Looking back I could say for the eager statisticians that I passed about 3815 km during the tour on a bicycle that weighted (including luggage) 40 to 45 kg, depending on the amount of water and food that I had with me at the moment. I went up most till 1801 m.a.s.l., though I had a total of over 30000 m of ascent on the road. I spent exactly 783 Euros. I paid about 10 times for an overnight. I ate in restaurants or bakeries every day. I had only one trouble with my bicycle, when my kick stand broke down so I had to buy a new one. I made more than 6000 photographs. And most importantly of all, I had NO bad experience (excluding the reckless driving of many everywhere).
But the true achievement of my tour was the countless experiences I had. I even do not dare to call this tour as a single adventure because I had many different adventures every day. So many that I really can not point to only one and say that that was the highlight of this bicycle tour of mine. I am still, completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the experiences I had... I saw wonderful sceneries all over the countries I went to. I saw beautiful places. I ate incredible food: home made cheeses made out of goat, cow or sheep milk; alcohol mixed with Dogwood berries; famous cream pie from Samobor; tried all locally produced beers; pastry, pastry, pastry… I met many of my friends for their marriage and for the birth of their son; I received a lot of goodness from complete strangers; and I made so many new friends, all inspiring people that I hope to meet again.
This journey was much more than just a tour to visit friends and places. This journey was an experience that I can only wish for every man or woman to undertake. An experience of constant wonders and little pleasures of many kinds. I learned in this journey about the people I met, even about the nations that I encountered. It is incredible how many people opened to me and told me stories from their life. Well yes, I did the same. But not only that I felt these people as old friends that I newer knew, I was touched, impressed and inspired. I had the pleasure of carrying the feeling of inspiration not only from one, but from many people that I met along my tour. I just hope that I gave them at least a little inspiration as well.
But I also learned about myself. On one hand I think that this journey I will remember as the time when I learned to be a true bicycle tour rider: to camp on any given place where a tent can be placed; to endure for days without comforts like shower, toilet or shave; to be minimalist in needs; and to seek happiness in the most simple, common and readily available things, like fresh spring water, a toilet seat, warm shower, kindness, communication, nature. While on the other, it was the time when I looked deep to myself and found answers to what are the things in life that really make me happy, satisfied and fulfilled. Sometimes I think I need to go out of my world and see other’s in order to get to know my world. I am right. And I needed that so to know what should be the next thing I should do in my life after this bicycle tour.
If someone would ask me what are the things I noticed or experienced in all the countries I went, I could say a few things. First, I should say that as I moved from South to North, I met less and less people, and I communicated less and less with the people as moving to North. If people in the South would call me from the street and invited me in their homes even (Serbia), as I moved more to North it was me that I had to start the initial communication (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia), though there were exceptions, and when I got most North (Slovenia) most of the people did not even reply with a simple ‘Good morning’. This same is valid for the sea coast. The closer to the sea coast, the people are less communicative, the further away from the sea coast and the higher I would go into the mountains, the people were more and more communicative. I guess there is something in the salty water that makes people so occupied with them selves and perhaps only looking if they can squeeze any money out of me. Which is perfectly fine with me, because I totally do not like salty, sea water. I would gladly trade 10 days by the sea for 1 day in the mountains.
Contrary to the experienced above, I noticed a complete opposite situation with the drivers. Drivers in the South rarely even noticed that I was with my bicycle on the road. But the Northern I went, more and more drivers slowed down and left quite a lot of space when they were overtaking me. Riding a bicycle became very pleasant in Slovenia since I did not even have to think about vehicles. I just rode and vehicles rode just behind me. All I had to do was to enjoy the wonderful sceneries, instead to watch back if a car would run me over or a truck would push me out of the road… When I come to think more about it, I even almost missed all that adrenalin rush that I get from riding in the South with all those reckless drivers.
I think I could also say something how the use of cash is more common in the South and cards become more common in the North, or how small, family owned grocery shops still exist in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, while Croatia and Slovenia have only supermarkets or a chain of the same markets. And most importantly, the restaurants or any food places in the non EU countries offered food that was made without any kind of food safety standards and provided food that still have the real taste of food. A pleasure that I still dream of, and a reason for which I would gladly return to those non EU countries (Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Oh, if you are wondering what the net thing that I will do in my life is; what that was that took 63 days for me to contemplate in my head. Well it is easy. Once I finish writing the stories of this tour I will go on another tour, bigger tour. So I have to write fast, since I have 62 stories to tell you...
Lower your volume, I am singing. Consider this as a warning.