What a trip

This vacation started with an already booked cycling vacation in the Czech Republic. It grew and grew. It was became nearly SEVEN weeks. Wow.

It started out with a little hiccup. I had badly scratched my eye, and wasn't really able to tour much of Cape Town because my eyes were too light sensitive. I still had a nice time, actually. 

Then came the massive freak-out about the yoga trip, followed by a beautiful three hour drive to Swendellam, with a very lovely lady.

Then came the massive coughing/sickfest, which totally sucked. Yet, I still feel it was exactly what I needed. I needed sleep, and rest, and good, healthy food. And maybe someone to take care if me, which I had plenty of. I guess there was a bad cough going around the other expats in Madagascar, so maybe it was something I picked up before I left, we'll never know. 
(I love how my grey face matches my grey shirt).

Prague remains one of my most favourite times. Even though I was alone and sick or trying to rest a lot of the time, I just lived it there. From my mini -apartment, to me getting lost ninety times a day, I felt like I could almost breathe better there. I want to go back again soon!!

I can't even describe the cycling trip in the Czech Republic. Seeing so many different areas, having an amazing guide, staying in restored 11th or 13th century restored chateaus monasteries, it was unbelievable. I was still under the weather a few days, but even that couldn't take away from what an amazing time it was. There was also something else that I discovered (and liked!) about myself. I don't need to push myself as much. The last bike tour along with training or running, I've proved it to myself that with proper training and a bit of stubbornness, I can do anything. Before I left my runs or workouts have been less intense but I've been enjoying them so much more! So maybe I'm the slowest runner on the island of Madagascar. I feel great after my runs. Same thing with this bike trip. I pushed myself, but not too much. I just went how I went. The last bike trip? Granted it was with a more serious biking crowd, but I busted my freaking ass off!!! I was still plenty tired after the cycling trip, but I never felt inadequate like I did on the last trip. (Hellllloooooo, maybe I'm learning how to be a but nicer to myself?!?). I can't go on about how fantastic my (pretend long-lost cousin) guide was. 

Berlin was a bit if a letdown. It could have been due to my sheer exhaustion, but it just wasn't my city. 

Istanbul....oohhhhhh, Istanbul. What an experience. Firstly, I was over the moon to spend time with my two very dear friends, who I already missed so much. I remember the surprise I felt when I burst into tears when I saw them. I still get kind of teary when I think about it (I also didn't sleep much last night).

I had a hotel snafu, which worked out to be a funny story. I enjoyed the city, but wished I would have continued on with my friends to Cappadoccia. The one thing that was a huge turn off was the attention from men, especially when I made efforts to make sure I was appropriately covered. 
(I love this picture)

But the disconfort I felt was nothing compared to my next destination. Stuck in the airport without a visa (and unsure if I would get one) was a highlight. There's a lot of old history that I thought was resolved and over and done with. The details are meaningless, but I had a hard time staying positive during my visit. It's not anyone's fault, it's just the way things are. But sometimes reality bites. Do I need a quote reference on that last sentence? :P

Luxembourg/Strasbourg/Black Forest was just what I needed! It was a nice road trip, nice time spent with friends, but I think that one full week is a long time to ask of someone to stay with them, especially since I had just met my friend's wife for the first time. Thankfully they're cool and put up with my antics and rambling. :)

So now I'm on my way home. Was it worth it? Spending a CHUNK of savings while I don't have a job? Missing Louis? 

Hells yah. 

The laughs outweighed the tears by 100,000,000,000 (I know it's hard to believe with all the crying that went on). I've never done anything like this, it's unlikely that I'll be able to do it again, and while I didn't love every minute, I loved this trip so much. I'm sad it's over, I'm nervous to go back to Canada, but happy to start the next chapter. (And post some trip pictures!)

Thank you to everyone I met along the way, or let me crash at their place, or met up with me. This trip is worth taking the painstaking effort of doing an online scrapbook so I can look at it year after year.