I talked to Pauli who cycled from Austria to Istanbul. Here’s what he told me.
- “Take two sleeping bags. You can still get rid of the second one when it gets warmer.”
- “Only take boots if you’re planning on doing hikes through the snow (he himself carried his bike and equipment through the snow for two days, ann.). If you don’t, then don’t.” (I don’t, so I won’t.)
- “Valve gas cartridges are the best, but you won’t find them in the Balkan countries. I just bought a new gas stove for 4€ that works with pierceable cartridges.”
- “It will be winter. I went in the beginning of March and I had to deal with lots of snow (partly because he chose a mountainous route, ann.). You’re going in February.”
- “Before you leave, buy a physical map for each country at Freytag & Berndt’s. You won’t find good maps when you’re in the country.”
- “Bosnia is partially mined. I used a special map that showed the heavily mined areas. The roads are safe though. Stay on the roads if you see skull signs.”
Pauli is a friend of my brother’s. He cycled from Villach (A) to Istanbul in 2010, crossing most of the countries that I’ll ride through as well. His time frame was unlimited, he ended up being on the road for three months.
- “Often, the Elderly speak German and the young people speak English.”
- “Nothing was stolen. That’s a prejudice. I didn’t bring any valuables anyway.”
- “Hospitality was amazing. People would often invite me or just give me stuff, like shoes (he only had sandals at the time, ann.) or food.”