Title: Up the Rhine and Down the Danube
Author: Derek R Brown
This is the account of a memorable voyage undertaken by the author through inland Europe, and out to Istanbul in Turkey, by river. Portraying the Danube as a C road compared with the motorway of the mighty Rhine, the author describes his entertaining, exhilarating and at times plain hairy trip up the Rhine and down the Danube. The trip, which took two and a half years, although actual travelling time was only sixty-seven days, saw them travel 3,750 kilometres, during which time they went through ninety-four locks. They took in Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania before eventually ending up at their final destination, Istanbul, in Turkey. On their travels they had to contend with gales, fog and rain, strict and bribe-hungry officials, barges that dwarfed the tiny Dutch cruiser, not to mention the strong currents, high waves and massive locks along the way. Arriving in Istanbul in one piece (despite a smoking engine), the author completed the voyage of a lifetime, and this is his story.
The blurb just about covers what the book is about. I picked it because I am going on a river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam later this year and I thought that I might read about things to see and places to go. Well I was mistaken, very mistaken! Up the Rhine and Down the Danube was the most God awful mundane book I have read for a while. As you can see the blurb had “…the author describes his entertaining, exhilarating and at times plain hairy trip up the Rhine and down the Danube…” which is a prime reason why you shouldn’t trust book blurbs, as it was NOT entertaining and it was NOT exhilarating in any way, shape or form!!! To give the author credit I did get the effect of how hairy it could be being a small vessel among some of the big cargo carriers (and cruise ships) I did finish the book, just to see if anything useful could be gleaned. But, that would be a no; thankfully it was very short. Even if I was contemplating sailing myself up or down the river system, I am not sure this book would be useful at all.
Rating: D – Average. Was better to read than to do the housework (but only just)
I could find no webpage for this author