Wow. We're home. Seven months of freedom has come to and end. Time to get jobs. Time to start remembering birthdays. Time to get our own apartment and start planning a wedding. Ok, it's not all bad.
We've been home about five days now. Every time I go to the loo a shed a tear of a appreciation for the western-style toilet. No more squatting (although Tom's a squatter from way back and misses them)! We can have as many cups of tea as we like at any time of day. Theres food in the fridge AND drinkable water coming out the taps! This place is heaven.
But we've started go through our photos and we've opened all the packages we sent home along the way and it's beginning to click just how much of an awesome time we had.
The last two weeks of our trip was spent in Turkey. As Tom said, we DID save the best 'til last. After China, arriving in Turkey was a total change and SO European! Baklava stores and meat, real meat, EVERYWHERE.
We spent the first few days discovering Istanbul and immediately fell in love. The architecture is indescribable
and just blew us away. After visiting so many refurbished “ancient” monuments and temples in Asia, the age and the history of places like Aya Sofia and Chora Church was mind blowing.
We managed to find some good and relatively cheap hostels cause, like everywhere else on the trip, we arrived in the off-season. And finding food, well.... that was no trouble. We dived into the chicken Kebaps on the first day and found an awesome fresh food market on the Wednesday at Fatih Camii. You can buy amazing goats cheese and fresh bread on every corner of every street.
The people we met were so lovely too. As we were walking through the markets stallholders were handing us bread and cheese and oranges and strawberries to try. We did get a bit carried away and went into a deli where the owner gave us each a pickled chilli. It was so hot I couldn't speak for about half an hour afterward. The hostel owners in Selcuk and even in Istanbul treated us like family. We were welcomed everywhere.
When we arrived in Goreme, in Cappadocia, after a pretty average bus journey we met a great couple
from California, Amanda and Jordan. We all got along really well and were pretty much inseparable until we left Turkey. That night, we also met Christine and Scott from Canada and the six of us became a mini-UN/BFFs. Our last five days of the trip would not have been the same without them. Every day was a blast.
After two nights in Cappadocia the lot of us caught the same bus back to Istanbul and the on Saturday night we went out for Amanda's birthday. It was bloody brilliant. We all drank WAY too much raki, had cake and amazing mezze for dinner then we (I) had one two many beers at a fab bar near Istiklal Cadessi before doing the potato dance (?) and walking a very drawn out hour back to Sultanahmet at 5am. I started feeling a little worse for wear. Tom couldn't find me any tissues I had to wipe the puke off my face with newspaper. My brand new fake Prada handbag was black, now brown and chunky. Nothing a Nivea face wipe couldn't fix the next day.
The last two days in Istanbul were beautifully sunny and warm. We scooped up a
few last minute souvenirs and spent the rest of the time in bed recovering from the weekend. Tom went back to Galata Bridge for fish bread AT LEAST 10 times. We found these fish baguettes on our first day in Turkey and while we were in Istanbul he scoffed at least two a day.
We bid a sad farewell on Monday afternoon to our team and all parted ways. Amanda and Jordan to Bulgaria and Scott and Christine deciding to spend an extra fews days in Istanbul. We were very jealous.
I think we both know this isn't really the end of world trips for us and of course we're already planning the next one. But it is nice to be home. It'll be nice too to have a regular income, it'll be nice to have of own place to put all our cool stuff from around the world. It'll be nice to start cooking food we tried on our trip while remembering everything we did. Sometimes it was challenging or frustrating but we wouldn't take a second of any of it back. Years of saving and no social life, weeks of putting all our money away and
driving a crap car and living in a small apartment all paid off. We climbed to the top of the Therong La Pass in the middle of winter, we scootered along the coastline of Goa in the sun, we prayed with Buddhist monks in Japan and we scaled the Great Wall of China in the snow. And we did it together, off our own backs. If you don't like travelling you'll never understand but we are really proud of each other. We only wish it was just a heartbeat before we could do it all again.
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