...back into the UK
So I'm finally home. My last day was in Belgium where I stayed at the home of a good friend just outside Antwerp. It was the last stop of 7 weeks and I was really looking forward to soon getting my clothes from a drawer in the mornings rather than out of a bag.
There have been so many incredible highs, but it's the real world and there have been a couple of lows, but luckily less than a handful which over 7 weeks is probably better than UK life. Stockholm was the hardest leg of the trip, but I think that just confirms that I'm a country girl at heart.
On the other hand, crossing the Arctic Circle, the cabins over the sea, sitting in the sunshine in southern Norway, the fjords, playing in the snow in September, eating blueberries from the bushes in Swedish forests, well, the list is endless, but needless to say there are more than enough fantastic memories to keep me going for a very long time.
On my last morning I was sitting at breakfast looking through photos on my camera and tears came to my eyes. Every now and again it hits me as to what I've actually achieved, on my own, and I'm pretty damned proud of myself. There was nothing that I failed to arrange or bring from the UK and despite all the different places we stayed, I didn't lose anything (much to Barnaby's amazement, as after experiencing just 2 moves, he couldn't believe that things didn't get left behind) and I didn't over spend tooooo much :-)
Most importantly, I can honestly say that there isn't a single "if only...." from the whole trip. It's true that I never got Lexi in a kayak and I didn't climb Galdhopiggen, but there were reasons for this and choices I made so I'm returning home with no regrets about anything I missed or didn't do.
What I did do is travel 4,600 miles, spent over 100 hours driving, 32 hours on 18 ferries and stayed in 26 different places.
We've stayed in tents, huts, cabins on stilts, youth hostels, a cruise ship, manor house, pilgrims retreat, hotels and motels. We've stayed at ski resorts, on working farms, in cities and fields and finally in a very comfortable house in Belgium....phew, I am glad to be home, but what a truly fantastic time I've had.
It was exactly what I had hoped for, a trip of a lifetime.