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2004 Danube Ride Budapest Offenburg 1400 km

On 10.6.04 we started our Danube trail ride.

Thanks to Hungary's accession to the EC in 2004, all maps were a waste of time. With the accession, a huge land reform is cause that fields of 5-15 km2 are laid out across dirt roads. Friendly people offered help and direction. Not always correct, but always very helpful.

We could tell how big the fields really were by the fact that the herbicides were sprayed by helicopter. Our horses found the bird very irritating.

The route we chose was the Danube cycle path, which we only had to leave where the cycle path on the highway and the Vienna Budapest railroad would have been our constant companions. Only in Gör did we have to cross the bridge on the main road, which the truck drivers didn't like because we were blocking a lane.

The hilly terrain demanded everything from horse and rider. This was one of our longest stages through a nature reserve.

At the former hunting residence of the Communist bosses, we were given princely accommodation and food. Here I learned why schnapps is drunk in Hungary:

The drinking water has to be disinfected afterwards.

For almost six weeks from June 10 to July 25, 2004, Szaob Szolt was on the road with Peter and his alternating companions, Thomas and Joe Szabo. They covered over 1500 km. Kathi even did it without getting new shoes.

We spent the night wherever there was a place for horse and rider to sleep.

Fortunately, we almost always found a horse or farm that would take us in and look after us. Only rarely did we have to spend the night outdoors with the horses tied to trees.

Initially traveling with packhorse Jillag, we had to send her back on the 3rd day and distribute our luggage between the two riding horses. The two horses each had about 14 kg of personal luggage and 8 kg of oats and rider to carry.

Daily stages were 30-50 km long, depending on the terrain, which meant 6-10 hours in the saddle and on foot. Only interrupted by two short breaks to water the horses and buy food if possible and a 1-hour rest over lunch. The horses used this to graze and Szolt to sleep.

Of course, fresh water also had to be provided several times a day. If you give people the opportunity to help, they are happy to do so. We got to know riders from the Austrian border guard who ride their horses 60 km along the border every day. The colonel personally arranged accommodation for us for the night.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported us on this ride. Be it our wives and friends, sponsors and last but not least the countless horse friends who took us in and looked after us and our horses. Many thanks to all of them.

On the way, the cycle path was also next to the railroad track on a 300 m long bridge. It was great fun. In Melk, Tamas took over the horse from me, who rode the stage through Austria to Passau. And what would a ride across Hungary and Austria be without a detour to Pullman City, the western town near Passau?

western town near Passau.

I took the opportunity to pick up my western horse in Switzerland and ride it the rest of the way to Offenburg. It was a relief to be able to ride the horse on a loose rein.

Tamas has to go home again and Joe Szabo, Szolt's son, takes over for him. In Herbertingen BW, a concrete mixer stops in the middle of the road. We are invited to spend the night with the driver. 10 years later, the wife goes to visit Szolt in Hungary.

Now it is no longer a problem to follow the Danube, we are no longer sent off the embankment and make good progress.

We reach the source of the Danube and ride on to Offenburg, where we are honored with a special prize from the VFD at the Eurocheval.

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