• Date and Time: Thursday 13th September, 2007. 00:02 CET
  • Location: Berth 32, train from Moscow to Cologne, German border control
  • So this is it, just left Poland, now back in comfortable EU territory. By that I mean we’re now in a country where I can speak the language, at least to a certain extent, with a healthy dose of Japanese unconsciously thrown in where memory fails me. You have no idea how exciting this is for me after 4 weeks of feeling like an imbecile!

    You know how long the border official held onto my passport for? About 3 seconds! Oh the joy of not being a hardcore foreigner!

    It’s hard to believe that despite being 3 countries away from the UK (Germany, Belgium, France) I will actually be there in precisely 12 hours. After traversing the vast expanse of Russia these European countries seem like miniature counties, little toy countries that just occupy the eye for a second or two. Crikey, I mean, I could walk home from here if I felt the urge. (but actually, I think I’ll stay in my comfy bed, then transfer to Germany’s ultra sexy answer to the bullet train – the ICE – then in Belgium board the legendary Eurostar for the final leg through France and under the sea. No doubt when we make landfall in the UK a 30mph limit will be imposed due to flooding and we’ll take another 3 days to reach London…)

    I understand that the rhubarb is already being prepared for tonight’s (tonight’s…??!!! yippppeeee!!) celebratory meal, oh, and all but one of my parcels sent by surface, SAL and air mail from Japan have arrived and are waiting for me to open. Thinking about this I have very mixed emotions. Whilst I am excited about being back in the UK, I think that this is a reaction to 4 weeks of having to watch my luggage and struggling to communicate (don’t get me wrong, I don’t regard this as having been a negative experience in the slightest. It’s been one of the most fun and memorable trips of my life ever, and I would do it again – but it’ll be nice to be able to totally relax for a change!).

    However, if I think about opening parcels from Japan… well, that’s a different kettle of fish. It bypasses the past 4 weeks and summons the harsh reality that I am a long long way away from ‘home’. No matter how gentle the re-entry process, it still doesn’t change the basic facts. It’ll be interesting to see how I deal with it. Currently, my biggest concern is mum and dad’s lack of broadband internet, the only connection being a very slow dial-up via my first computer, a Windows 98 PC!

    Anyway, enough of this midnight babble. After a stop of approximately 15 minutes we have left border control (the Russians, who held us up for 11 hours coming out of Mongolia could learn a thing or two from the Germans me thinks…), and are now zooming across Deutschland (the spelling of which I forget), scheduled to reach Cologne in just under 6 hours.

    I think I’ll have a shave in my private sink, before settling down to a few hours kip on my final overnight trip on this voyage half-way around the world in 28 days.