was quite magic, with empty streets and a glowing horizon from a sun that refuses to properly set at this time of year in Norway. That very ride concluded Tour de Danube and made for a perfect ending to what has been our greatest adventure so far. It is with mixed feelings we note that this tour now has come to its end. But as stated in the previous post, this is only the beginning. And whats more, this tour has also put us in contact with some fascinating people which we look forward to keep in touch with. Thank you all for following us along the way and for words of encouragement. Till next time!
Details about tracks and lodging
18.07.2014 - Belgrade, Serbia >>> Kovin, Serbia (69 km) http://www.strava.com/activities/167579909 Lodging at Villa Milano
19.07.2014 - Kovin, Serbia >>> Moldova Veche, Romania (88 km) http://www.strava.com/activities/167947620 Lodging at unnamed Bed & Breakfast
30.07.2014 - Epilogue: Gardermoen, Norway >>> Oslo, Norway (64 km) http://www.strava.com/activities/173286337