This post is about an 18km walk from Mühl to Schlögen. I toil my way up the hills until I am at the viewpoint Schlögener Schlinge.
Everyone had been telling me that I was about to enter the part of the Danube that was the prettiest. And it seemed as though they weren’t wrong.
The river was meandering hard, and there were steep hills on both sides of it. The hills were completely covered in trees, and they were of a deep, lush green. Sometimes the bike path led right along the river, sometimes it cut through the vegetation like a tunnel.
It was beautiful, and it all somehow felt like the perfect backdrop for an epic like the Nibelungenlied (which, according to some scholars, had probably been written in this exact area around the year 1200): a place fit for women and men with swords and magical abilities, for lindworms, giants, and dwarves.
the way up
I left the bike path after about 10km and started going uphill. This scared me a bit, because I didn’t know how my lower back would take it, but I tried to straighten my posture as I struggled to pull the Caboose up the serpentine road.
After about 150m of altitude, when I could see the Danube like a moss-colored ribbon peek through the trees down below, I took a break and laid down on the ground to do my back exercises. Then I ate something, and then I did 150m more.
I reached Haibach ob der Donau in the early afternoon. It was a Sunday, so the whole place seemed to be asleep, but I found a café that was open. It was full of senior citizens having cheesecake and coffee, so I went in and ordered cheesecake and coffee as well.
One lattay ma-chee-ah-tow, please, I said, and I felt happy. Happy about my back, happy about the warm afternoon, happy about the cake and the coffee, and happy to be alive and walking.
It took me until the late afternoon to reach a steep forest path that took me to the viewpoint atop the Schlögener Schlinge, a bend in the Danube where the river looked particularly picturesque.
Of course I wasn’t the only one to come up with the idea to take a walk to the viewpoint on a Sunday afternoon. I ran into a bunch of people. All of them were very nice, except for one guy who had a Russian wife and who somehow found it necessary to tell me that it was actually NATO who were pushing for war in Ukraine. This was of course absolute horseshit, and I argued loudly with him while the evening sun was playing with the clouds and the Danube was flowing through the bend below us.
I hated it, and I was angry at myself for even bothering to engage with such idiocy.
After a while the weirdo thankfully left and took his wife with him, and I was alone with two couples who seemed nice. The first were photo enthusiasts, the second were drinking and enjoying the sunset.
Then they left, too, and I had the viewpoint and the forest and the Danube and the starry night and the myths to myself.
the walk from Mühl to Schlögen: