Seda: We took the only available route from New Zealand at present and flew home via Los Angeles on Thursday which meant we have travelled a full circle around the world, returning home 4 days short of a full year.
The good news is it is great to be finally home. The bad news is these flights cost us twice what they would have normally. The British High Commissioner in NZ is not on our Christmas card list after all the constant unhelpful and misleading information we received from them!
Andy: We received daily emails updating us on the situation from the British High Commissioner in New Zealand. At first they were very helpful and put at at ease knowing others were in he same boat and that we weren’t forgotten. However, after a while they quickly showed their ineptitude with contradictory information which ended up costing us thousands of pounds. I feel an official complaint coming on!
Seda: It’s fun to start from the UK and reach the furthest point by hopping from country to country. However, it suddenly doesn’t seem that much fun when we have to get back from that furthest point to home. The journey, door to door, took 39 hours! Add to that the people who didn’t care about social distancing, the authorities that cared even less by providing sardine style tight queues at customs and we found ourselves not enjoying the journey very much. Oh and of course British Airways who not only charged us double and stuffed us in economy with total strangers sitting next to us, but also made a corporate decision not to offer proper meals or alcohol on a 12 hour flight. Great!
Thankfully, arriving in London we weren’t as tired as we thought we’d be. Still, they didn’t make finding our little hire car easy! Walk here, take a lift there, up the steps, down the steps, bus to this terminal, walk to that building, through that tunnel and 2 miles down that path!
Andy: We thought about taking the train home from London to Warwick, but really didn’t fancy taking the underground from Heathrow to Marylebone in central London. So, hiring a car seemed a good option and comparable in price too.
We have had a truly amazing year, but there’s nothing quite like arriving back home. It felt awesome to open that door and feel that familiarity once again. The feel of your own sofa and of course bed is second to none.
Seda: Since our return home journey was “essential travel” the car hire option was probably the safest for us and worked really well. As we arrived at our local shop to get some essentials, we were pleasantly surprised to see our local fish and chips shop open…yippie! This is what I call a nice welcome!
I have to admit that I thought it would take a while to warm up to our house again but I was wrong. As soon as we walked in, that familiar vanilla scent made me feel at home. Almost everything was as we left it. With all honesty, we were totally “back home” by the time we had our coffees.
The rest was just about looking around and laughing at the funny things we’ve found…like this coffee at the bottom of the coffee jar…
Andy: …and who knew we lived in the middle of a National Park?! I think we’ve got our work cut out here.
So, we are back home now safe and sound, but there are a couple of things we would like to write about in the coming days. Firstly will be our overall impressions of New Zealand, and we will compile some traveller tips for any of you budding backpackers out there.