22 May 2011

The Danube

After days on the shore of the Danube in the Wachau region, we met back up with her today in Vienna. She'd traveled here just like us, and will continue on to Slovakia and Hungary just like we will.
A little motor skiff ferried passengers across to this town, answering the ring of a bell. Cruise ships moved across often, bicyclists could be seen moving along the shoreline as heavy busses pushed over the road above them. The castle ruin, looking down on it all, seemed especially still.
Patrick Leigh Fermor stuck to the Danube's side as much as he could on his walk from Holland to Constantinople. He writes about it a little obsessively, really - and being similarly mobile, I can see why. Rivers make the perfect travel companion. They're just moving along on their way. In a mapped out direction, they give a sense of purpose as opposed to the ocean's sense of eternity. Of transience, as opposed to the containment of a lake.
It being Austria, we were able to get so many vantage points like this one. High up over it all the Danube felt and looked so dominant. The river, unlike the expression, didn't seem 'to run through it.' It all felt huddled up close, clinging on to stay still, clinging on to keep moving.
Sometimes, in our tent at night, the sound of a passing cruise ship would sound almost like it was coming from above us - which conjured up all sorts of pre-dreams of being on the bottom or the ocean and feeling a submarine pass above us. Or a Close Encounter of some third kind.

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