I have had these statistics done for almost a year now – initially couldn’t bring myself to look at them due to being so busy trying to sort out a new/old life back home in Whitfield, a new car, back to work in my clinic and the kids went straight back to school – then I forgot about them for a while – until today which is exactly a year since we came home. When we first arrived home we went to Sandy’s parents home in Somers by the beach. Today when I was sitting at the Somers store, contemplating the sea over my cappuccino, I suddenly remembered this list of statistics that were about our trip a year ago today. I instantly got excited and here they are:
Kunming – Dali, Xian – Beijing, Beijing – Ulanbaatar, Ulanbaatar – Irkutsk, Irkutsk – Omsk, Omsk – Ekaterinburg, Ekaterinburg – St Petersburg, St. Petersburg – Moscow, Moscow – Odessa, Odessa – Chisinau, Chisinau – Bucharest, Thessaloniki – Florina, Florina – Thessaloniki, Tangier – Marrakech, Marrakech – Casablanca, Milano – Venice, Venice – Rome, Florina – Thessaloniki, Paris – London, London – Brussels, Duerne – Amsterdam – Duerne, Ollantaytambo – Agues Calientes – Ollantaytambo
NUMBER OF OVERNIGHTS IN TRAINS – 13 nights
NUMBER OF TRAIN HOURS – 231 hours
NUMBER OF PLANE TRIPS – 29 (Darwin – Cairns, Cairns – Darwin, Darwin – Singapore, Singapore – Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur – Kunming, Lijiang – Xian, Thessaloniki – Heraklion, Heraklion – Athens, Athens – Madrid, Casablanca – Milan, Rome – Athens, Thessaloniki – Heraklion, Heraklion – Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki – Athens, Athens – Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv – Athens, Athens – Heraklion, Heraklion – Paris, Brussels – Reykavich, Reykavich – Toronto, Houston – Miami, Miami – Lima, Lima – Cusco – Puerto Maldonado, Juliaca – Lima, Lima – Miami, Miami – Houston, Los Angeles – Brisbane, Brisbane – Melbourne)
NUMBER OF PLANE HOURS – 81 hours
NUMBER OF BUS TRIPS – 20 (Beijing – Great Wall, Great Wall – Beijing, Irkutsk – Lake Baikal, Lake Baikal – Irkutsk, Ruse – Stara Zagora – Plovdiv, Plovdiv – Thessaloniki, Agios Nikolaos – Heraklion, Chiclana – Cadiz – Chiclana, Chiclana – Tarifa, Athens – Florina, Agios Nikolaos – Heralkion – Agios Nikolaos, Agios Nikolaos – Heraklion, Toronto – Chicago, Puerto Maldonado – Cusco, Cusco – Puno, Lima – Chincha – Lima
NUMBER OF BUS HOURS – 74
DIFFERENT METRO SYSTEMS – 9
NUMBER OF TAXIS – 38
NUMBER OF HIRE CARS – 27
NUMBER OF TUKTUKS- 5
AIRPORT BUSES – 3
DOUBLE DECKER BUS TOURS – 1 (Rome – normally too expensive but they gave us all kids for free and it was a great way to see Rome in a short time)
TOUR MINIVANS – 5
BORROWED CARS – 2
NUMBER OF BOAT TRIPS – 12 (Lake Baikal, Lake Baikal fishing trip, Santorini – Volcano – Thirassi, Spinalonga Island, Ios, Lake Huron (Flowerpot Island), Lake Michigan x2, Puno – Uros- Amantani – Taquile – Puno
KAYAKS – 3
LOCH TRANSFERS – 2
MOST FORMS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN ONE DAY – 5 (taxi, train, local bus, plane, minivan)
NUMBER OF CONTINENTS – 6
NUMBER OF COUNTRIES – 27 (we count Tibet, Transnistria & Palestine as real countries!)
NUMBER OF U.S. STATES – 28
NORTH AMERICA ROAD TRIP in our Georgeous Chevrolet Venture:
Chicago – St Louis – Kansas City – St Louis – Chicago – Warrens WI – Eau Claire – Warrens WI – Lake Forest – Chicago – Toronto – Little Britain – Peterborough – Little Britain – Lake Simcoe – Algonquin Lake – Aurora – Missisauga – Toronto – Little Britain – Utica NY – Bloomfield NJ – New York City – Bloomfield NJ – Greenville DL – Washington DC – Greenville DL – Nashville – Memphis – Little Rock – Feyettville – Houston – College Station – Houston – College Station – Houston – De Leon – Kansas City – Sioux Falls – Badlands NP – Billings – Portland – Redwood NP – San Francisco – Los Padres National Forest – Barstow Truck stop – Grand Canyon NP – San Diego – Los Angeles
NUMBER OF DIFFERENT TIME ZONES – 19
NUMBER OF ZOOS – 15 (Adelaide zoo, Perth zoo, Darwin wildlife park, Cairns tropical zoo, Singapore Zoo, Xian Panda Rescue centre, Ekaterinburg butterfly park and zoo, St Petersburg Zoopark, Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, Nymfaio Bear rescue centre, Toronto Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Peterborough Free Zoo, Lima Zoo
NUMBER OF WATER PARKS – 4 (Darwin, St. Petersburg, Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Hersonissos (Crete))
NUMBER OF GORGES – 3 – Kritsa, AgioFarango, Samaria (all in Crete – the land of stunning gorges)
LONGEST HIKE IN ONE DAY – 18kms in Samaria Gorge, Crete
NUMBER OF DIFFERENT OCEANS/SEAS SWUM IN – Western Port Bay, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, Coral Sea, Black Sea, Cretan Sea (on the north side of Crete), Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Libyan Sea (on the south side of Crete), Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, South Pacific Ocean (Peru), North Pacific Ocean (California)
NUMBER OF DUTCH SAUNAS – 1 – Sandy and I took turns and went separately – sublime experience! (Added at the request of Sandy even though this is supposed to be ‘whole family’ experiences – she’s the boss.)
LAKES – Lake Baikal, Heische Tip (Uden – Holland), Duerne Lake (Holland) Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, Lake Michigan, Lake Simcoe, Little Hawk Lake, Kamigaga Lake, , Lake Titicaca
RIVERS – Yangtze, Seine, Chicago River, Tambopata River (Amazon Jungle)
THEME PARKS – 1 LEGO LAND (Windsor)
HIGHEST ALTITUDE – 4,200m (went up by chair lift from Dali in Yunnan, China for a few hours), 3840m Puno – Lake Titicaca (for a few days), 4140m (walk up highest point of Amantani Island ( Lake Titicaca) to watch the sunset)
LOWEST ALTITUDE – 427m below Sea level – Dead Sea
NUMBER OF Kms TRAVELLED BY OUR CAR IN OZ – 10156km
NUMBER OF Kms TRAVELLED BY OUR CAR IN USA – 12030 miles (19360Km)
TOTAL NUMBER OF AIR KMS – 54,466 Kms
TOTAL NUMBER OF LAND KMS – 50,181 Kms
TOTAL NUMBER OF SEA KMS – 650 Kms
TOTAL NUMBER OF DAYS – 583
NUMBER OF HOSTELS – 7
NUMBER OF GUEST HOUSES – 12
NUMBER OF AIRBNB APARTMENTS/HOUSES – 8
NUMBER OF HOTELS – 5
NUMBER OF HOME STAYS- 3
Number of SERVAS – COUCHSURFING STAYS – 13
FRIENDS/RELATIVES HOMES – 32
NUMBER OF DIFFERENT BEDS – 96
HIGHEST COST OF ACCOMMODATION – $291 per night for a small apartment in Venice (slept 8 of us) followed by $125 per night for 2 apartments in Granada, Spain, followed by $100/ night for a 6 bed dorm in a small hostel in Irkutsk, Russia
LOWEST COST OF ACCOMMODATION – (other than free) – $35 per night for a whole apt in Cusco Peru followed by $42/night for two rooms in a Kunming guesthouse, China
TOTAL AMOUNT SPENT ON ACCOMMODATION IN 3mths IN NORTH AMERICA – $72 for two nights of camping permits in the Grand Canyon
LONGEST TIME WITH NO SHOWER – 8 days (Mongolia)
BEST MEAL – I have left the responses that everyone had for the first year and then added the favourite meals for the second year:
C – In Thessaloniki, having appetisers with Sandy at an ‘ouzeri’ (a place that sells ouzo and appetisers) with the most delicious ‘melt in your mouth’ calamari, wonderful bread, Greek salad and delicious walnut cake and ice cream to end with.
Any food at ‘Little wine, little Sea’ (Λίγο κρασί Λίγο Θαλλασσα) in Heraklion – though especially the squid ink calamari. Also my mouth is still watering at a special salmon dish made one night in Houston by Kathy K & Cathy C. Oh and how could I ever forget the amazing fresh cranberry sauce by Kathleen in Oregon.
S – The barbecued calamari – described as the best calamari in Greece at an ouzeri in Thessaloniki as well as my favourite dessert which was a sundae at a groovy Beijing coffee shop near our hostel.
The calamari at ‘Little wine, little Sea’ (Λίγο κρασί Λίγο Θαλλασσα) in Heraklion.
Y – The Thai Restraunt in Beijing near our hostel where we had spicy chicken, prawns in coconut sauce, Thai bread and rice and veggies. The potato gratin also at Teta Mirka’s house in Bulgaria was amazing – I had four serves.
The calamari at ‘Little wine, little Sea’ (Λίγο κρασί Λίγο Θαλλασσα) in Heraklion.
T – the night before my birthday in Darwin at our aunty Jenny and uncle Paul’s place with our cousins Lachie and Josh – we had pasticcis, party pies and sausage rolls and aunty Jenny got us a wonderful birthday cake – mine was cheesecake. Actually I loved all of Jenny and Paul’s meals in Darwin but my birthday one was the best.
Lasagne in the first Restraunt we went to in Venice.
K – Barramundi at Jen’s house there was lemon juice and veggies and at my birthday I had chicken snitzel – best snitzel I’ve ever had. Also I loved the nachos at the Mexican place for Tobes’ and Yas’ birthday in Darwin. I also have one more – My complete FAVOURITE – the fish we cooked on a stone BBQ at lake Baikal that we caught ourselves. It was incredible. And I have to mention the huge (so much) Nutella waffle I had with mum in Heraklion.
Yemistes (stuffed veggies with rice and herbs) at my Aunty Seve’s house in our village in Greece and absolutely any food at ‘Little wine, little Sea’ (Λίγο κρασί Λίγο Θαλλασσα) in Heraklion.
Z – Pasta with tuna sauce in the village with Papou Doni’s tomatoes and I loved Mihali’s milk in the village.
My giagia’s soup with rice and meatballs.
Nikki’s amazing chocolate cake in Crete and a cookie spookie ice cream at DODONI.
WORST MEAL interesting that when I re-asked this question for the second year it was exactly the same – we must have had extra amazing food the second year!
C – The second day of our ger stay when we had veggies and Soya TVP with some sort of pasta but the whole meal and air and everything just smelt of mutton fat and I was feeling quite ill from it – after which I just got used to it and enjoyed the experience.
S – The first meal in Kunming where the smell just made me want to vomit and I put on a brave face for the kids and then we wised up and got some written instructions for other prospective food places.
Y – Our first noodle meal in China in Kunming cause it was spicy and very hot and we hadn’t learnt how to ask for less spicy yet and people were all looking at us.
T – In Beijing in a Chinese Restraunt near our hostel that everyone else loved but always put me in a bad mood – the food was lots of veggies and noodles and stuff like that.
K – On Jetstar flight from Darwin – Singapore we had rice and chicken it was so plain and yuk
Z – The spicy food in China
E – Reheated pasta in Crete cause it didn’t have enough sauce and definitely the very spicy food on the first night in China.
FAVOURITE THING THAT HAPPENED OVERSEAS:
Zoi – Riding half wild horses in Mongolia
Toby – Travelling though America and staying with our Harry Potter crazy friends in Houston
Emilio – going to DODONI ice cream shop – the best ice cream shop in the world
Kalika – Meeting Isabella in school at Crete
Sandy – Sitting outside the ‘Irish consulate’ in Agios Nikolaos and chatting with the girls.
Christos – Definitely the incredible connections we made with so many wonderful people all around the world. Oh and I just loved living in Crete in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment across from the beach. I loved spending so much quality time with my family and always eating lunch together. I adored having so many lovely visitors – my sister Jenny Gigga, my bro and Sally, giagia’s, my in-laws Ross and Jill, Amy and Oliver, Cousin Cara, Meri and George, Rebecca and Andy from Scotland and their wonderful boys, Millie from Oz and mad Aunty Desley came twice – such good fun. Loved so much – couldn’t possibly pick one thing. Crete definitely became a second home.