Day 2 – Through the Iron Curtain

Bratislava to Hainburg an der Donau, 25Km

Gasthof Zum Goldenen Anker, 69 euros

Actually there’s cheaper rooms in Hainburg but I feel I owe it to Booking.com who paid for my half night of luxury in Luton. And anyway this is rather pleasant because it’s right on the banks of the Danube and I have a litre of Zwettler on the table while the most enormous river cruisers pass me by, sailing upstream. The river flows for 2850Kms from its source somewhere in the Black Forest to its mouth in Ukraine’s Black Sea and it hasn’t far to go.

I had an interesting walk today. After quite a lot of fussing around I finally heaved my pack onto my back and set off from the hostel towards downtown Bratislava. First stop on any pilgrimage (for me) is of course Starbucks. There were other cafes around the Square but even the Slovakian army were there so I went in and ordered a cappuccino and croissant. The next priority was St Martin’s Cathedral where I found a nun who stamped my credentials. Now I’m officially a pilgrim on the Camino.

The border with Austria comes quickly but not as quickly as I was expecting. It’s not the river because Slovakia continues on the opposite bank. I crossed the bridge and walked past some old Czechoslovakian border defenses and then I found it it. The old Iron Curtain is a distant memory, all mercifully swept away. I stood on the border and reflected on the terrible history inflicted on Europe by the USSR. I took a selfie. On a more cheerful note, the Austrian border control buildings lay derelict, swept aside by Schengen.

I soon found the Danube again and continued through the woods to Hainburg. For some reason, the lady in the hotel thought I was French but as soon as I returned a few French words of greeting she knew at once that I am British and normal order resumed. As I sit here watching the Danube flowing towards it’s destiny I wonder why I don’t come here for my holidays every year.

Breakfast in Bratislava
Czechoslovakian border defenses 1938 (obviously not good enough)
Derelict Austrian border controls
It’s good to see the Camino yellow arrow again
River cruiser on the Danube

10 comments on “Day 2 – Through the Iron Curtain

  1. Roger Clarkson

    I recently watched James Bonds The Living Daylights, have you got a cello with you?

  2. Actually Tim, that river cruise looks very inviting!

    • Hello Suzi and thanks. It does look more inviting than parts of the overgrown embankment

  3. Huguette

    Hello Tim, you take again your pilgrim ‘s stick.
    You ‘re incredible and brave man 👏👏.
    We are in Crete this time, and yesterday we had a Breton forecast….
    It’ s better today but no bath in the sea, your forecast seems better?

    • Hi Huguette, yes the forecast is quite hot at the moment. I hope you enjoy Crete

  4. Hey Tim! No moss is growing beneath your feet, is it? 🙂

    Trying to find the map of this pilgrimage, but not sure where to look. Will you be going anywhere near Salzburg? If so, I can connect you with my friend Daniella, if you want to have tea with a local.

    I have no idea how to say Buen Camino in Czech or German, so Buen Camino. Hope you find lots of pilgrims on this journey. I look forward to following you again!

    • Hi DJ it’s always good to hear from you and I’m going to Vienna tomorrow and then Salzburg. That’s a long way and will take more than 2 weeks. Tea with Daniella sounds great and we’ll keep in touch. I’ll have a rest day there. If you find the menu on my website and click on Jakobsweg Austria you’ll see the map. Tim x

      • Great Tim! Let me know when you’re heading toward Salzburg and I’ll put you in touch with Daniella. Since you have a rest day, I’m sure she can give you some ideas of things to do.

      • I’ll look forward to it. I’ve already done the Sound of Music tour!

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