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Break time: two weeks in Europe

Being back in Europe for almost two weeks in the middle of a huge trip is very weird. But I really wanted to go to Anne and Alex wedding and I had some paper work/visa problems that needed some attention. It also was a good break where I could think through if I really want to do this trip. While driving i have loads of time to think about everything in my live and solutions to all world problems but I couldn’t really objectively decide if I really like this trip. Well good news… while in Europe i was really missing the van and the road and I can’t wait to get back to Alaska for the next stretch.

The way back to Europe had many ways of transport: car to Anchorage airport (thanks for the ride Glen!), fly to Iceland, wait one hour, fly to Brussels, train to Hasselt, where my parents picked me up to drive to the Ardennes the wedding.

Highlights of the three day wedding:

  • Deciding not to do the whole jet lag thing and only go to sleep after a BBQ, campfire and being awake for 30 hours straight (I tried one beer, bad idea: no beers if you skip jet lags).
  • Conclusion that Tessa and I are terrible at pub sports: table soccer was won by the person with the least own goals, pool by the person who didn’t accidentally finish the black ball and darts by the person who actually managed to hit the board at all.
  • Carrying the bride in her fancy dress across some barbed wire in the middle of the night because the photographer wanted to take a cool picture.
  • Hunting for crashed Thai lampoons to make sure they didn’t burn down the neighbor’s house (I found one behind barbed wire, an electric fence and some evil stinging nettles, lucky me!)
  • Sunday afternoon adventure trail climbing rocks and zip lines in the pouring rain.

The rest of the week was spend organizing things:

  • new passport
  • international driver’s licence
  • vaccinations
  • camera lens
  • contacts
  • haircut
  • updating budget an plans (I might have added another month and 7000km to my trip)
  • website update (better photo sections, mailing list and a bunch of behind the scenes changes)

The rest of the time I spend meeting up with friends: beers with Arjan, BBQ with my old-old water polo club, sitting in the sun drinking beer and eating Dutch deep fried food with Jeroen, lunch with Tessa and Egbert, dinner with Maarten and finally Sjoukje dropped me off at the airport. Plus my Zurich friends send me a great early birthday present. A toilet bag in the shape of a VW van filled with chocolate and a make-your-own bumper sticker kit (very fitting suggestions include: ” I’m only speeding because I really need to poop” and “it’s not the road, it’s the driver”)

I flew back to Anchorage via Iceland where all flights were delayed until 1730 (after the Iceland match in the Euro cup). I actually got to Anchorage the same day, half an hour earlier than leaving Iceland. I crossed 10 time zones and it was light for a way to long time. So I was slightly confused. Now it was time for the moment of truth at the US customs: would I have to drive to Mexico in two weeks or would I get a new 90 days? The lady stamped my passport… I was all sad: 22nd of June…. I’ll have to hurry. But wait, it’s the 22nd today! That’s the from date, the until date says end of September! YEAH!! I get to travel another 90 days. Glen picked me up at the airport and when we got to his place (and my van), Amanda had just fired up the grill. Perfect!

A big thanks to Glen and Amanda for letting me stay at your place, letting me leave my van at your place while I was in Europe, all the rides and all the food!

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Me flying between the trees the day after the wedding. (Photo: Anne Troost-Backhuijs AKA the Bride)

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