IT IS FINISHED!!!
It is over - it is done....
Das ist beenden!
And every other way of saying, "I have reached journey's end!"
17,096km later, 10,685 miles - from Hong Kong to Great Massingham in the UK - from my brother's house to my parents' place - from the East to the West - 8 time zones & two continents - 20 countries - across Eurasia by bike.
Reunited with my mother...!
At 5.20pm (BST) on Saturday October 22nd, 2011 precisely, I pulled round the corner into my parents' farmyard, into the welcoming arms of close friends and family, and into the open jaws of my parents' big dog.
(Ironically the only dog in Europe or Asia that launched a successful attack on me! Naughty Banjo...)
But no matter - it's been an unbelievable adventure. When I read back over what I was thinking and hoping for when I set out from my brother's house on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong just over a year ago, this journey has satisfied everything and more.
The last days across north-western Europe, through the woods and vineyards of Germany and France, over the rolling fields and valleys of the Luxembourg Ardennes, to the flat lowlands of Belgium and Holland, I was feeling sad that it was all coming to an end. Like reaching the end of a good book, or a movie you are enjoying so much you just don't want it to end, I felt the same about this journey.
But then when I reached the ferry at the Hook of Holland, the triumphant music started playing in my head. I had reached my goal - and what a feeling!
The North Sea crossing was serene - a rich red sunset spread a massive wall of fire behind the darkening silhouette of the shores of my homeland, and I felt truly satisfied.
My last two days' ride across East Anglia to Cambridge and then north to Norfolk were filled with the warm sensation of greeting an old friend. England......there are more beautiful countries, there may be more hospitable countries, but it is, after all, my home.
Here's a video showing you the final moments before my arrival....
I am delighted to be home, to have completed this massive undertaking, and now to rest. (at least for a bit)
We are still collecting donations for both Wellspring International and for the Harry Mahon Cancer Research Trust. If you haven't given already, please consider making a donation in support of either project. You can donate towards the Bombay Teen Challenge project here (select the "Theo Brun Scholarship"); or contribute towards the purchase of a piece of hi-tec kit called a Nanostring (don't ask me what it does!) for the cancer research team in Oxford here.
My travel notes and photos are languishing somewhere back in Slovakia but I will finish them off as soon as I can - and intend to turn the whole thing into a single volume (and highly readable and entertaining!) book. Stay tuned for all this.
Meanwhile I'll leave you with this quote from Rudyard Kipling:
God gave all men all earth to love,
But since our hearts are small,
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Beloved over all.
For me, Norfolk. :-)
Thanks for following my journey.....
A happy ending...
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