After getting a full nights sleep, we headed to the Zapotec ruins with our friends. Travis was still feeling ill but didn't want to miss this famous site and realizing these were our final days, he pushed on. From the site we could look down on the city and the view was incredible with land and sky stretching for miles. The sight of big open sky reminded me of home in Alberta and caused me to get a little sentimental or perhaps it had more to do with the fact that home was fast approaching. My heart was filled with gratitude for our big open blue sky, something our Hong Kong friends said they will miss when they return to China. While exploring these unique ruins we thought about our niece McKinnley, as it was her birthday. With our friends help we decided to make her a video singing Happy birthday in English, Spanish and Cantonese. It was this moment that really drove home the fact that traveling doesn't simply open your eyes and heart to the country you are visiting, but also to other places around the world through the people you meet. Although China has never been high on my list to visit, I now feel a small connection and desire to go there someday, not only to visit our friends again but to get to know the people and culture. The four of us finished our time in Oaxaca by walking around the city that evening. We visited the large, impressive Cathedral with gold ordaining every inch of the interior, I can't fathom the wealth that went into the building. Oaxaca is also known for its chocolate and while I was able to enjoy a malt with our friends when travis had been sick, I was afraid he would miss out. Just minutes before we were to hop on the bus headed for Mexico City, Travis spotted a store selling the same malts! I was happy he was able to get in on our experience and I may have had a sampling or two from his as well.
With one last all day bus ride before us, we took it on with grace in order to arrive at our final destination. The highlight in reaching this location was meeting up again with our wonderful Swiss friends whom we met in Panama and journeyed through most of Nicaragua with. Ending our trip with four dear backpacking companions, both old and new, more than made up for the lack of time we had to explore this grand city. Our final night with them could not have been better as we soaked in the city centre including the Cathedral, colonial parliament buildings, Mexican food and music. Now we could say "we did it!", we completed our journey from Panama to Mexico City! With hearts full of gratitude we said good bye for now to our friends and turned our gaze towards home.
Our final travel day home on Friday, February 27, 2015 included many feelings; sickness, sadness, excitement, stress, thankfulness, exhaustion and peace. Climbing into our bed at midnight felt sureal but was a welcomed feeling of comfort, both internally and externally. Over this next week we will rest, recover and reflect on our past four plus months of backpacking. Please check back in once more for the final blog entry which will include our overall thoughts and adjustments to home life.