By Anne-Marie & Cate

Floating on the South China Sea

Well it’s almost over, 3 months, 11 countries and 5 time zones later we’re heading home tomorrow.  We’ve been talking about our favourite places, and not so favourite places, advice we might have for friends and families and places we would go back to.  We thought we’d finish up our travel blog with some reminiscing and a slide show of some favourite pictures and places. You have heard our kids favourites and their final thoughts. Very inspiring!

Beware: train thieves in Brussels, cow piles, big old monkeys, and biking in countries that advertise windmills.

Memorable Moments:

Touching the Berlin Wall, feeling the solemnity and infinity of the Jewish Memorial in Berlin, Fred finding us another lovely lane to ride on with the wind at our back (Netherlands), laughing with the Aussies (we will come to visit), seeing original Vincent Van Gogh paintings(Amsterdam, Paris and Rome), walking down a regular street in Rome rounding the corner to see the Colisseum – right there on the street like any old building,

Colliseum in Rome

everything in Venice, most surprisingly Peggy Gugenheim’s house, views from the Arc de Triomphe, Paris street living, ramparts in Ypres (Belgium)and Lucca (Italy), view of laundry in windows, the piazza and the sea from our hotel window in Vernazza, Leonardo and the Sistine Chapel, coffee in Rome, Luang Prabang and Saigon, the colour of the Mediterranean Sea in Cirali (Turkey), markets, day markets, night markets, grand bazaars and festival markets, real desert sand dunes (Qatar), cows on the street, life on the Ganges River (Varanasi), monkeys, the truly lovely Taj Mahal, crying over curries (India, where else), wall to wall people at the boat festival market in Vientiane (Laos) with no one grabbing, or even caring that we are there, the morning almsgiving to monks in Luang Prabang, marching in the festival parade in front of the rambunctious crowd

Monks receiving alms in the rain, Luang Prabang

following, kids swinging from the rope over the waterfalls (Laos), celebrating our 20th anniversary at Restaurant L’ Elephante in Siem Reap, the grandness of the faces of Bayon Temple and the haunting air at Ta Prohm, familiar and fun Saigon, and finally early morning walks on the beach at Mui Ne (Vietnam). Wonderful, helpful, smiling and welcoming people from all over the world. Laotians were especially warm and welcoming and Cambodian’s stories and resilience, especially moving.

Favourite travel tips: take dukoral before going – only one sick day over whole trip!, lock packs to each other or to train baggage racks, trust internet bookings – even something called cheapotickets.com, and pick hotels which rate in the 90’s from Trip Advisor. Lots of others if you need advice or ideas.

Thanks to our support team back home – Michelle, Maggie, Amy, Adam, Chantal, Christine, Nina and David. Thanks to Sylvia for taking us and our bags to the first ferry ride and for arranging for a pick-up – thanks in advance Charlie. Thanks to Sheila for offering to fly anywhere if we end up in jail. (We didn’t need it, in case you were wondering) Thanks to all who made recommendations – we tried to do everything you suggested, just because you did. Thanks for our Dutch dinner Marco and Petra. Thanks to our Doha hosts Tara, Stuart and Craig. Thanks to Christine and Chantal for sharing our lovely time in Cinque Terre. Thanks for the shared chats and laughs with new friends and the reply posts and emails from old.

Biggest thanks from Cate and I to our two fabulous teenagers Hesquiat and Bow for traveling the world with their parents, for encouraging us to laugh and have fun, and for all your inspirations and insights into a world seen through the eyes of a 15/16 year old and a 17 year old. We love you tons, you are both amazing people!

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