Friday, 23 August 2013

We're alive!! Just in case people were starting to wonder! It' been nearly an incredible month since our last post that's taken us from the hills of Austria, and into the perfect sandy beaches that stretch endlessly through Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and now, Serbia. Lots to say, so lets pick up from where we left off, Vienna. We came back to find Knu happy and healthy exactly where we left him, and since it was already late in the evening we paddled just across the river where sandy beaches line the bank and had a perfect view of Vienna all lit up as the sun set. The current in this stretch of the river is incredibly strong so we had two days of very easy paddling and drifting to carry us the 70km to our next capital city, Bratislava. So far we had had beautiful weather the whole way, mid to high 30's, sun shining and not a single drop of rain, but here the heat wave really hit. We headed into the city where it was 45C!!! Knowing the importance of staying hydrated, I packed our rucksack with beer and we headed off  for a snails pace walking tour of the city, which took all the sights that could be reached while walking in the shade. If it was in the sun, it could wait. Beer in hand we slogged our way up to the fortress to get a perfect view over the city. Headed off after two days off enjoying the city and into a ~100km undeveloped stretch of the old Danube, where we'd a nice break from the big ships and any sign of modern life. Picked up the pace a bit get cover the 220km to Budapest and one of the biggest festivals in Europe, Sziget. We landed in the perfect camp ground (which even had a pool!) in Budapest and stayed there for a week, relaxing and discovering the city. After checking out the program for Sziget, which goes on for  a week, we decided to get tickets for the Thursday, which had Regina Specktor on in the early evening and was headlined by an amazing Spanish band Ska-P. We danced and crowd surfed the night away in an unbelievable atmosphere. Headed off from Budapest in very heavy winds, which were right at our back, so we basically flew through the city. That gave us the idea of making a sail so we stopped, chopped up a tarp, found a decent looking stick for a mast and tied it all together. Not suprisingly, the minute we did this the wind died, but a few days later it was back and we sailed 30km!!! Now we use it if there's a half decent wind to take a break from the paddling. Had great fun at the border between Hungary and Serbia, where we were helped to fill out all the forms for going to the black sea and I got officially declared Captain of Knu!!!! : ) We werent long in Serbia when we got invited onto a catamaran for an early morning schnapps, and as tends to happen, one led to another and all of a sudden we were camping with the serbs working our way through local beer, homemade schnapps, sausage and the local speciality, goulash but with fish... We earned out keep by pulling in 5 fish ourselves and we headed off the next day to bump straight into the next bunch of incredibly friendly serbians, and so today were heading off after being fattened like geese for the last 3 days. We even got handed a live catfish on the beach one morning by a very friendly fisherman who we'd never met but who just wanted to come over and say Hi. At this stage we've had enough fish for a lifetime and are looking forward to a break! We've been on the river now nearly 2 months, enjoying all the sights along the way, but now we have to hurry a little! All the locals tell us it wont be that warm anymore at the end of September so we have to cover the next 1300km or so a little quicker than the last 1300! We'll try our best to keep in touch and keep the blog updated! Colin and Andrea : )

Vienna at night

Some Slovaks taking a Dory down river. Believe it or not people have added sails and a deck and gone across the Atlantic in Dories!

The castle at Bratislava

Unfortunately Andrea vetoed my plan to try this out with Knu...which was probably sensible! ; )

This guys panning for Gold!!! They still do it in some parts of the river in Hungary.
Another beautiful sunset

No shortage of firewood

Hanging out with some Slovaks...

Spot the frog!


Melting in the heat. It was hittin 45 C on these days!!

This old plane kept us company one of the days!
We found this fella in Budapest!

Learning to fish in Sziget!

The best tent by far!

Sziget beach

Free yoga classes!

It was 40C+ during the festival. Vans went around just hosing people down!

Randomly bumped into a friend from home!

Getting excited!!!     

Leaving Bupapest after a great week!

Our first try at a sail....

...that didnt really work!

Second try worked a charm!

Fairly creepy war memorial in Hungary

Andrea's birthday!!!!!!!!

After perfect beach that we had all to ourselves

How the Danube has changed over the years

Stopping at customs! This where I officially became a captain!

House boats like this are getting more common!

Enjoying a beer on the catamaran

Our Serbian hosts

They complained they never had photos of them with a book, only ever with beer, so I gave them a book and took the photo!

Doing some fishing

Doing some drinking

Our official photographer, Emily

Self made pork sausages...

Believe or not he's a Doctor in the local hospital, but he was also a DJ for 8 years!

Tasty catfish

3 people watching, 1 working

This guys a tourist washed in by the floods!


War memorial on the Croatian side of the river

A very modern looking looks more like a skate board ramp!

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