I cant believe it is all over. 7 months / 29 weeks / 206 days, 2 iPhones and 0 haircuts later, our once in a lifetime gap year has finally come to an end. Throughout the trip there were points where I could not stand to be away from home, and dreamed for this day to come. But now that it is finally here its weird to think that it is nothing more than a memory and all we have left of it are some toys we collected, hundreds of friendships and a couple thousand photos. I am excited that this is the last blog that I have to write. Ill be honest writing 80 of these things wasn't the most enjoyable part of the trip. However it is a bit scary to think that this is the last time, at least for a little while, that I will have something amazing to write about.
Amazing seems like a bit of an understatement when trying to describe this trip. We crossed 2 continents, 22 countries and 57 cities all by ourselves. Due to terrible forward thinking and spontaneity we ended up going across Europe 6 times and up and down it about the same. We really did go to some extremes, feeling the 45-degree heat in Israel and freezing our asses off 22 degrees below zero in the Arctic Circle. We ventured up mountains 3000m in the air and plunged down to the dead sea which was 500m below sea level. We entered cities millions of people big and went to Islands that had little more than a dozen living there. I'm sure I could think of a better word than amazing but lets see what I come up with as I finally sum up this trip.
We started off in Korea, a short but luxurious stopover where we kicked back in our hotel and lived the last life of luxury we would have for a long time.
Israel, the first real destination was filled with everything we could imagine. Ranging from parties in the streets, hikes up mountains, seeing family we hadn't seen in ages and an unforgettable orange boat.
Our first step in Europe was Greece where we partied hard, island hopping between Mykonos, Ios and Santorini, the places where beaches and sunset watching were invented.
France was where the touring really started, with us hitting every tourist attraction possible and still having time to meet people as we stayed in our first hostels.
Monaco was just a day trip but I could have lived there forever. With the fast cars, pretty ladies and one hell of a casino, that night will never be forgotten.
Portugal, a country that started out slow ended up being incredible. The city of Lagos previously unknown to us, is now a must visit every time we go back to Europe.
Spain, one of our larger countries was filled with so much. From throwing tomatoes at La Tomatina to cheering on world famous players at Camp Nou in Barcelona to eating our best meal on this trip in San Sebastian, this country certainly had it all.
We moved into the Netherlands that was eye opening for us all. Between the coffee shops, the red light district and a certain day in a park we learnt a lot about the world in Amsterdam.
Germany brought with it my favourtie city of the trip, Berlin, as well as the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich. This country was extraordinary having such a modern side to it as well as so much history everywhere you look.
Prague in the Czech Republic definitely lived up to expectation. The bone chapel absolutely blew our minds and the city itself was absolutely gorgeous.
We never thought we would ever make it to Slovakia and put it down solely as a joke from a movie. However after a change of plans we made it to Bratislava, making for some good relax time as we headed out into nature.
Hungary was a good all rounder showing us amazing nightlife, a fantastic hostel, awesome activities and some really cool people to do them with.
In Austria we really got into our sightseeing again, exploring something new everyday. We went to the most amazing palace in the world and got lost in their giant labyrinth outside.
Italy was a country where we unfortunately lost two friends. That's not to say we didn't farewell them with a bang. We explored this country from top to bottom meeting some old friends along the way. It was yet another country that had it all and I will definitely be back there soon.
Poland was our first unplanned country, as after Italy we had no idea where to go. It turned out to be one crazy place with Warsaw having so much for us to do in the day and Krakow being the nightlife capital of Eastern Europe.
Latvia was our adventure country with us being able to try things we never have tried and may never try again. Between firing Ak47s at a gun range and riding bobsleds down one of a handful of courses in the world, we really got the adrenaline pumping.
We always knew we would do something fun in Sweden but weren't really sure what. We ended up doing three days in the Arctic circle, dogsledding, ice fishing, exploring the ice hotel and seeing the Northern lights. In my opinion we ticked that one off pretty well.
From there to Denmark, probably the most expensive country we went to the entire trip. With $13 Maccas meals setting the price range for everything, we did very little that wasn't free still trying to recover money we had splurged on dogsledding.
With Belgium we stepped back into somewhat normal temperatures and headed to both Bruges and Brussels cities i had been dying to get to. With incredible food, beautiful landmarks and a whole bunch of Colin Farrell quotes Bruges did not disappoint. Brussels was a bit boring to start but after running into both a beer fest on wheels and a massive riot things really did pick up.
The first and only country we did head back into was Austria and it was to do something we had dreamed of since we left home, Snowboard in the Alps. 5 amazing days of the best snow i had ever seen wrapped up mainland Europe on a fantastic note.
England or more specifically London was our final stop in Europe. It had absolutely everything we needed and wanted and was just like being at a home away from home. Nightlife, friends, sightseeing, culture and shopping were but a few things that made this city great.
Thailand, our two-week stopover on the way home, was the actual holiday part of the trip. Beach and pool every day, clubs and pubs every night. You think you would sick of it but after 6 hard months on the road it was exactly what we needed.
Now getting between on these wonderful places was easier said than done. We ended up catching 12 planes ranging from $50 hour Ryan Air flights to $1000 12 hour Korean Air flights. Trains were a big part of getting around too with us using a solid 22. Sometimes we slept in the baggage hold, sometimes we snuck into the sleeper cabins, all that we know is that we never managed to get kicked off. Buses were probably the slowest way of getting around but were always the cheapest. As such we took a nice 17, ranging from hour city hoppers, to 20 hour continent crossers. Of course we had to cross the sea at times which was generally an unpleasant journey. Whilst we did get spoilt in some massive cruise liners crossing places like the Baltic Sea, at other times we were crammed into well overloaded Thai ferries and were just praying that we got there.
I know you are all sick of me talking about food and so i promise this is the last time. Over the course of the seven months we have probably eaten the best food we have ever had as well as the worst. We ate countless Maccas meals, late night Kebabs and cans of tuna when other sources of food were scarce. On the flip side we also ate at some of the fanciest places we have ever been to, going to a $50 dollar a head restaurant in San Sebastian and splurging on meals in Milan as we farewelled both Zac and Aidan. We also ate plenty of new foods throughout the trip as we attempted to immerse ourselves in the culture. Frogs, Snails, Gyros, Paella, Portuguese Tarts, Stroopwaffle, Kraut, Biffy, Moose, Reindeer, Chipsy King and Weiner Schnitzel were but a few of the new foods we exposed our delicate tastes buds. Most times we liked what we ate usually asking for seconds. However, there were those other times that we actually could not handle the food and simply refused to eat it.
Over the course of the trip there were those times where we were sick, hungry and cold, wishing for nothing more than home. However, thank god there were more days where we would be chilling on the beach, with a mojito in hand hoping the day would never end. There were of course many laughs, fights, hugs and arguments but most of all there we had loads of fun. I want to thank the boys for making it one unreal journey that I will certainly never forget. It would not have been the same without any of you and we will definitely do it again. I also want to thank everyone who read my crazy ramblings that definitely dragged on times. You and your comments are 100% the reason I made to the final blog and I hope you enjoyed coming along this wild ride with me.
I will definitely be back to Europe at some point in my life but currently I miss you all too much to continue. I will hopefully see you all very soon... well that is if you want to hear the stories that didn't that make it into the blog...
Signing off for the final time
You one and only,