End of the odyssey

So we finally made it home to Oxford. There’s nothing like flying in from São Paulo to make the air at Heathrow seem clean and the M25 seem civilized. We seem to have been lucky with the weather too – it’s been sunny and warm since we got back. It’s taken a while to get used to being home – we’ve been travelling so long that it just felt like just somewhere else to stay at first. The girls complained that it “didn’t feel like home”. But I think we’ve settled in now.

Since we gave some lessons learnt at the halfway point, I thought I should come up with some more. So here goes:

  1. If we were planning this trip with the benefit of hindsight, we probably would have done it in reverse, with South America first. Travelling is more work there, especially with the language barrier, so it would have made sense to have tackled that straight away. By the last few weeks of the trip we (and especially the girls) were running out of steam a little, meaning we didn’t see quite as many things as we might.
  2. Don’t rely on hotel internet connections being any good. Just because they provide one doesn’t mean it’ll be cheap, fast or reliable.
  3. Take one of these pegless washing lines – invaluable.
  4. Don’t carry a monopod in your hand luggage. It can look like a telescopic baton as used by police. I was told at Rio’s Santos Dumont airport that I couldn’t take it on the plane. Luckily they let me go back out of security to check it into the hold. I can imagine if that happened in the UK it would be a case of “tough luck, mate”.
  5. Your children may be more concerned about how fashionable they look when travelling than you are. You might need to supplement their wardrobe as you go, just for your own sanity.
  6. The BA in-flight map thinks that the translation of “Aberystwyth” into Spanish is “Alberto Lea”. Not sure if that’s some kind of in-joke or what.

All I have to do now is process the gigabytes of photos into some sort of sensible shape. This may take some time! Thanks for following along on the journey…

Relaxation Time

Imbassai, a small village on the Coconut Coast, about an hour north of Salvador in Bahia. The last destination before flying to São Paulo to pick up our flight to the UK. Warm sunshine, a Pousada set in gorgeous tropical gardens with its own pool and only 10 minutes stroll to a golden sanded beach backed by a line of coconut palms. What did we do? We chilled. The girls spent every hour they could in the water. They were not fans of our enforcement of the no sun exposure between 11.30 and 3pm rule!

We all enjoyed the delights of dozing in a hammock, watching the monkeys playing in the trees.

Slightly less fun were the biting insects at dusk. We managed to get nibbled despite long trousers and shirts, repellents and bed nets. Thankfully there was no health risk, just nuisance value, but it did make me appreciate that bite avoidance tactics are not infallible.

We dined out at the local restaurant, then walked home in the darkness, serenaded by the chorus of frogs in the nearby river.