Last Man Down the Danube

It was the journey of a lifetime. Shortly before the Danube bridges were bombed and its waters polluted, John Herbert sailed Europe’s inland waterways to Istanbul

  • The chain bridge from the Buda bank

When my friends heard of my plans for a Grand Tour of Europe via the Danube to Istanbul, they wondered what madness had taken hold of me in my old age.

My timing was just right.

Such a journey would hardly be possible today (1999), after the damage caused by the conflict in Yugoslavia. And it was only made possible after 1992 with the opening of the Rhine-Main-Danube canal. This linked the Danube with the River Main (a tributary of the Rhine) and the commercial waterways of Europe, providing a commercial and pleasure waterway all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea. It would take me past some of the most historic towns in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania, none of which I had visited. Finally, I would cross the Black Sea to Istanbul, which I had always longed to see.

It would be a long trip – more than 3,000 miles – but what an adventure! I sold my beautiful Swan 43 yacht and bought a neqw Aqua Star 43 powerboat, Freelance IV, which seemed perfect for such an odyssey.

To read the full article, purchase Issue 18

Issue 18, 1999 The Ottoman Riviera
£8.00 / $11.25 / 44.40 TL
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Issue 18, 1999 The Ottoman Riviera
£8.00 / $11.25 / 44.40 TL
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