Bento’s Long Ride
Austria to Norway
Long Rider Gretna Lackner
|In 2018 Greta Lackner and her horse, Bento, pioneered a route across Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and into Norway. The journey lasted 116 days and covered 2,500 kilometres.|
29.04.2018 Dornbach – Tullnerbach
30.04.2018 Tullnerbach – Rapoltenkirchen
01.05.2018 Rapoltenkirchen – Plankenberg
02.05.2018 Plankenberg – Gemeinlebarn
03.05.2018 Gemeinlebarn – Gneixendorf - We rode along the river Donau among many cyclists, because they use this popular route along the river. At the late afternoon we crossed the big highway bridge over the river Donau at the height of Krems.
04.05.2018 Gneixendorf – Stiefern
05.05.2018 Rest day in Stiefern
06.05.2018 Stiefern – Gföhl - We started in a wonderful warm summer morning, rode through forest and green fields, as beautiful as in a dream.
07.05.2018 Gföhl – Friedersbach
08.05.2018 Friedersbach – Rosenau - We passed the monastery of Zwettl and took an expressway with plenty of traffic. Then we went through meadows and fields.
09.05.2018 Schloß Rosenau – Kottingnondorf
10.05.2018 Kottingnondorf – Dietrichsbach
11.05.2018 Dietrichsbach – Schöneben - Beautiful misty morning…. scattered farms, little lakes and dark green shady coniferous forests.
12.05.2018 Schöneben – Sandl
13.05.2018 Sandl – Markt Leopoldsschlag - Last station in Austria. Next morning we have to pass the border into the Czech Republic.
14.05.2018 Markt Leopoldschlag – Rozemberk - We passed the green border through the wood at Eisenhut and lost our way in the forest. After a while we continued when we found the right path again. Over hours through the forest we came down into the Moldau river valley.
15.05.2018 Rozemberk, rest day.
16.05.2018 Rozemberk - Second rest day and trip to the beautiful medieval town of Krumau.
17.05.2018 Rozemberk – Slupenec - It has been raining the whole day. My horse and I got pretty wet.
18.05.2018 Slupenec – Kremze - On the road was an auto rally. In the forest the military were having manoeuvres! I decided to leave this area as fast as possible. When we had made about 10 km, I noticed that I had forgotten my hat in the stable. Too late to return. Over hours we went through the forest and reached in the afternoon a kind of mountain cabins in the hills nearby Kremze.
19.05.2018 Kremze – Dobcice
20.05.2018 Dobcice – Vodnanske – The best weather. We went through a charming landscape like a picture of the painter Waldmüller; cattle in huge pastures, fruit trees in blossom, lined little streets, small old villages, where time had been stopped, beautiful gently rolling fertile land.
21.05.2018 Vodnanske – Tvrz Kestrany - it was only a castle ruin with nothing inside than some old houses and a yard, where I spent a night, holding my restless horse in one hand, while leaning against an old oak tree. It was a short terrible night and we both left this place exhausted in the mist of the early morning.
22.05.2018 Tvrz Kestrany – Buzice - During the day I sat down on a bench in the shade of a willow and fell asleep right now holding my horse on the rein. When I woke up, Bento stood still sleeping next to me. We arrived in the afternoon at a very nice pension. We both slept like we were in heaven.
23.05.2018 Buzice - Lnare - Up and down! Friendly people but messy. I cleaned the garage where I was allowed to sleep and called my restless horse often over the night to calm him. We both were very thankful to leave this place in the morning.
24.05.2018 Lnare – Brezi - Ran before a thunderstorm. We nearly made it in time. The last meters we came into a wall of water and were completely wet right now but we got a good lodging in an empty old estate.
25.05.2018 Brezi – Dobrany - This little town nearby Pilsen belongs to the heaven of beer. In the towns little brewery I learned to enjoy the very tasty beer.
26.05.2018 Dobrany rest day.
27.5.2018 Dobrany – Kladruby - A long hot summer day was over when we both, dusty, thirsty and tired reached the old cool stable with stone vaults under the monastery Kladruby, where water and feed were prepared for my brave horse.
28.05.2018 Kladruby – Dvur Krasikov - This day we passed a nature reserve with large forests and like a wide grassy sea.
29.05.2018 Dvur Krasikov – Marienbad – This is a fine old traditional health centre and spa. Beautiful old villas and magnificent buildings of the last century characterize this nice old place. I spent the night near to Bento’s stable in a hotel. All eyes turned to me as I entered the hotel hall, the saddle bags over my shoulders, in dusty clothes, like a figure out of a western movie. I enjoyed the bath in my room and washed my dirty clothes.
30.05.2018 Marienbad – Mansky Dvur – We followed a path through a large quiet forest completely alone.
31.05.2018 Mansky Dvur – Mlynek, Golden River Ranch - We reached the ranch where colourful horses are bred. Bento was excited and fascinated when he saw the appaloosas and paints. He shouted a loud greeting.
01.06.2018 Mlynek – Zwota - Schönbach was the last city in Czech Republic than we moved to Germany, Vogtland Eubabrunn. Green was the beautiful valleys and forests. Many people shouted a greeting to us. At the days end we had to climb up the steep hills to a ranch.
02.06.2018 Zwota – Lengenfeld - Over hours alone through the beautiful forest and we enjoyed the silence.
03.06.2018 Lengenfeld – Steinermühle bei Waltersdorf am Mühlberg – Today I often lost the right way and had to return or try to find another way. Down in a lovely valley, beside the river Elster, we found a 16th century mill converted into a restaurant. Across the river is an old knight’s estate. Bento resides in the noble barn and I got a nice dinner with the family.
04.06.2018 Bei Waltersdorf am Mühlberg Rest day.
05.06.2018 Waltersdorf – Gera, Collis - Hard farewell from nice people of the Steinermühle. But back on tour my heart was filled with joy. We went on small secret paths through the lovely gentle hilly landscape of Thüringen. In the early afternoon we came to a huge park we had to traverse to reach our destination. Finally I stood at the head of two long steep stairs, no other possibility to make our way. So I decided to lead Bento beside down. There was a very small channel between stair and railing partially overgrown by blackberry bushes. We started slowly and I led Bento beside down. We managed the first stair in this way. At the second, my horse suddenly pushed on the stages and started to go down the steep stair. I could not press him back and was frightened, knowing that one wrong step could end in a broken leg, because of the stairs length. But my horse stayed focused until to the last step and everything went well. I was very proud of him!
06.06.2018 Collis – Zeitz - Over hills covered in meadows until we reached Zeitz, where we got a nice box and bed at the equestrian centre. The friendly people invited me to a barbecue. Unfortunately the goat of the house had 5 minutes alone with my backpack and destroyed it!
07.06.2018 Zeitz – Rippachtal
08.06.2018 Rippachtal – St. Hubertus, Merseburg - Terrible hot day, at 6 p. m. it was +31°C (87 F). Mosquitoes tortured my horse during the night.
09.06.2018 Merseburg – Salzmünde - Temperature rose up to +34°C (94 F). We were exhausted!
10.06.2018 Salzmünde – Könnern – The ferry over the river Saale was nothing special for my horse. I almost sank Bento in the mud of the river bank when I led him to drink. Thank God he was smart enough and threw himself back at the last moment. +33° C (92 F) over long distances with no shadow! I felt like we were crossing the Spanish
11.06.2018 Könnern – Bento’s forelegs were swollen! We needed a rest day and I treated his legs with cooling bandages. I asked myself how it could happen and later I remembered the many mosquito bites my horse had got. I suppose it was the poison of the bites. Anyway, the next day his legs where much better!
12.06.2018 Könnern – Biendorf
13.06.2018 Biendorf – Steckby - We crossed the river Elbe at Aken. During the night Bento was tormented and bitten many times by deer flies. I disinfected the bloody spots and left the farm with an battered and scrubby horse.
14.06.2018 Steckby – Wahlitz - Washed and disinfected Bento again. Because of the bites of the deer flies he scratched like mad!
15.06.2018 Wahlitz – Pietzbuhl - The following days my horse lost weight and I ran next to him. Due to the loss of weight his skin became wrinkled and damaged under the belts of the saddle. Riding was unthinkable for a long time.
16.06.2018 Pietzbuhl – Zerben
17.06.2018 Zerben - Rest day. Bento started to recover!
18.06.2018 Zerben – Mangelsdorf
19.06.2018 Mangelsdorf – Neumark Lübers - We were travelling upwards the river Elbe since one week. Nice little towns, beautiful old brick houses. There was a charming peaceful atmosphere all over the country and I enjoyed the feeling as if I was travelling through a picture book.
20.06.2018 Neumark Lübers – Bendelin - Today after hours of hiking through the forest, I suddenly stood in front of a double line of the high-speed railway. Could see in both directions far enough and I decided to scramble over the railway embankment and the two lines. Bento followed me willingly and skilfully. We needed some time to overcome the obstacle and I was very glad not to have seen a train!
21.06.2018 Bendelin – Gross Breese
22.06.2018 Gross Breese – Klein Warnow
23.06.2018 - Klein Warnow - Rest day.
24.06.2018 Klein Warnow – Klein Krams
25.06.2018 Klein Krams – Toddin
26.06.2018 Toddin – Valluhn – Bento’s strap pressures did not really look good despite cream and still not riding him.
27.06.2018 Valluhn – Alt Mölln - In the morning the owner of the stable came to me. “You own a fine pony,“ he said and smiled. I knew this was a great compliment from a very fit 82-year-old man who had always owned bred and ridden horses. We talked a little bit. Finally he said, “If you want something, just do it. And if you have to, do it alone.” Yes sir! In this one sentence laid the wisdom of a life!
28.06.2018 Alt Mölln – Klempau
29.06.2018 Klempau – Heilsoop
30.06.2018 Heilsoop – Wulfsdorf
01.07.2018 Wulfsdorf - Rest day. After a telephone call the very friendly official veterinarian of the district came and brought me the necessary travelling papers for my horse to cross the border to Scandinavia.
02.07.2018 Wulfsdorf – Freudenholm - We had a fine day, travelling through beautiful East Holstein.
03.07.2018 Freudenholm – Grube
04.07.2018 Grube – Fehmarn Blieschendorf - An exciting day. First view of the dark blue Baltic sea. Fresh salty air, my horse was fascinated! Obviously he recognized the difference between a lake and the sea. He stopped sometimes and had a look over the water. Now I was really looking forward to cross the big Fehmarn Sund Bridge with him. It was a pleasure for my horse and me when we walked across the bridge. There was not one moment of fear. Sometime we stopped and had a fantastic look over the blue water. The fresh wind blew strong and we enjoyed this little adventure very much.
05.07.2018 Fehmarn Blieschendorf – Roedby Denmark – Kettinge - Johanna brought us with her car and trailer to Puttgarden and we took the ferry from Germany to Denmark. At the ferry my horse was completely calm. I was very proud of him. We took the first highway exit Bento got out oft he trailer was saddled up and we went north.
06.07.2018 Kettinge – Eskilstrup - Today we went through light-blond wheat fields passed an old windmill and enjoyed the Danish country idyll.
07.07.2018 Eskilstrup – Vordingborg - Again a big long bridge, more than 3 km, from Loland Falster to Sealand Vordingborg. Car traffic and 3 trains passed by, during we crossed the bridge. Bento stayed calm. What a brave fantastic horse!
08.07.2018 Vordingborg – Faxe
09.07.2018 Faxe – Roedvig
10.07.2018 Roedvig - Rest day.
11.07.2018 Roedvig - Rest day.
12.07.2018 Roedvig – Herfoelge - Very hot weather and nearly no shadow over long distances.
13.07.2018 Herfoelge – Lille Salby - Short day, simply too hot. I took the first possibility to make a days end.
14.07.2018 Lille Salby – Tune - A big stable refused to take us, we arrived a small private ranch overnight. We both slept outside this night.
15.07.2018 Tune – Lynge – Terribly hot!
16.07.2018 Lynge – Fredensborg - Through the Danish wood. Myriads of mosquitoes welcomed and accompanied us. After a while I took a route along the royal forest, but outside! We passed many exclusive horse stables. Finally we arrived at our last destination in Denmark. Tomorrow Claus will take us in his trailer on the ferry from Helsingoer up to Sweden, Helsingbourg.
17.07.2018 Fredensborg, Denmark – Helsingbourg, Sweden - We took the ferry and I was excited. Sweden, the last country before our destination Norway!
18.07.2018 Headalen – Munka Ljundby - At first I wanted to take a route near the west coast up into the north. After we passed through Angelholm I had to see, that there were only big roads like E 20 and highways, industrial areas and big towns. So I decided, the second day walking along busy main routes, that took me to large industrial and shopping centers, to change the direction and take a route more east, through the forest and hills.
19.07.2018 Munka Ljundby – Vaxtorp - Fine weather and a fantastic landscape! We took a small road that led us through charming little villages, wooded hills, between two beautiful lakes named Västersjön and Rössjön.
20.07.2018 Vaxtorp – Tjärby
21.07.2018 Tjärby - Rest day.
22.07.2018 Tjärby – Simlangsdalen - Today again through the wonderful forest and nature. The fragrance of conifers filled the warm air, some birds were calling and there was a deeply peaceful atmosphere over the land.
23.07.2018 Simlangsdalen – Slättarka - Today again most of the way through the forest. What a wonderful life. So easy, so free!
24.07.2018 Slättarka – Asige
25.07.2018 Asige – Askome - Departed late and we suffered in the heat. I made five calls, but all negative. Knocked on some doors, nobody at home or they said no.
26.07.2018 Askome – Gällared
27.07.2018 Gällared – Moatanga – Met a young couple in the forest who had horses. We spent two happy days with them.
28.07.2018 Moatanga - Rest day.
29.07.2018 Moatanga – Torestorp - During the day we changed from Halland to Götland.
30.07.2018 Torestorp – Örby
31.07.2018 Örby – Östra Hunghult
01.08.2018 Östra Hunghult – Tollebo
02.08.2018 Tollebo – Tollered - The connection between Bento and me had become very tight. I could have let him free for some time and he never would have left me.
03.08.2018 Tollered – Alingsas - The woman of the farm warned me about crossing the hanging bridge with a horse. I had a look at the bridge. It was not a long one and I decided to try and make it. When we entered the bridge, Bento became very concentrated. When we reached nearly the middle, the bridge swung so strongly to the left and the right that I was frightened and thought we were going to be thrown off the bridge. I stopped, with my brave horse beside me. Regardless of the strong left and right movement, Bento was still concentrated and remained calm. We waited until the strong vibration became weaker. I was not yet sure yet if should continue. Then Bento took the initiative and seemed to say, “Come on! We can do it!“ Carefully and determined we started to go and the vibration started also again, but my horse took me to the other side. Deeply moved by Bento’s faith and the courage I fell on his neck and tears of emotion ran down my cheeks.
04.08.2018 Allingsas – Kvarnabo
05.08.2018 Kvarnabo – rest day
06.08.2018 Kvarnabo – Nygarden
07.08.2018 Nygarden – Trollhättan Vesten - Today some few km along the E 45, one of Sweden’s main traffic routes from south to north. We crossed the Göta River at Lilla Edet.
08.08.2018 Up Trollhättan Vesten, Göta valley – Vänersborg Vesten - Today a long time at the E 45. We had plenty of traffic.
09.08.2018 Vänersborg Vesten – Färgelanda - Again a long very hot day. Could not find a place to stay. When we finally reached a stable, the man checked Bento’s medical papers.
10.08.2018 Färgelanda - rest day
11.08.2018 Färgelanda – Bäckefors
12.08.2018 Bäckefors – Bengtfors - The settlement is now getting thinner. After some useless attempts to find a place, I thought we would spend this night somewhere in the forest. A few hours later a car stopped and a nice couple invited me and my horse to stay at their place.
13.08.2018 Bengtfors – Flolander
14.08.2018 Flolander – south of Lenartsfors - A cool and rainy morning. Despite the supposedly waterproof rain gear I was wearing, when we reached the little farm at the days end I was completely wet. There was not left one dry spot.
15.08.2018 South of Lenardsfors – Fölsbyn
16.08.2018 Fölsbyn – Mosserud Gard – I took the old way up north along the former railway line. I rode through the fresh autumnal day through the beautiful Swedish landscape.
17.08.2018 Mosserud Gard – Koppom
18.08.2018 Koppom - rest day. Like so often on these days I had to wash my clothes.
19.08.2018 Koppom – Magnor, Norway - A bright fresh morning and I was happy and a little bit excited. Today we would cross the border to Norway! This evening I managed to find a station overnight by following the hoofprints of some horses in the sand.
20.08.2018 Magnor – Granli - Hip pains and tired. I left the stable late and even though I chose a beautiful it was the wrong route.
21.08.2018 Granli – Kirkenaer - Along the Glommer valley we went up north.
22.08.2018 Kirkenaer – Valer, Braskereidfoss - After more than 16 weeks traveling. I for myself knew that we were at the end of a long trip. But my horse? I suppose that with such a close connection as we had now, something like an exchange of ideas takes place. As we neared the town, my niece drove towards us in a sulky. One of her sons was waving a Norwegian flag. At the end of a long trip, I fell into their arms.
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