Mr. Pascal Bärtschi is a 37 years old man, born and living in Switzerland practicing road bike competition since he was 20 years old.
Sarajevo Times: You have been cycling around the world for the last 2000 plus days! This is an imposing number! How have you decided to go around the world?
“Well, I did my first travel in Vietnam when I was 20 years old, it has opened my eyes about how the world was different somewhere out of Europe and interesting. Then I started to travel with a backpack almost every year during my work holidays. Since that time, I promised to myself that it will be my dream to travel once around the world without a timeline. I renovated an old house few years after that, then I decided to rent it for living my dream. So I started the age of 32 and here I am! After almost six years and more than 100000 kilometers, I am heading back home now, my plan is almost over and my dream as well.”
What is the number of countries visited so far? What are your “top five” destinations? Why? What attracts you there?
“I didn’t really count, stamps on my passport are not really important for me, I just go where I plan and spend the time I need to meet the people, understand the culture, learning about history and of course visiting. I think around 60 countries,” Mr. Bartschi said.
On the question regarding how he came to BiH and how he perceives people here, Mr. Bartschi answers that he is very surprised by the short distances between cities and countries, especially after some huge countries in Africa , China, Australia or America. He says that he has entered BiH from Serbia, rode along the Drina river.
“From there I avoid the main roads which are too dangerous for cyclists, and then rode on the mountain road to Sarajevo then to Mostar via the Olympic mountain and Rujiste ski village. Then, roads were difficult but there was very beautiful scenery. From Mostar, I rode bike trail (Ciro trail) till the Croatian border.”
“As usual all around the world, people treat me well here in BiH as well. Very friendly and generous people. The language made some time a bit hard to be understanding, but people are very patient and helpful. As all people in the Balkan, people in BiH were really kind to me.”