It’s all over. We’re back in England, but it is the strangest return. On one level it feels just like a homecoming, but actually we’ve come back only to say goodbye. We’re only here for a few days, and at the weekend we leave for our new home in Jersey.
So before all my thoughts turn to Jersey, here are some thoughts looking back on the Big Trip. I’m going to start with the best places in which we stayed, and do some more posts over the next few days about some of the other highlights.
Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
The house over the beach on this small Thai island was all that you could ask for from an Airbnb. Even though it was built out over a muddy, mangrove bay, and therefore not really a swimming beach, it was a sublime spot. I never got tired of the view from the verandah, looking out to sea.
In the morning the water was mirror flat, creeping over the mud until you could see it through the gaps in the floorboards.
In the evenings it was breezy, but a welcome breeze in the heat. We kept all the doors open, the curtains billowed, we could lie outside on the balcony – it was a place to genuinely relax.
The Sacred Valley, Peru
This was a wonderfully stylish and characterful Airbnb. Outside a cactus grew through a hole cut in the verandah roof.
Inside a huge boulder was embedded in the shower floor and wall – perfect for sitting on. It was a bit chilly in the evenings (we were there in winter), and the tiny electric fire didn’t do much to heat it up, but it didn’t matter.
The gallery bedroom was cosy, the boys had their own beds downstairs. Outside, the lane that went past the house turned out to be the ancient Inca road up the valley. Nearby the river swept by, and in the afternoon the wind roared through the tree tops.
On top of all that, the owners (who lived in an adjacent property) had two dogs, that the boys fell in love with.
The Bicycle Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
Kate booked this as a special treat for my birthday, and it really was special.
From the outside it appeared tiny, but inside the rooms were big – in fact, we had something more like an apartment than a room.
Steps led up to the boys bedroom, which had a very low ceiling, and would certainly fail health and safety in a developed country.
The shower was a corridor that led out to a tiny courtyard, surrounded by mighty walls that were high enough to provide privacy for a large outdoors bath.
The bed was vast, and there were little nooks and crannies that all added up to a beautiful place to come “home” to at the end of the day. Expensive though.