The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 13 July 2018

Friday 13 July - Donausinkungstelle

The car park in which Bertie is currently residing is one of the start points for a walking circuit, taking in three points of interest, thus it was easy to choose what to do with ourselves today.


I didn't find a gpx file to download, so this photo was our main point of reference for where we were going.

The start of the route (which we chose to tackle anti-clockwise) was a short but sharp shock as we ascended (only a modest 80m) at a gradient that got the heart and lungs working. There then ensued much wiggling through the forest, on paths and tracks, until we reached the first point of interest:


Initially we though it was a quarry, then decided it was a vast sink hole, then we found an information board that (with the assistance of Google Translate) confirmed our original assessment. Basalt was mined here from the turn of the 20th century until 1979.

There had been a dearth of picnic (or indeed any) benches up to this point (unusual!), so an early elevenses was had when we found one one, sitting next to the quarry:

A substantial construction, as picnic benches go

Of course, many more such facilities were then found, some at impressive viewpoints.

The waymarking on this entire route, in both directions, was outstanding. Even so, shortly after the quarry, whilst looking at an information board (making a quick fly-by assessment whether it was worth stopping to try to understand it) we both not only failed to spot a finger post, but we also failed to see the junction it was marking. It was only when we got to the next turn that the position of the arrows made me suspicious that we shouldn't have arrived from our direction of approach. A bit more looking around had me realise that we had been at that very junction before - in overshooting our turn, we'd completed a loop, back to our outward route. A backtrack put us right.

The second point of interest on the itinerary was (to our eyes) wholly uninteresting. A sink hole that was was so small and so covered in undergrowth that it didn't stir even the smallest 'wow' or 'gosh'. In fact, we would have unknowingly strode straight past if it hadn't been for the information board.

Much more wiggling around through forest (definitely in the 'perfectly pleasant but not spectacular' category of walking) brought us to the final point of interest, but this one we had already seen, having walked a small circuit from the car park late yesterday afternoon. This is, as far as we can make out, the main reason that people visit this place. It's the Donausinkuntstelle - the place where (due to limestone channels and chambers) the Danube disappears below ground in summer:

Where the Danube abruptly stops and dry river bed takes over

If our understanding is correct, it flows below ground for, on average, around 155 days per year.

These three photos were taken yesterday. We didn't cross the stepping stones today (or the dry river bed) keeping to the right bank instead.

The whole outing came in at 13km, with 300m of ascent and, to our surprise, until the last 1km, we met only two other people. Between the Donausingkungstelle and where Bertie was parked, people were out in force.

I downloaded a leaflet yesterday that sets out a number of these Danube-based circuits, and it's possible we may visit another one or two as we continue on our journey.

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