Having been entranced by the mighty Danube on our tour through Germany, Austria and the Balkans last year we made it a point of honour to visit the river’s source having discovered it to be at nearby Donaueschingen.
The source is considered to be a spring, called Karstaufstossquelle, and was first documented by the Roman general Tiberius when he visited the waters in 15BC.
The spring is still active and we leaned over the railings at the pretty baroque well to admire the crystal clear water bubbling up from the beneath the rocks, and through a modern crust of well-wisher’s coins.
The rivulet that is formed by the spring flows into a stream, the Brigach, where a neoclassical temple to Diana was built in tribute by the Emperor Willhelm II in 1910.
Further out of the town, and through the wooded parklands belonging to the palace of the Princes of Fürstenberg, the Brigach is joined by the Breg.
This is known as the confluence of the Danube and marks the beginning of its 2779km passage through central and eastern Europe to the Black Sea. A simple headstone marks the spot and informs the elevation is 610m.
Also overlooking the confluence is an allegorical sculpture of the child Danube in the arms of its mother Baar. The dedication is to a society prince and his wife on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary. We looked him up online but stopped reading when it became clear he was actively involved in the Nazi party.
Donaueschingen is a pretty, largely baroque town that has enjoyed wealth and prestige off the back of the investment of the Princes of Fürstenberg.
The liveliest place at any time of day or night is the town’s Fürstenberg brewery, which is also its most popular bar and restaurant. With free (and fast) wifi we were regulars for a couple of nights and enjoyed chatting with the young and multi-lingual staff whilst preparing and posting the blog.
Now into early October the overnight temperatures were dropping to freezing overnight and at the high altitude it was taking until late afternoon to reach double figures.
At our free aire in the grounds of the palace’s park it was clear that the season, like the colourfully-changing leaves on the trees, was turning.