Rotterdam to Budapest
Like many an adventurer, I have picked an unnecessarily complicated route to follow.
Paddy Leigh Fermor hopped on a small ferry from Tower Bridge (yes, directly down the steps from Tower Bridge) all the way to the Hook of Holland in December 1933, and then walked, rode a horse and sailed a little, from there to Istanbul. He took just over a year to complete it (8 December 1933-1 January 1935). I plan to walk his entire route over the next years, a little bit at a time. His journey, as laid out in A Time of Gifts, follows three major rivers: the Waal, the Rhine and the Danube.
The first stage of my adventure, in May 2017, took me from Rotterdam to Budapest, with a couple of train journeys to help me along the way. I joined the ferry at Harwich and disembarked at the Hook of Holland, just as Paddy did all those years before.
I walked along the Waal from Rotterdam to Tiel over four days, before hopping on a train to Cologne.
From Cologne, I travelled down the Rhine to Coblenz, before walking for four further days to Bingen, where Paddy spent Christmas Day in 1933.
From Vienna, I walked along the Danube to Bratislava over two days, before travelling by car to Nové Zámky and then walking towards Esztergom. I then travelled by boat for my final stretch, ending my journey in Budapest. I will return to walk the two days' journey between Esztergom to Budapest next year.