In a couple of hours we begin the long journey back to Melbourne. We sat at the breakfast table and gazed out at the quiet Saturday morning streets of Amsterdam and thought back over the past 10 incredible weeks. In the clear early morning skies the jets were already painting their glistening vapour trails like some sort of giant naughts and crosses game on a blue blackboard. Soon our plane will be painting its own trail eastwards from Amsterdam to Hong Kong.
This is the part that no Aussie traveler looks forward to. There is no escaping the fact that Melbourne really is a long way from just about everywhere and this is reemphasized every time I make a trip to Europe. It’s not easy being cramped up in a flying sardine can for around 24 hours, hoping that the person in front will have enough compassion NOT to recline their seat as soon as they board the plane. It’s not easy trying to grab a couple of hours sleep while worrying if that strange feeling in your right leg is some sort of insidious blood clot forming. It’s not easy trying to swallow a meal of bland airline food, at the same time as trying to make sure that the plastic knife doesn’t fall off your tiny table and bounce under the seat in front. And how do I always seem to manage to take home a sample of every meal on the front of my shirt ?
By the same token, within a couple of days the flights are forgotten, but the memories linger for a lifetime. Whenever we meet with the same familiar faces we shared so many happy times with, the laughs and recollections always flow freely. This has been an exceptional trip in so many respects. Although we did have the slight misfortune of two broken legs occurring, I cannot recall any previous trip where we laughed just so damn much. I am sure that this was due to the fantastic group of people we were fortunate enough to have shared the experiences with. Although our next European Adventure is almost twelve months away, I am already counting down the days till I again squeeze into another economy class seat to do it all over again.
Thanks to those also who have shared our journey from Australia and other places around the world via this blog. I have appreciated the many emails and other messages that you have sent me. It has been a pleasure to share something of our experiences with you. I just hope that my simple words have conveyed some idea of what we actually did and saw. We look forward to catching up with you in person in the near future.