"Are we there yet?"

A certain nephew of mine used to ask this on car journeys when he was small. He asked it irritatingly often, and would repeat his query into his adult years when he wanted to goad people. He alternated with “C’est encore loin, Grand Schtroumpf?” (The latter question in French is a quote from the smurf comics he read.)

We set out from Bangkok in January with the idea of cycling “to Europe.” We had our supporters, as well as our fair share of doubters and naysayers. I had my own doubts when we left. The question we’ve asked ourselves in the last few days has been “Are we there yet?”

If we’d crossed the Dardanelles Straight to Gallipoli, the obvious move from Asia Minor to Europe there would have been the precise answer to the question.  When we changed to a route through the Greek Islands of the eastern Aegean, however, we thought we’d change our definition of  our arrival in Europe to having reached the Greek mainland, since these islands are still so physically close to Turkish Coast in Asia Minor. Now, having spent several days in Greece, we’ve reviewed that deferral. We think it’s  fair to say : “We’re in Europe!” 

There are so many cultural and economic clues that mark the contrast with Turkey, and which define us as being in Europe, it’s impossible to deny or delay admitting that we’ve arrived. It’s a good feeling.

M

PS from goal-oriented Chris:
I had always known we would have to take buses and taxis over some of the terrain. So I had always thought we would do a “15,000km ride from Bangkok to Europe”. The bike odometers are at 14,000km so completion of the journey for me requires another 1,000km. But as Margo says, “Once we reach Europe, the rest is gravy.”

12 responses to “"Are we there yet?"

  1. Congratulations. I have to admire your stick-with-it-ness. It is amazing what you have accomplished.

    karen

  2. Fantastic. The rest of us are gasping and wheezing through H1N1 and you've not only survived but look fabulous (even if there is no topless photo of Chris, as per your previous post).

  3. Congratulations on finally reaching Europe. Just letting you know we finally made it home on the Friday after missing our flight – what a pair of plonkers… 12 hours late !! Still – got a couple more days on the beach. Keep the rubber bits on the road

    Roger and Jackie

  4. Congratulations, I knew you could to it! For the record, the proper spelling is “Schtroumpf”. Also, it was another nephew who came up with that trope.

    Nephew Daniel/Bikemoose

  5. I never said it was YOU, you silly Bikemoose. It was a certain firstborn brother of yours I had in mind.

    Each of you had your share of quirks, but his was plaintively and repeatedly asking that type of question.

    I remember it well.

    Auntie Margo

  6. I knew you weren't talking about me, but as I am the nephew most frequently mentioned here, I thought I would set the record straight for those less familiar with my siblings' quirks. 😉

  7. congratulations !!. We met briefly at the Radison Guest House in Bishkek back (I was doing a short trip through Kyrgyzstan prior to the England football match in Almaty).

    regards

    Colin

  8. I was going for “annoying” not “plaintive”. And since you remember 30 years later, it looks like it worked.

  9. Greetings Roger and Jackie,

    Glad you had a few more beach days. It was good to meet you both. I'm wearing the bracelet and it has protected us well.(I took it and gave the pin to Chris!)

    Email us directly (as per card, not via blog)if you're ever going to be in Vancouver.

    Margo & Chris

  10. Hello Colin,

    We remember meeting you. We were sad to leave Radison. It was a very welcoming place and it was good to meet you and the other guests.

    Please email us directly (as per card and not from blog) if you're going to be in Vancouver.

    Margo & Chris

  11. Pingback: Index for Bangkok to Paris 2009 « candmwanderings

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