A Wanderer of Freedom

0
154

wetzl3_4-3The river Danube seemed like magic last Saturday. The sun shed so beautiful lights on it where the ?See beginnt?* (German for lake begins) that we could not resist stopping for 10 minutes ? at least that?s what we thought ? It turned to be almost an hour, since we parked our bikes at the freshly opened terrace named Kerékbár (Wheel-bar), and popping in, we were astonished by the ambience. The river Danube seemed like magic last Saturday. The sun shed so beautiful lights on it where the ?See beginnt?* (German for lake begins) that we could not resist stopping for 10 minutes ? at least that?s what we thought ? It turned to be almost an hour, since we parked our bikes at the freshly opened terrace named Kerékbár (Wheel-bar), and popping in, we were astonished by the ambience. ?The guy who created this place must be well travelled? – said somebody. Its pure but stylish simplicity and inventiveness should suggest that a place like this can be seen only ?in the West, over the river Lajta?. (By the way, Kerékbár can be found next to the bicycle road between Zebegény and Nagymaros)

wetzl3

Having found this unique place we could not miss the opportunity to talk to the owner, Péter Wetzl. He is glowing with vitality, smiling up to his ears and seemingly he knows exactly the desires of wanderers, since he is one. A Wanderer of Freedom.

Kerékbár - Donau Terasse - Fotó: Heincz András
terasz


Kisduna: Are you really a worldwide traveller?

Peter Wetzl: Whoever said it, was right. I have been to many places of the world from Alaska to New- Zeeland. Though I trace back my whole walk of life to the little wooden cottage at the foot of the Galla hill where I was born, because it was there that I learned important things for a lifetime. Like, how to live together with nature, as it requires watching, paying attention, getting used to not meeting anybody sometimes for days. It was a perfect school.

placc
wetzl


Alaska and New-Zeeland are places quite a long way from here. I cannot even imagine how one can get there. What experiences did you have before heading for these places?

Besides the ?ammunition? that I had got at home I was lucky, too, and the nearby mountain Nagy Hideg-hegy also played a great role in it. When I first arrived from the dirty, muddy town to the crystal clean, untouched snow on its peak, I felt that it was my way. I spent so much time around the refuge that I soon got a job there, meanwhile I had the opportunity to live my new passion, skiing, and I even joined a mountaineers? club. Before long, I found myself in Alaska, living the adventurous life of mountain climbers, whose slogan was: sport comes first, followed by the family and then comes work. However, we worked very hard in order to be able to enjoy skiing and freedom.

Different aims led me to New-Zeeland. There I fell in love with cycling. Airplanes and cars proved to be too fast for me. I wanted to see, moving slower, embracing everything I come across? ? for these purposes biking is a perfect answer. At the same time I wanted to see if I was capable of the effort that I put myself up to.

wetzl2

But this takes a lot of money!

Travelling by bike can be cheap, wherever you may be going. For the most important trips I even found a sponsor. Anyway, I realized it in New-Zealand how much this lifestyle changed me, how differently I look at the world now. It even made me stronger in a certain way: the values I adopted when I was a child will probably remain with me all my life.

wetzl4

Is the Donau Terasse a station in your adventurous course of life?

One of my old plans came true with this bar. I wanted to connect biking with the ?Danubian way of life?. This little place that I dreamed and then realized here is an enormous business opportunity ? one that might not be recognized by many yet. The big plan of the EU is to make it possible to bike all the way from the source of the Danube ? the Donaueschingen – to the Black Sea. A lot of people cannot even imagine, how many foreigners stop by at this small wooden bar for a drink and a snack, and to take the chance to have a shower or they just admire the panorama. This landscape is ordinary only for us, for others it is absolutely unique. Then in the spring you can just leave your bike here, hop in a canoe and go for a ride on the water. Cycling is growing more and more popular as you can easily see it in Budapest too. This narrow bike lane here can refresh tourism in the whole country. The cruises on the Danube from Regensburg through Passau, Vienna and Bratislava to Budapest flow right here, on the left side of the river, offering the possibility of launching new enterprises like this.

wetzl5
placc3

How do foreigners end up here with their bikes? Is everyone so fit, that they don?t even
stop on the way from Vienna?

Well, if not without a break all the way from Vienna but there definitely are some who can ride a few hundred km at a stretch. However, we can also see a l
ot of tourists on rented bikes (the same red bike with the red bag) who get off from the cruisers for a daytrip around here, and then to sit down for dinner in their suits and ties. Nowadays, doing some exercise is part of luxury.

Our opening day was hilarious: the bar had not even been officially opened yet; we were just cleaning the place, getting ready, when a Dutch group stopped by, walked through the chippings and debris from the construction works, and took seats on the terrace. All we could do was realize that we had opened the place without any formal ceremony.

rtbla usz

ducikli

As I see, you are having a good time here, meeting similar people like yourself every
day?

When 10-15 bikers roll in here, I know exactly how adventurous, energetic people theyare. Everyone can feel this energy, and I hope that many will follow their example. It is a great lifestyle: the exercise, the water, the hills, the nature all together will give everyone the incomparable feeling of freedom.

{youtube width=”600″ height=”450″}6_vetxbgRS0{/youtube}

 

*Legend has it that settlers arriving from Mainz (today Germany) here, at Zebegény, cried out with surprise: ?Hier See Beginnt? (A lake starts here), on seeing the Danube between the hills ? which on this spot seems as it were the end of a lake. This is the funny explanation for the name of the village, Zebegény.

Végvári Györgyi
Photographed by Heincz András
Translated by Szigeti-Benedek Gabriella