After the great international promotional campaign, long casting process, and planning of a trip, Danube Travel Challenge finally took place at the beginning of August 2022!
In the period between 1.8.2022 and 7.8.2022, a team of two influencers (Dominic and Annika: https://www.instagram.com/dominiclars/) traveled along the Returning to the Last Danube trail - protected areas and towns in the Middle/Lower Danube section.
The aim of the Challenge was to promote the natural values of the Danube region and the use of sustainable travel options (like bicycles, boats, and buses…).
During the Challenge, Dominic and Annika visited:
Day 1: Osijek (Croatia)
Day 2: Kopački rit Nature Park (Croatia)
Day 3: Pécs & Duna-Drava National Park (Hungary)
Day 4: Sombor & Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve (Serbia)
Day 5: Novi Sad (Serbia)
Day 6-7: Đerdap National Park (Serbia) and Iron Gates Natural Park (Romania)
After the trip, we made a short interview with Dominic Lars, which we are presenting to you below:
1. Dominic, please tell us what did you like best about your Danube Travel Challenge trip?
Dominic: Our highlights were the sunrise tour in the Kopački Rit Nature Park, the kayak tour through the Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve in Serbia, and the exploring the Djerdap National Park by boat as well as from the various viewpoints. The nature there is just amazing!
2. Why did you want to be part of the project Transdanube Travel Stories?
Dominic: We as a couple really like to travel and discover the world together. We are always looking for new adventures and as Annika and I have for example never been to Serbia this trip seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit. Additionally, we think that sustainable and soft tourism is very important especially nowadays as it protects our beautiful environment and ecosystem and we really want to support promoting that.
3. Can you share with us something that you will always remember from your trip?
Dominic: Definitely the hot weather and the heat :D but also the amazing stories we were told by the locals about the history of the region and their culture. We will also never forget how hospitable everyone was, and the amazing food and Rakija we were presented with each day.
4. Was there any destination that surprised you?
Dominic: The Battle of Mohacs Memorial Park surprised us most. Before the trip, we weren’t really familiar with the history of the monument at all but discovering everything that happened here hundreds of years ago really opens your eyes to the cultural habits you experience in Hungary and Croatia today.
The battle where the Hungarian army was devastatingly defeated led to a long rule of the Hungarian and Croatian territory by the Ottoman Empire.
We were also able to get some drone shots of the memorial which shows the normally hidden symmetry and strange beauty of the place.
5. What was your experience of traveling sustainably?
Dominic: We realized that even though traveling sustainably is possible it takes a lot of planning to do so, especially in Eastern Europe. So we were very glad that the Danube Travel Stories team organized the trip so well for us. So even though we have come a long way already when it comes to sustainable travel there is still a lot to do which includes for example the infrastructure such as the connection between cities.
6. And finally, can you tell us what will you be "taking home" with you, what did you learn during this trip?
Dominic: Well, we did buy some good wine from the Vinarija Gamanovic Kladovo and some honey from a local Serbian beekeeper ;) But on top of that, we are taking with us some really awesome memories about all the places we have seen and all the people we have met. And as we also live close to the Danube River in Germany it was especially amazing to see how the river and with it the nature, culture and the people around it are changing on its way to the Delta. I often had to think about the fact that the same water that I see at home now also flows past me even though I’m so far from home.
Danube Travel Challenge was implemented within the Interreg project: Transdanube Travel Stories co-funded by the European Union (ERDF, IPA, ENI).