Follow Amanda & Rob around the world for a year. From 30 September 2005!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Home and Dry

All good things have to come to an end and last Sunday (27th August) we flew into Heathrow after 330 days on the road. Very much mixed feelings. Lovely to see our parents again (armed with signs and balloons) but it has been difficult adjusting to the fact that it is all over. Looking back, it all seems a bit of a dream. But we did have an enjoyable last few days of travelling.

The camping trip to the Great Wall was excellent. It was a bit of a trek up there due to the fact that the section of the wall was actually closed to the public and was completely overgrown. But we got to our tower with only a few cuts and scratches. We had paid a Chinese bloke to carry up firewood and beer and spent the rest of the evening drinking, eating a civilised picnic (thanks Rich and Carol), drinking warm beer and warmer wine from a carton, stoking the fire and plucking massive millipedes off the walls in order that they didn't enter our sleeping bags later in the night. Got, ooh, at least three hours sleep, and getting up at 5am for a misty sunrise was truly spectacular. We packed up, headed back down, had a hearty breakfast of rice and noodles and Si bought 40 Chinese fireworks and let them off next to the wall. Great fun. By midday we had taken a bread car (a little minibus in the shape of a loaf of bread - see the pic on flickr) back into the Jing and had a welcome shower and out in the evening for duck and deep-fried scorpions. Nice.

The flight from Beijing to Frankfurt was full and we ended up getting one seat in business class and one in cattle class. I spent the first four hours in business, with a slightly guilty feeling as I thought of Amanda squashed up in the back of the plane. The guilty feeling didn't prevent me tucking into a hearty steak and quaffing numerous glasses of excellent red wine and champagne. Unfortunately, I had said to Amanda that we would swap halfway through the flight and it was back to earth with a bump (not literally, thankfully) as I headed back to the soggy sandwich hell of economy class until we landed in Frankfurt.

We drove straight to Holland to see the Smits and were treated to more gastronomic delights and my red wine quaffing continued. How much of that bottle of port did we actually drink that first night, Erwin?! Then back to Frankfurt to see old friends and colleagues (sorry to those who we didn't get to see - it was a bit of a fleeting visit and we will be back soon). The first glass of Apfelwein was delightful, as was the Malepartus schnitzel on Friday night. Great to be back in our 'hometown' of the last few years.

So now we are home, back to reality and job hunting. And sadly, that is also the end of our blog. 'Cos, whilst some people may have been interested in our adventures around the world, sadly I fear that tales of my recent drive on the M5 won't be quite as rivetting. I am looking to buy a tuk-tuk to make things a little more exciting though. Hopefully it will be fun and it is quite exciting trying to work out what we are going to do now. We have vowed to explore the UK a bit more and who knows, one day we might head off again.

Thanks to all who have read the blog over the year. I am actually quite sad to log off for the last time. Just one last post after this of our highlights, tips and various statistics.

Rob and Amanda


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