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August 15th 2015
Published: August 15th 2015
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It's 5.18am LA time, and 1.18am back in Britain, on the 11th of August. Currently we have just gone past he coast of Greenland, and will be arriving in Heathrow in 3 hours. This will, of course, be my last blog.
So Sunday. We got up at a reasonable time, breakfasted, and Rosie, Kate and I headed out to have a little look around downtown before heading back to pack. We caught the subway there, and walked through the jewellery district to a Starbucks for a coffee. From there we wandered about a little more, first through a small covered market then in the Grand Market - a huge hall full of the colours and smells of food vendors and produce sellers. It made great watching, and we walked through a few times before heading back to the subway station. Once home, I cooked myself some lunch, then finally got round to packing. All four of us sat around amidst mountains of clothes with our bags in front of us. We are now well practiced, so even a good pack doesn't take long anymore. Before long, the room was looking remarkably cleaner, and we were all pretty much packed. Kieran had come round by this point, so we sat with him for a little while, talking of the travel day the next day. At 5pm Rosie, Kate and I headed out once more to climb up behind the Hollywood sign and watch the sunset. Kieran and Matt we content to stay behind in the house, so we left them to it. The three of us caught the metro up through downtown and up to Hollywood, then made our way, in the still warm late afternoon, up through the houses and hills of Hollywood. taking roughly the path we had took on our first visit to the sign. Finally, we arrived at the viewpoint we'd stopped at the first time, rested, then continued the slog up the steep switchback path that lead to the higher lookout.The walk was tough, but rewarding. As we rose, the sprawl of LA revealed itself below us and, as we rounded the back of the hill, so did North Hollywood and the areas to the north of the sign. We turned the final corner, and came upon the necks of the letters directly below us, and the entire city of Los Angeles spread out beneath the huge lettering. The view was breathtaking. It was about 8pm by this point so the lights had just began to come out. And we sat and watched for the best past of an hour as the sky darkened and the city because a network, a web of stringed lights, stretching as far as you could see in each direction, centring upon the towers of downtown that ride from the mass of low level houses that make up the greater portion of the city. It was the cold that finally forced us to leave. There was no shelter upon the rock face, and so we reluctantly headed back down the dark track, glimpsing the spectacular view every now and again, and thinking what a fitting end this was for a equally spectacular trip. The trip home was simple enough, if not a little tedious. We arrived back at gone 11 at our hostel. Matt, never and Kevin were still up chatting and we joined for a while, until we all decided we'd better get a good night's rest before the long day ahead. I slept well that night. We were up early for breakfast, which we'd arranged to have with Henry and Kevin, then had to say a sad goodbye to the former, as he had to go to work. For the next couple of hours we showered and made the final preparations, then finally I walked the keys back to reception. We said a fond farewell to Kevin, and we were off. Kieran was with us, his flight being a little earlier but still with a fair wait in the airport. We had 3 trains to catch that morning, and our bags attracted a lot of attention as we made our way through South Central and towards LAX. Good attention, mind. We had no less than 4 conversations with locals curious about where we were going, and who all commended us for doing such extensive travelling. It took us the best part of 2 hours to reach the airport, where we toons a table to gather around and wait the 8 hours or so before our flight. We spent the first 2-3 hours playing cards, mainly Presidents. At this point Kieran went to drop his bags and head through security, so we were down to just the 4 of us. For the 3-4 hours until our bag drop we read and chatted, walking off occasionally to get some food or just stretch our legs. Eventually we were able to drop our bags and head through security, both of which had little queue and were plain sailing. We entered then, with just our hand luggage, into LAX's airside, which is both disappointingly sparse and annoyingly expensive. We set up camp once more, with still 2-3 hours to wait, and carried on as we were - playing cards, reading, talking. The time went quick enough, and before we knew it they were calling the first few passenger to board. And so, the four of us walked down the ramp onto the airplane, just as we'd done in Heathrow 5 months ago to the day. And now I'm here, flying to the south of Reykjavik, and 2 hours 18 minutes away from home. I could try and describe what a phenomenal experience this trip has been, how much I have learnt from it, the incredible people I've met and the fantastic places I've seen, but I don't think I will. If I haven't captured that impression in the 65 000 words of this blog, and within the 3000 photos, then I doubt I ever can. Thank you to everyone who read my entries and gave me the motivation to complete this blog so thoroughly. It was a pleasure to write, and something I'm sure I will keep with me for the rest of my life.

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23rd August 2015

Trip of the Century
And so it all ends. What an amazing, fantastic trip and one of the wonderful features of life back in the UK over the past 5 months has been reading these wonderful descriptions of it. Hope my and all other comments have been pertinent and have added to your sense of enjoyment. Life is strange: this is all that you have been doing for months and now you are home, it becomes a memory and passes gradually into history. Records like this are hugely important both in keeping the experience live and vital and also in providing, for years to come, a detailed, rich and indelible record. Time well spent and well done for sticking with it so brilliantly well. Welcome home!

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