Published: August 21st 2005August 19th 2005
Macchu Pichu, Peru
we STILL don't know how to spell it.
Well we are home again and I just wanted to finish this blog with some reflections on our trip. It truly was the trip of a lifetime and I think that we learnt more about the world and each other in four months than we have in the last four years!
Even though we have attempted to capture some of the wonders that we have seen on these blogs, when we re-read them now they just don't seem to capture the soul of the place. Maybe that's just an analytical observation of our writing style and pics though :)
There are a couple of reasons why lots of people would never do the trip that we just did. One of the biggest questions we have got is 'how on earth can you see 16 countries in 4 months?? Did you have time to see anything properly??'
Fair question. The fact is, when we started to plan the trip, we realised that in 4 months, there was only so much you can see. The world is SO huge!! And so many places we wanted to see! Ideally you want to spend loads of time in each place, soak in
the culture, the atmosphere, do everyday life with everyday people, etc - but that would take years, not months!! So we had to decide whether we just wanted to do 3-5 places really thoroughly, or just see the 'must-see' things, and keep moving!! As you know we elected to do the latter. And as a result, we have seen and got a taste for lots of amazing places, but only really covered a few countries really well (Peru, Tunisia are good examples) .
So would we do it differently if we were to do it again? Not a chance. We have enjoyed ourselves completely and seen amazing wonders. But it doesn't invalidate the other way of travelling - in fact, if we had an unlimited budget, and the rest of our lives that would be the far better way to travel!!
One good thing is that we have identified places that we will definitely want to go back to - Mexico, Turkey and India are just examples. Will we go back to them? We hope so - but hey, we may go see places that we've never seen before first!
Another reason why people would never do
our trip is the fact that we did it all staying at relatively cheap accomodation - lots of you out there would not contemplate doing anything other than 5 star!! Well - once again, if you have the budget, 5 star is nice. On our trip we did do a couple of them - and while we did enjoy the luxury of it all, you also do miss out on the interactions with other travellers, getting advice and tips, making friends, etc. So actually - not sure how we'd do it next time - even on an unlimited budget! :)
Another frequent question we've received since coming back is "what was the trip like?" "what was your favourite bit? " etc and we always hesitate before answering, partly because it is impossible to compare most of the places that we went to as they were so different, and partly because we will never be able to explain what this trip meant to usand how it has changed our lives!
So - we've put together a set of 'top 10' style lists for you guys, hopefully you will enjoy them!
Top Five Sights
1. Machu Picchu - the
most beautiful place in the world, we just wish that our photos did it justice!
2. Abu Simbel, Egypt - spectacular and what we imagined egypt to be like
3. Sahara Desert, Tunisia - we had never believed that the desert could be beautiful but it was incredible! And as a bonus we got to see star wars sets :)
4. Ta Prohm, Cambodia - This has a fantastic atmosphere and was one of the most eerie places that we have ever been to, in a good way!
5. Taj Mahal - complete cliche but it really was spectacular and well worth the trek and the heat!
Top 10 Experiences - these are a little different but just as important! (we wanted to do 5 but couldn't agree on the top 5!)
1. Meeting our sponsor children in Rwanda - humbling to say the least
2. Bagels in Central Park, New york - completely evocative experience
3. Dave being introduced to Catherine's family and showing him her english "home"
4. Eating tacos with our good friends Rodolfo and Andrea in Mexico City
5. Pigging out at Indian restaurants
6. Talking cricket with the locals while shopping in Jaipur.
Getting lost on Santorini (Greek Islands) and ending up at the most beautiful cove with bright coloured fishing boats floaitng in emerald water - we later discovered this was a must-see in the LP that we hadn't noticed!
8. Visiting the condors in Arequipa, Peru
9. Hanging out with Argentinean locals at our hostel celebrating our last night in BA.
10. Eating fateer
(Egyptian sweet pizza) at Aswan
Best Icecream in the World
Lemon Gelato in Tozeur, Tunisia - in the blistering desert heat, we quickly discovered that your average Magnum ice cream was not going to cut it - they just make you thirstier! But the good ol' lemon water-based paddle-pop did wonders for us! In the heat, they turned to the consistency of gelato within seconds of purchase, and were immensely cheap to boot! We must have had 4-5 a day each.
Best Public Toilet in the world
Santa Catalina's Monestry, Arequippa, Peru. Seriously, I had to go in and pull Catherine out, she didn't want to leave.
Catherine: Eggplant with yogurt, lemon and cumin - outside cafe in Istanbul, turkey
Dave: some bizarre calamari dish with loads of chilli - at a
little restaurant in Tunis, Tunisia.
Catherine: Some sort of potato thing with yellow cheese sauce served cold - Lima, Peru
Dave: almost everything at a Thai restaurant we went to in London.
Biggest Scam (that we actually got sucked into as opposed to the ones we were offered!!)
Package Tour of Egypt
Most Interesting Money
Egyptian pounds - these had the numbers written in Arabic!! Thankfully the reverse side had numbers we could read :)
Singapore - not Terminal 1 though. But if you have to kill time at an airport, this would be the place to do it.
JFK at New York. We did see slightly worse ones, but this one scored extra negative points since we expected better. Closely followed by Cairo airport.
When we look back at it all, we have been privileged to have had the most amazing time away!! But strangely enough, after considering all the wonderful sights we have seen, the cool food we've had, and the interesting people, the greatest bit of it all has been the fact that we've had 3 1/2 months of solid uninterrupted time together. I think
that's one of those unexpected bonuses that you completely fail to realise until after you get back!!
Oh - and finally - this trip hasn't gotten rid of the travel bug!! A trip like this does not take away the urge to travel!! It just reminds you of all of the places left to see in the world! We are already planning our next trip!
Thanks everyone for keeping us company on our trips. We always looked forward to your emails and it was great to stay in touch with you all! Hopefully we'll get to entertain you with another trip real soon!
Lots of love
dave and cat signing out.
There are more photos below