When the first vague idea for this trip was sown in my mind and gently started blossoming there, a mighty question also found the way into my head planting itself just in front of the new seed eyeing it suspiciously: ‘Why the heck to go on that trip?’ that question was named. Well, brief answer would be and actually is: Why not. For the longer version I have to back up a little bit.
Let’s stick with the above metaphor. Inevitably, the agrarian-savvy must ask how the soil was tilled and who planted the seed. I am convinced that every decision in life is at least a iota influenced by everything what have happened so far. But among that everything there are some key triggers. One of mine was the pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in 2006. The 800-km-trail truly aroused my passion for long distance hikes. A couple of years later my focus deviated towards another means of transportation. On a 2-weeks cycling trip through south-east Germany I learned to appreciate the advantages of travelling on wheels and not on foot. From there on several day- or weekend-trips followed. But unfortunately no long-distance tour. And that is how we end up at the point where the soil is completely tilled and the seed needs to be planted.
I suppose, it has been over a year now, that a close Austrian friend of mine told me about a cycle path from Vienna to Istanbul. Looked fantastic at a first glance and I was totally in. At a second glance I remembered geography lessons years ago and the Carpathians manifested in front of my mind’s eye and I was out. Months later I realised that I was obviously better with mountains than with rivers in geography classes. And so I discovered—at least for myself—the Danube cycle path. Thankfully, the Danube did a great job over the past million years cutting a way through the Carpathians at the border of Serbia and Romania: The Iron Gates. Panta rhei—everything flows. Okay, I have to admit that at this point the Balkan Mountains were not that present in my mind. But I will come to that (Route).