Jules Verne 2.0 – Around the Danube in 21 days
„Around the world with Willy Fogg” – I still remember the cartoon adaptation of the French novel from my childhood and how I eagerly watched the exciting adventures they went through while visiting beautiful corners of the globe. Believe it or not, I found something similar: our project, Transdanube.Pearls dispatched a team of 4 to travel all along the Danube from the spring to its delta in 21 days, in order to gain first-hand experience about the mobility services available: they made an assessment tour!
First things first: the key expression to remember is sustainable mobility; the project aims to develop the region so that touristic hotspots can be approached and discovered without using car, i.e. only using sustainable means of transport (busses, trains, bikes etc.). Their mission also involves creating a network of destinations, all committed to sustainable mobility and joining forces to offer more sustainable options to visitors.
The team on the assessment tour consisted of a mobility and a tourism expert and a video team of two, and I joined them for 1,5 days on the Hungarian section. We first took a bus from Budapest to Mohács, then a train to Pécs. Several meetings with local project partners and other stakeholders served as credible information sources of the current services, and while the team was discussing important aspects, we also enjoyed professionally organized sightseeings, where amongst others I could try to grind flour with my own hands and in a treadmill as well - I was overwhelmed with childish enthusiasm!
I have to admit though, that to me at first the whole concept felt like a holiday: travelling along the beautiful Danube must be all fun and breathtaking and relaxing! Well, I was right and wrong at the same time. It is fun, it is breathtaking, but it definitely is not relaxing: every second of the visits was carefully planned at every destination to make the most out of the meetings. However, despite the tight schedule we also managed to fit in a short interview - the video will be soon available on our social media channels!
All in all I spent an amazing time with the team and not only because we saw beautiful places filled with history and tradition, but I also left them with a personal take-away. You see, those four people were extremely motivated in their work and strived to do their best to develop the region with their means. They were also in an upbeat mood all along, even when a train in front of us broke down and a 60-minutes-long delay was announced (well okay, this happened totally by chance in Villány, one of the most famous Hungarian wine areas *wink*) - they obviously loved what they are doing and they saw a possibility to grow in everything. And this is an attitude that we must develop and keep to ourselves as well, as this is what makes us going further and brings change to others. The most insignificant, tiny little thing can suddenly make perfect sense and become interesting if it is introduced by someone who has a passion for it. I know I know, this is such an old cliché, but once it hits you in real life, it can give you a huge inspiration to carry on and hopefully once to become someone who inspires others the same way.