It is over a month now since we left the USA and flew to Hong Kong and then back to the UK. We have been briefly to both Berlin and Lanzarote since then and have travelled across England from London to Burnley and stopped over in North Wales for a night. It has all been a whirlwind and a hard transition; going from living like vagabonds, wild and free to assimilating back into a normal life. It is great to be able to catch up with so many people and also to rest. I only realised after the trip was over, just how exhausting it was.Our trusty steed Silver arrived back yesterday, having been on a ship for a few weeks and so it seemed the right time to conclude the blog; charge up the camera to retrieve the last few photos and draw a line, very regrettably under the whole thing.
We did not lose momentum during the last 10 days, we hung on to every last minute. We dipped into South Carolin and then North Carolina, spending a night in Asheville. A hip city that seemed very liveable. We stayed in a cute Airbnb and sat out on the porch in true southern style listening to the cicadas and enjoying the warm evening air.The Great Smoky Mountains are the oldest mountains in the world and they are stunningly green. It was sad to leave them.We managed a last night of camping at another stunning lake.
Then we headed to Savannah, Georgia. What a great place this is. The residential architecture is very unique and in many places quite run down but there is loads of atmosphere and the people are very friendly. We stayed in another cool Airbnb.
The city was astonishing though in that is was so reminiscent of London. I felt the historical presence of the British more than I have anywhere in the USA
We spent a couple of hours in the evening wandering around the stunning squares of amazing architecture against a backdrop of oak trees dripping with moss.We then move onto Jacksonville, Florida for a couple of nights. The city is nothing special but we had tickets to see one of our heroes, comedian and political commentator Bill Maher. It was great to see him in the flesh. We then headed to New Orleans. We had hoped to arrive there earlier and spend more time but we had spent so much time in the Deep South dodging thunder storms and time ran out. However, we spent one night and saw a fair bit as well as enjoying 2 or 3 bars.New Orleans is extraordinary and is a place I would like to return. The buildings in the centre are stunning and the place has a party atmosphere, even on a Monday night.What I liked more though was the residential area where we stayed, about 15 minutes walk from the French Quarter. The streets are lined with shotgun shacks, painted in bright colours and there are plenty of cool bars and cafes to sit outside.
The roads are full of potholes and the place has a shabby feeling (it is not that safe late at night) but the atmosphere is unforgettable.
And so we set off for our last, long ride from New Orleans to Houston-about 350 miles. We stopped at our last Starbucks. We must have frequented more Starbucks across the USA than anyone else over the last 10 months. We have enjoyed their free WiFi and English Breakfast Tea and they have always been a port in a storm-sometimes literally.
Houston is a massive city. It felt quite overwhelming.We made it to our accommodation safely, feeling very relieved.
We had booked an apartment for 4 nights where we could have easy access to shopping malls and hairdressers to enable us to transition into school teachers for the visit to Hong Kong.We rode Silver to the warehouse and waved him goodbye.And so it was over. 28,000 miles, 10 months, 9 countries. A trip of a lifetime. I will blog a final summary in the next couple of days and will save my closing comments for then.