[post of Friday 14th of September 2012]
Every time we pack the bicycle for a trip, we do so in a different way. We’re not sure our method to pack them get any better, but this time it looks much better and, at least, more decent than other times. In addition, this time we got cardboard boxes in perfect state, not the half-broken we use when we came. We dismount the bikes as much as we can, and we carefully wrap the metre-counter of the bikes with cello tape, the saddlebags, the tent, the sleeping bags, and part of our luggage. We double wrap everything together, and run out of cello tape. At least, it seems to us that the bikes, and the rest of our stuff, are ready for the harsh treatment the airport will surely reserve to them!
As arranged, our “private taxi” leaves us right in front of the bus to the airport. The bus ticket is 17€ per person and we get to the airport in an hour. Once there, we can confirm (again) that no-one speaks English in Japan, not even at the check-in counter. The girl at the counter had just been hired, didn’t understand English very well, or the rules of the airline company for which she worked… and she wanted to charge us loads of money for the overweight of our luggage even thou none of our boxes passed the free-of-charge weight allowed by Qatar Airlines for sport equipment. At the end, she got her Supervisor, to whom we went away with the copy of the company terms and conditions in English we had printed, in which it said how many kg we could travel with without paying. After some long minutes waiting, we were told what we expected: everything was fine and we didn’t have to pay a single yen to travel.
In the airport, we had the last Japanese meal of the trip: sushi, tempura, and ramen. Then, we boarded the plane in which we spent the next 11 hours, most of the time, sleeping. The transfer in Doha is of only two hours, although we had to wait a third one because the plane was delayed. The passengers in the seats around us bothered us a bit in the remaining 7 hours of our journey back to Spain; they had a little party going on for the entire flight, with plenty of alcohol and lot of noise. We didn’t manage to sleep over this time, but everything passes in life, and we get to Madrid Airport without any major problem and, above all, with our luggage all in perfect state.
Gabriel’s mum is there to pick us up and, even thou she’s been following us through the blog, we cannot help but keep talking about our experience, the wonderful people we met, the things we laughed about, the pain we felt, the landscape, the culture, the food. We don’t have a clue about what we’ll do next, but one thing is for sure: this trip has been just the first one of the trips we will do through the magic archipelago that is Japan.
The only thing left, for now, is to express our gratitude for everything; for the good luck, for the warm welcoming we received, for the support coming from your many messages, dear friends and followers of the blog. We will reply to each and all of them very soon, once we recover. We are grateful to our families too, for their understanding of our project, to CycloTrip for its help and sponsorship, to Angela for an excellent work translating the blog… to the kamis, and the hotokes, to Nozomi, Johan, Amy, Yasmin and ‘José’, Kozue, Katelyn, Shane, Peacefull, Nelly, Joe, Sumire, Josh, Mizue, and the twins, Hikaru, Bun and friends, Mark, Mika and Hiro, Kaccey and Bernardo, and all those who have helped us along the journey… thank you so much!