Canoe-Trip on the Danube River: 30.07. - 31.08.2003

Translated by PROMT-Online-Translator

Country: Serbia + Bulgaria River: The Danube
Start: Mohacs (Hungary) End: Silistra
Route: Mohacs, Apatin, Novi Sad, Belgrad, Dobro, Kladovo, Novo Selo, Vidin, Russe, Silistra    
Distanz: about 1150 Km Time: 4 weeks
Strömung: sometimes :-) Difficulties river: none
Supply: Many towns and villages Boat: Ally Canoe

None, because we were on the move with the TID

Rating: A great paddle adventure!!  

SERBIA: 30.07. - 16.08.2003


Route: Apatin, Novi Sad, Belgrad, Dobro, Kladovo

Distance: 620 Km (Canoe)

Preface: The TID (an international canoe tour from Germany to Bulgaria to which we have joined for 4 weeks) were very nice and an experience were worth, so, unfortunately, we can say only a little to the population and scenery off the Danube. Though the war still has his tracks leave, but on the whole there rules relative prosperity and we felt sure. However, unfortunately, the Serbians have the bad habit to decontaminate her whole plastic garbage in the Danube!!! Geheintipp: In Serbia there are the tastiest Pfirsische worldwide!
After the border control in the frontier town Mohacs we went as one of the first boats to the water. However, on the 47 km following now we were overtaken by a boat after to others. In particular the last 10 km were very strenuous for Nadine and therefore also for me. Who knows they a little bit better can introduce itself, how much she has got angry :-))
When we have arrived then in the evening, finally, in Apatin (Serbia) half a place was already by the quay wall to observe us (the canoeists of the TID) with the build of the tents. For us a very funny feeling, because we have slept during the weeks before always somewhere in the nature and were observed at most by an owl. However, the next surprise do not read service long themselves. In the tour fee of 30€ for 18 days in Yugoslavia not only the tour organisation and the "overnight stay fees" was included, but also a dinner. In almost every place do not read it the municipality take to invite her guests to a dinner. Just in a country like Yugoslavia, just, besides, is to be processed a war a gesture not to be underestimated (victim). Partly, like in Bogojevo, became from the dinner a right small public festival, with brass band and tape. Half a village was present, celebrated and danced.
Also the auxiliary readiness of the canoeists TID is unbelievable. We had not arrived yet properly in Mohacs, there means of conveyance were already organised for our bicycles. With pleasure we accepted the offer to let pick up the bicycles the first week on the follower of the Yugoslavian escort vehicle. As for the rest one stands to us with all our problems with words and deeds aside. Is it with the unloading of the boat or while sending on our second passports. Not to manage our initial fears, in such a big tour group, have been confirmed anything but. Although everybody puts back the same distance every day, everybody can develop his day individually. There are idyllic sandy benches to the notch and bathing more than enough. Thanks to the uncomplicated and nice kind of the TID participants even Nadine slowly starts to receive fun in the canoe driving. Meanwhile paddles you in spite of a bubble in the small finger courageously and without beefing the whole day :-)))))).
Meanwhile we have arrived after 200 km in 5 days in Novi Sad, a very tourist "seaside resort" on the Danube. The "beach" of Novi Sad is able to come well and with pleasure with some seaside resorts in Spain or Italy measure (many beach cafes too nothing but music), with the only difference that one cannot have a bath here in the sea sonder in the grubby Danube water, and under the bridge destroyed by the Americans.
The last travelog was hardly on-line put, we have worn out the accumulators of our Pocket Pc something, so that all at once accumulator and protection battery were at the same time empty. Because such a Pocket Pc has, however, only one working memory, our picture editing programmes had been also extinguished beside some files. However, without this we can put no pictures on our Internet site. Therefore we spent our free day in Belgrade with the desperate search for an Internet cafe with laptop (I need because an infrared interface around the programme again to play). Completely to Nadines joy we have wandered thus the whole day by Belgrade. Unfortunately, without success, because just in Belgrade they all were equipped very badly. We spent the rest of our rest day with it, to us a small projection herauszupaddeln. The both next day stages were attached with 50 and 62 km without current. Then at 19:20 o'clock we are left for in Belgrade. Not exactly very early if one thinks that it is pitch-dark here at the moment around 20:30, however, we had to pack only the bikes which we had now again, besides into the boat. We are natural in the middle of the night hineingepaddel. Actually very romantically, however if one still has no overnight stay place, not exactly the biggest fun. Then, however, about 21:30 o'clock we have made a find.
The next day we tried to hold the small projection. We were meanwhile already in the middle of the back up zone of the hydroelectric power plant Ðjerdap I and this time therefore the overnight stay places were sowed scarce. Großkotzig like us were, we disdained the first places in hope to find still a better one. The riparian zone exists here, however, of woods partly submerged in the water, so that the whole developed more difficultly than expected. After over one hour of vain Sucherei we discovered after a total of 50 km a level and dry place on the shore. The hook in the case was that we had to struggle, completely to Nadines joy, with boat by 20 m of mud to reach to the shore. Beside the fact that we had a mud bath once again we still spent the night in immediate nearness of a dredger which was occupied to far after midnight with ear-deafening noise to excavate sand or grit from the Danube. Luckily we had thereby shortened the longest day stage (62 km) on 43 km, because it was also strenuous enough in such a way, on the standing waters and in the bulging sun.
Happily and exhausts achieved we in the afternoon (in this evening the last canoeists reached the camp site at 21:30 o'clock) the harbour from Veliko Gardiste. Here we became nearly witnesses of an Ertrinkungsunfalles. We recovered just with a watermelon in the area of the harbour layout and observed the local children with beside the arriving canoeists have a bath. To free the place in the pontoon of the border police for an arriving Roumanian passenger ferry to drive off began a Georgian costs tractor with "full" push. The whole water bubbled and some children still escaped to the shore. Suddenly there ruled bright excitement. A girl was rinsed by the strong current under one of the other freighters. Until the policeman who reacted just vorbeischlenderte the other children have the costs tractor by the loud shout to stand brought and had climbed the freighter. Then after a while the girl has appeared between two freighters again and was pulled with a rope at the shore. Then herewith the case was dealt with for the policeman. Apparently the customs clearance of the Roumanian passenger ferry was more important than to look after the girl. He shooed away a few more children from the shore away and wobbled of it. Also the captain did not hold for necessary itself at least with the girl to excuse! In such accidents the danger insists that one swallows unconsciously water in the lung which seeps then slowly in the small Alveolen of the lung and can lead thus still after many hours to the suffocation death. Hence, in Germany children are introduced for 24 hrs to the observation in a hospital. Nadine asked the Serbian journey manager this for them to the girl to translated, however, also this was of the opinion that everything is in order and refused his help. May be that with us in Germany everything is a little bit überorganisiert, however, in such situations an engaged help can damage on no account.
In Dobro the municipality a special surprise contrived. After the dinner a Serbian folk dance team appeared. Moreover one had specially built up a stage on the sports field. Differently than with us, however, no comfortable dance of older married couples in national costumes, but nothing but young girls and men (till the middle of 20) to us with igneous dances enchanted. Beside the participants of the TID the whole population was gathered to enjoy the presentation. Also this is only another example of the great hospitality which the Serbians bring to your guests.
After we had brought the longest day stage behind ourselves we thought that now it can become even better. Now, however, it was a matter still the "iron gate" to wear out the breakthrough of the Danube by the capturing. Perfidious is in this distance segment that strong down winds can decorate the partly sea-like Danube widenings under circumstances a little more demandingly. The first day stage was completely unproblematic with the glassy Danube. In the morning of the 2nd stage we had even very good tail wind, so that we were founded a substitute leech and with about 5 km/h dahinsegelten. However, before the stage destination it was a matter still of crossing the washbasin of Doni Milanovitsch. The Danube flows here by a basin and is about 2 km wide on a length of approx. 8 km. The wind was so strong meanwhile that because of the Kentergefahr in do not sail any more was to be thought. In the basin the wind had so routed the Danube that we had to fight beside the wind with up to 1-m-high waves. The waves rolled constantly from the back near and I was, actually, only with it the canoe on exchange rate occupies to hold. Our Ally Faltkanadier rode the waves though unexpectedly well from (we not even had water on the tarpaulin), however, his wind susceptibility gave a hard time to us very much. When as if we would be on a Sunday afternoon drive Nadine decided all at once to take a few photos. I was occupied too much with the wind and the boat to be able to explain to her that it is At the moment, nevertheless, a little bit too dangerously for such experiments. Anyhow I find it over and over again first-class as casually Nadine to some cases approaches. The photo was really to be unpacked the last in which I have thought in this situation. Unfortunately, the pictures because of the strong Schaukelei have become nothing. Finally, without Kenterung we have reached Doni Milanovitsch. A total of 5 experienced canoeists have capsized on this day, however, up to lost glasses, a few lost sandals and a hole in a Klepper folding canoe there were no bigger damages. About 10 wide canoeists had brought themselves before the waves on the shore in security and were collected by a coach. The surf was so strong that the foam here and there 10 m above quay wall splashed.
The next day we had to fight in the iron gate then with strong headwind. Here and there he was so strong that we could hold the boat just right away (in spite of all strain and meanwhile we paddle quite tolerably). However, this segment with precipitous cliff faces on both sides of the Danube is regional extremely attractively. On the Roumanian side there was even a cave in which we are hineingepaddelt.
After we had paddled now for days on the standing Danube achieved we, finally, the sluice Ðjerdap I. With two sluice chambers one overcomes in a good 1.5 hrs a height difference of about 45 m. Completely exhausts achieved we Kladovo. For some participants was here the end of your trip (the next morning they were puck up by the coach), one rest day waved to us. Still in the same afternoon we went of solving on the search for an Internet cafe around our problem with the Pocket Pc, however, unfortunately, Kladovo was too small for it. We decided to send the Pocket Pc with one of the participants back to Germany (so that UFO can anew strike up the programme) and to let bring along us to Silistra again. On the way back we tried our luck in a small computer shop (Happily computer). Without twitching with the eyelash one left us there to the company laptop. I might also instal the Syncronisationssoftware on the computer. Quick I had installed the programme again on the Pocket PC. Now only the password was absent. I had sent a cry for help by email to UFO in Belgrade (UFO has received him on mobile phone in Hungary and has given itself so strong troubles that he has downloaded the mail immediately; sorry and thank you) and now had to go only fast on the Internet. Even as I would like to open the mail of UFO the computer recognises a virus and drives down. The next 15 min. were the boys of happy of computer then with it occupies the virus to find and to eliminate. Then, however, with the second approach I could call away the email and instal my picture editing programme ready. What a relief! The next day they have still burnt to us our pictures on a CD. We might not even pay something for the big help. With "a present of Serbia" a head / employee of the shop handed to us the CD. Thank you very much! (Unfortunately, I can work on the pictures, however, I have made not öffen and!???)
Back in our tent the next happy surprise already waited for us. The package with our passports with visas (the Ukraine, Russia, Georgia) had arrived by the coach of the home traveller. It was a feeling like in Christmas when we opened the package to full tension. Greedily we examined the content (passports, bicycle castle, pictures of Nadines family, postcards from castle Lim (guest's presents), balloons (for children), and a memory map). However, the best in the memory map is not the map (sister Heike has sponsored to us, by the way, UFOs; thank you!), but your content: Two admissions of Peter Grüns to new songs. I was excited and happy like a small school boy when I have belonged to myself the songs for the first time. Also Nadine did not want to lay the photos at all from the hand. Almost we would have missed before nothing but enthusiasm even the dinner.
After a restful rest day the seriousness of the life again shouted. Two day stages with 50 km, a sluice and the Bulgarian border waited for us. Then about 15 km before the end of the first stage the headwind got us. Then 6 km before the destination the wind was so strong that we could not start any more against him. The shore existed here of a sloping concrete wall. Around generally forward we pulled to come and pushed the boat (nickname: "Racing snail" and "swimming garbage waste dump" (everything flies only in the boat)) along the shore. As a drainpipe to us the way obstructed we have to do it again umpaddeln and expel far on the Danube. About 4 km before the camp site, we are just, besides, a ship chained on the shore to umpaddeln, then we are saved by a Swiss / Bulgarian team. The Schweitzer has by his motorboat already 3 Bulgarian folding canoes in the towrope, and we are suspended without further ado with.

BULGARIA: 16.08. - 31.08.2003


Route: Novo Selo, Vidin, Russe, Silistra

Distance: 543 Km (Canoe)

Preface: Thanks to the dam "Djerdap II" the whole plastic garbage stays behind in Serbia. Thus loads the Bulgarian Danube which reminds one with her white sandy beaches almost of the Caribbean, to stroll and bathe one. Unfortunately, some industrial towns have lain in Bulgaria directly with the Danube, so that latest from soot the fun is over again. As well as, unfortunately, in Serbia we can say nothing about the inland, because we were on the move "only" on the Danube.
Because we a lot of fun in the sailings had we have done alterations our substitute leech meanwhile to a right sail, and have already put back the first 10 km in Bulgaria successfully with it. This is completely "paddle" to Nadines taste :-)
Still a short postdistiller to our last weekly report. Because we have found no more suitable Internet cafe already since Belgrade, and also have searched the free day in Vidin unsuccessfully, we wanted to try in Lom over again our luck. Before we had already finished a 45-km-long stage. Unfortunately, the camp site lay about 3-4 km beyond the town. Thus we got on the way, after the tent was built up and was granted. After about 45 minutes on a dusty country road we reached Lom, however because it itself around a bigger place acted it still lasted for a while, until we had reached the centre. Then the search for an Internet cafe lasted over again nearly one three quarters of an hour in which we were sent several times all over by the pelican crossing. Finally, we found in a normal dwelling house a company plaque. First it went by an entrance past a mother sitting there with her child. Unbelievingly we followed the stair in the first floor, around then completely suddenly surprises in an Internet cafe furnished absolutely anew to stand. A true joy was to be worked on the new computers, and, unfortunately, one hour later (the connection was very slow) was our both last weekly reports then, finally, on our Internet site. When we arrived again with our tent, it was already pitch-dark again. You see, we avoid almost no strain to update our Internet site. If it lasts once more longer, to us have fallen victim not to some kidnappers, but only once again on the desperate search for a reasonable Internet cafe.
In Vidin a miraculous presentation of a folk dance team was presented to the participants of the TID. Beside the excellent tänzerischen performance in particular the scenery made the evening a special experience. It was danced because in a small old castle layout. To the celebration of the day it was dipped by nothing but small lamps in a romantic light.
The following days demanded us above all paddlerisch. On the first day, we had paddled just the first 20 km 45 km of day stage, tail wind suddenly started. Of course we have hired immediately the paddles and have drawn up our sail. How one could maybe recognise on the last sail picture, we have converted our tent stick without further ado into the mast. Because it is complicated, however, a little bit to instal once more these every morning, now I build every evening from our paddles substitute tent seaweeds (this goes just only with a tepee :-)). We have sailed remaining 25 km then quite comfortably. Our sail functions, by the way, so well, so that we can use even side wind (to 90 degrees). We have spent the afternoon comfortably on a Danube island with a white sandy beach. What one wants (or Nadine) more...
The next morning, however, the disillusionment followed directly. We had dawdled something with the breakfast and already while charging the boat strong headwind started. Then the wind was mostly so strong that he started to howl in our mast. Especially together with waves (about 40 cm) it was to be depended very strenuous against it. Every paddle blow required our whole strength. Actually, it is still mysterious to us as we have mastered this 42-km-long stage. Think the Danube current had in this area substantially, because, otherwise, we would presumably be on the move even today. However, unfortunately, it has gone out to some canoeists still much more badly, because the last boats spun only after sundown one.
However, 2 days later the luck was lovely to us again. After about 10 km the Danube divided in two arms. Although all the others the right arm followed we decided on the left arm. Only late it became clear to us that the left Danube arm belongs to the Roumanian sovereign territory. We might not have driven on him. Occasional we feared even in a dead end to have reached. In total we might have saved by this abbreviation about 3-4 km. Even as we turn again on the main arm, a big push organisation (a freighter which pushes several other ships) comes from the right. Already from other canoeists we had belonged that a push organisation develops thus a strong suction that one if one is about 1-3 m behind him comfortably hinterherpaddeln is able. Of course we also wanted to try this. We were quick at the side to the giant (presumably about 100 m long and 30 m wide) herangepaddelt. We let him quietly pass ourselves to hold on then behind. The relief was tremendously. Comfortably we paddled with a distance of about 1 m behind the freighter. Critically we were observed by the occupying. When these had made sure after a few km that we manage, we had our rest. Quick Nadine used the opportunity to hold on with the paddle in a brace. Thus we can be dragged at a speed of about 9.5 km/h the last 25 km of the SMOLIN 2. Later we still received visit of two other canoeists and also on the other side used another 3 wide canoeists this comfortable lift. Finally, thus we have succeeded after more than 3 weeks in achieving at least once a "Top Ten" result. Thanks to the abbreviation and the freighter we were as quick, as the top flight of the driver's field. However, in contrast to these we had not woken already at 4:30 o'clock in the morning, already have 5:00 o'clock to pack the equipment with it begun (and to wake up, besides, all the others) to be then sharp at 6:00 o'clock on the water (Hopes also really in such a way is, because I know the times only from reports. We sleep because mostly till 6:30 o'clock and wake mostly only briefly with this frühmorgentlichem activity). No, we have woken at 7:00 o'clock, at 8:00 o'clock losgepaddelt and, nevertheless, at 13:00 o'clock after 48 km, faithful to the motto "The last will be the first", arrived in the destination.
Yesterday then we have retreated once again from the troop to shorten 55 km of stage. We might divide the expected lonesome sandy bank, however, with about 25 like-minded people. We were recompensed for it even with a wonderful sundown and some mosquitoes.
In soot, a big port and industrial town on the Danube, the next rest day already waited for us. However, unfortunately, the climbing out was extremely bad and the camp site was so far apart that we were occupied just one three quarters of an hour to drag our equipment by the area. We already already in Belgrade a camera team about the place also marched here again. Also with me they tried to make an interview. Unfortunately, the interpreter was able to do very badly English, so that he could not partially translate the put questions. Never mind I imagined and told simply cheerfully on it loose. Doubtfully my English remained to me only like he again in the Bulgarian translated, probably he did not make it differently than me and told something. With this train of thought the subject was dealt with for the time being for me. The next day (and with it means I the whole day) then our Internet site was dedicated again (see visitors' book entry). When we, besides, by chance in a hairdresser went past of 4 Lewa (2 euros) cost Martin's hair had to believe in it. The hairdresser was very communicative in spite of her low knowledge of English and told us something about the television, so that we thought that she has an other job with the television. Then after some minutes we guessed what you to us really wanted to say namely you Martin early in the morning on television has seen. Now the surprise was big on both sides. The hairdresser could hardly believe it, to us in her shop anzutrefen, and us it was mysterious as you had geschaft to cut the interview in a broadcasting-capable form. Unfortunately, what remained to us covertly Martin on in Bulgarian said.
On the day before last it is carried out tratitionsgemäß the Danube baptism in a spring not far from the Danube. Though it rules Unklaheit over where she is (km 411 or km 404), however, nevertheless, at last they found the most. In the Schaten of the trees everybody sat comfortably together, had lunch, ratscheten and waited for Neptune. With a delay of at least 1 hrs (the first ones had gone again), then it was so far. First one had to kneel down to himself on a bed of stones. Then Neptune questioned the Täuflinge after name, origin, entrance place, various river mileages, and similar. Every wrong and also right answer was punished with a light blow of a bundle before watered in water from shrub branches or was recompensed. At the same time one was watered from the back by an assistant of Neptune (torturer) constantly with a Schöpfkelle with water. If all questions were cleared then to the satisfaction of Neptune, the real baptism came. One might get up and agreed to a new name (Danube name: Nadine Möwe, Martin Kaschalott (any big marine fish)) and was "blest" with the wet shrub bundle. To the reward there was on a spoon a gulp of red wine. No real pleasure, because one got poured At the same time with the gulp of red wine some litres of mud water (water with sheets and earth fortified) over the head. In total a rather humid-happy affair.
Now, finally, after a total of 32 days and about 1073 km we have arrived (Nadine) in Silistra. Also we could not avoid the general hectic rush any more. Now one meant to wash boat in the midday heat (1 water hose for more than 100 boats) and pack, equipment umsortieren and bikes make ready with trip. From "mother and dad" we got as a gift on parting one more F sharp cirque ax, and One exchanged Nadine with Sepp the book "Dull White" (very much to recommend) against a thermos jug. The next possibility with the canoe would be to be driven at the earliest the Nile. Hence, we decided to use to send back the favorable opportunity the boat. Hubertus and Hiltraud go because the next week after castle Lim to attend his parents, and they have agreed kindly to pick up the canoe (thank-you). We squandered the last 3 Lewa (1.5€) with the shopping (tomatoes, yoghurt and bread) and in an Internet visit (0.5 Lewa/hrs). We spent the farewell party at a noble hotel in Silistra with all kinds of dance presentations and honour.
In total a huge enrichment of our trip, apart from the fact that showed the TID to Nadine, allow to move except with the sailings and with from the freighter, properly fun in the paddle never had. It has surprised in particular so many active older people (till 83 years to us!) to find. The day stages are not really loose with partial more than 60 km. Also the fact that one every night in his tent spends is for participants who come from countries in which already young persons enjoy her summer vacation in a "Mehrsternehotel" in the Caribbean, already an unusual performance. Unfortunately, there were not enough younger participants from Germany and Austria (except us only second German and an Austrian) what is also due to the fact beside the long tour duration (2 months of Ingolstadt to Silistra) absolutely that the trip is physically strenuous. However, according to our opinion just young people could profit very much from the experiences of the older participants. In Puncto cosmopolitanism (Rodney wants to afford a computer with his 77 years to Christmas to be able to go then to the Internet) and auxiliary readiness (see Faces) does not fall it hard here some good models to find. Very wittily we appeared the fact that there are a lot of different kinds, and to experience the same trip. On the TID there were several different little teams., On the one hand, there was the "early shift" (or "Früh-morgens-Paiktruppe" or "refugees"). Although officially only from 6 o'clock the tents may be diminished, then these often were on the move long time ago. The destination of this team seemed to be to reach as quickly as possible the next overnight stay place to get hold then of the best shady camp sites. The "late shift" (or "formed the contrast to it Night shift"). After they had got a good night's sleep of morning in complete silence, they committed a crime the day more afloat than paddling on the Danube and on various beaches to reach the camp site then in the evening shortly before sundown. An other team looked at the tour as a sort of "cone association excursion". Destination was to be headed it possibly many restaurants. Sociability and a well-arranged drunkenness in the evening seemed to be here the destination. Finally, there were still the canoeists to whom the nature experience and the rest were important. In the morning they are left for mostly relatively early to spend then the day on some sandy benches. Then on time before the dinner they mostly reached the camp site. Would write to each of these teams a travelog, one could think that it concerns completely different tours. For the conclusion we would still want for many nice conversations which thank to many tips and the help. We hope that again more more recently people want to discover the charm of the TID and therefore the TID from "become extinct" is saved :-)).




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