Nick Thorpe’s first encounter with the Danube (as he relates in this enthralling book) came back in 1991, when his Hungarian wife first introduced him to a broad black river flowing through a moonlit winter landscape in Romania. Later, hastening through a sleeping Budapest to find the midwife for their first child, Thorpe drove along the embankment of that same river at dawn, this time rose-pink and flecked with ice floes. The spell of the Danube has held him fast ever since.
Two years ago, Thorpe set out to explore the river he loves by most of the means of transport available to him: car, bicycle, cart, foot and even – for one brief jaunt – skateboard. Unlike the cruise boats that carry their cargo of passengers east from the Black Forest,