Day 1


Architect's apartment | woolly leggings | -10ºC | Strauss and Mahler | Wurst und bier

Day 2

Schönau an der Donau >> Hainburg

15 miles

Herons | two buzzards | three people | frozen water | silence and snow


Day 3

Bratislava >> Esztergom

6 miles + train

Slovakian train | walked the border | St Stephen's Basilica | the Black Gate | restaurants closed | Hungarian heavy metal | New Year's Eve abandoned

Day 4

Esztergom >> Visegrad

17 miles

Basilica domes across the fields | river walk | Hungarian runners | valley of the dogs | bells across the water | blood on the snow | walking into Visegrad as the sky grows dark | strange drumming from the Danube

Day 5

Visegrad >> Szentendre

16 miles over the Pilis Hills

Castles in the mist | medieval fun | hoar frosted forest | ridge walk | man with walrus moustache | hundreds of Hungarians out for a jolly | sunset over the Danube | the temperature rising

Day 6

Szentendre >> Budapest

16.5 miles

Morning bells | early start | river path | leftover leisure | entering the city | car engines, crowds | St Margaret's Island | footsore and triumphant

We dubbed Charlotte Kingston 'Charlotte the Explorer' for her relentless curiosity and her voracious appetite for a challenge. Last December, while most of us were watching re-runs of Only Fools and Horses, she hiked for seven days from Vienna to Budapest inspired by the words and walks of the legendary Patrick Leigh Fermor, returning footsore but triumphant.