The title is slightly misleading in that the Black Sea has a bit-part in the book right at the end. Although it is only the 30th longest river in the world, it travels through more countries than all but two rivers — the Nile and the Niger.
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More intriguingly, the Danube connects the West and East of Europe. One would expect a journey down the Danube to be completed by boat, but Mr. Eames does not even set foot on a boat until he reaches Serbia, halfway along the km of river. When he does make it onto a boat, it is a freight barge at the border of the EU, where we learn the drama and politics that can exist onboard. Possibly the best way to end a journey along a river however is via rowboat. Any trip along the length of the Danube is primed to paint a picture of the two halves of Europe, and how they stitch together.
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While this is not the main theme of the book per se, the divisions between neighbours are one of those interesting distinctions that a good journey will illuminate. As his trip progresses, the sense of regulation and order diminish along the river, the policing of the waterways appearing increasingly lax as he passes into Serbia, out of the EU.
This is summed up by Antar, a man working with river customs at this border crossing whom Mr.
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Eames meets. Similarities between neighbours, indeed between all humans, are also often highlighted by good journeys too. Certainly one of the real strengths of the book is the way that Mr. Eames is able to unravel the tangled ball of thread that is race and nationality, particularly in Central Europe. This is a region, formerly the Habsburg Empire, and variously parts of other empires, where borders do not always fairly represent the geographical fringes of different languages and races.
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It is a region where Hungary and Austria are shadows of their former selves, where once they enjoyed regional dominance, and where Germans migrated away from their homeland, creating farming villages as far away as western Romania, which later became separated from their mother land by world wars and later, the Iron Curtain.
The borders of the European mainland have been redrawn so many times that settlements abound along the Danube river that seem out of place within current borders.
Samenvatting The river Danube flows through more countries than any other river on earth. A journey along its length takes in all of European history, and encompasses the very latest developments in what can be called the New Europe. Starting at the river's source in Germany, Andrew Eames here takes a fascinating and revelatory journey by bicycle, boat and on foot.
Along the way, he knocks on the door of the occasional Schloss in the hope of accommodation for the night and meets a real live Hohenzollern; he travels through areas of intensive heavy industry as well as completely rural areas where wolves still roam and tribal fisherman live on islands thatched with reeds. Blue River, Black Sea is an absorbing and highly entertaining book which explores how much we really know about the New Europe. Andrew Eames doesn't shrink from analyzing the difficult issues of race and cultural identity he is bound to encounter along the way and his book seeks to find an answer to some of the most complex problems facing Europeans today.
Toon meer Toon minder. Recensie s Eames has the adventurousness and pleasantly self-deprecating sense of humour that makes a good travel writer.
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The book's hero is the Danube itself. Few will forget Eames's lament for the demise of the river in the modern era. Lees de eerste pagina's. Reviews Schrijf een review.
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