204 days, 36'000 kilometers, half a million meters of altitude, 44 countries, 44 capitals, 43 highest mountains, numerous lakes, seas, national parks, forests, encounters and simply unimaginable (and this is really meant seriously - I think it is not possible to imagine the whole thing) many experiences, adventures, encounters and emotions.
This project was the hardest, most exhausting, most beautiful, most enriching and most profitable thing I have done in my life (so far) and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my "Friends", sponsors, family, actually just everyone who supported me here in any way. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
I will need a few more days, weeks, maybe months to process everything that has happened in the last few months, but there will definitely be a more detailed blog post and in the longer term a series of presentations... Cheers! :)
The last hard decision...
I really wanted to finish this project on Mont Blanc. But the current conditions simply do not allow this at the moment. The mountain is officially closed, who wants to go up, pays 15'000 Euro deposit, which you get back when you are back down, in the not so unlikely case that this never happens again, you have already pre-financed your rescue, respectively funeral...
On the one hand, I'm sad and disappointed that I've come so far and now only the last piece of a gigantic puzzle is missing, so to speak. On the other hand, I am happy, relieved, and grateful, maybe even a little amazed, that I have come this far at all. One doesn't even want to imagine what could have happened during all that time out there on the road, in the cities, in the mountains, or wherever....
I decided to climb the Gran Paradiso - with 4061m.a.s.l. the highest mountain, which is completely in Italy - and I will do the Mont Blanc when the conditions allow it again - probably in September as a 3 day tour from Lucerne.
The Gran Paradiso I trusted myself alone, after all, the glacier is bare and snowfree so that you can see the crevasses well and the climbing difficulties are also absolutely within limits.
The feeling of standing all alone on the 46th national peak within a few months is indescribable! And I'm sure that it will work out with the Mont Blanc soon and then I can complete this project properly...
Home straight - The alps!
Slowly but surely my trip through all 47 countries of Europe is coming to an end. In the last few days and weeks I was somewhere in the highest mountains of the alpine countries and it feels more and more like home. For me, the Alps are a place where I feel safe again, I'm not afraid of wild animals - especially dogs - anymore, the tap water is drinkable again and I can effortlessly communicate with people again.
I would like to continue this blog post where the last one left off, namely in Croatia. But because it is very intense for me at the moment not only physically but also mentally and I hardly have time to process all the impressions, I would like to share here once again a little more pictures instead of text:
In November, a young man - Charles was his name - ran after me in Porto (Portugal) to ask me why I was traveling with ice axes. Then, in March, he invited me to his home in Paris and showed me around the city. Then he left by bike himself, recently slept in my bed in Switzerland, and then we met again in Split. I was on the road together with him for two days and it was just fantastic! Croatia has just sooo much more to offer than the incredibly touristy coastal region!
Slovenia was the very last country that was still missing for me. Ljubliana the last capital. From then on, it was all about the highest mountains of the Alpine countries! Triglav Nationalpark is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the alps!
The weather at the Grossglockner did not look really good. Quite spontaneously Andreas "Rambo" Ropin has agreed to go up there together. He used to be an alcoholic, gambling addict and chain smoker, but quit this lifestyle 15 years ago and is now an extreme athlete and ultra-trailrunner. In the end we had a fantastic day despite not too summery weather!
There is not much to say. The Zugspitze is scenically a beautiful mountain, just has far too many people there. And if the very first thing you see on the summit is an elderly gentleman in a walker, then you feel rather like in the wrong movie... Actually wanted to be at sunrise on the summit, but could not start at night due to thunderstorms ... Was still beautiful.
Somehow life is just better, if you don't sleep more than 1 hour :) Especially if it is because of a beautiful sunrise stroll with Maximilian!
The feeling you get and the emotions you go through when you are back in the most beautiful country in Europe after about 35,500 kilometers through 47 countries in just under 200 days and can even call this country "home" is pretty indescribable. For me it went once across the whole country, over Oberalp Pass, Furka Pass to Zermatt and later through the whole Valais, over the big Saint Bernard to Italy.
2 years ago I wrote my Matura thesis under the title "Tour dör d'Schwiiz". Thereby I visited all 250 cities of Switzerland by bike and climbed the highest mountain in all 26 cantons. In doing so, I covered about 7'500km and 100'000 meters of altitude in 38 days. In any case, as part of this project, I have already been to the Durfourspitze - itself the highest point in Switzerland at 4634m.a.s.l.. In one day from Zermatt to the summit and back down again. But since I did not want to do the same tour again, I decided this time to climb the Dom - with 4546m.a.s.l. the highest mountain completely within Switzerland. Another excellent day, together with Martin Anthamatten. And after all the other things I've already done with Martin, it felt like a morning walk from Randa up the Dom. And we were back down in time for lunch.... :)
Adventurer and athlete, soon bikepacking through europe, climbing the highest mountain and visiting the most beautiful cities in every of the 47 countries!