The flight home was uneventful. Upon booking, I was giddy over the fact that I was able to choose my seat immediately. There was a mixup however, and my chosen seat was apparently in business class. Since I hadn’t paid for business class, they had changed my seat, but luckily I was still in aisle, and not the dreaded middle, so no fuzz. I watched The Force Awakens in preparation for what was to come and tried to get some shut-eye. After a short, but not stressful, layover in Istanbul I made my final flight. Passport control was surprisingly inefficient by European standards, but the baggage carousel started moving pretty soon, and my distinctive backpack was among the first.

At the exit, some of what I had missed the most waited*, and I got a ride home, dumped the luggage, had a shower, and pretty much went straight from a continent quite quite close to a galaxy far far away….

And as is tradition, or an old charter, or something, it’s time to present this trip’s….


The Brick Backpack (for best city)

The Calico Backpack (for best surprise)
Dolphins in the river in Gambia

The Celluloid Backpack (for best photo)
Goats in trees

The Copper Backpack (for most price-worthy experience)
Mozziepants, haggled down from 10 000 to 6 000 guineabobs, roughly € 0.60

The Cotton Backpack (for best accommodation)
Niagara Inn, Accra

The Fur Backpack (for best nature experience)
Boat tour on the rivers and mangrove swamps, Tendaba, The Gambia

The Glass Backpack (for best hang)
At Sukuta Lodge

The Granite Backpack (for best landscape)
Guinean highlands

The Jade Backpack (for best cultural experience)
Elmina town walk

The Khaki Backpack (for best guide)

The Malt Backpack (for best drink)
Guinness (other nominee: The first beer after the dryness of Mauritania)

The Neoprene Backpack (for best dive)
Half sunken shipwreck, Banana Island

The Plush Backpack (for best transport)
The coach from Cape Coast to Accra

The Silver Backpack (for best eating)
The steak at Butcher’s (other nominee: some of what Preben made)

The Terry Backpack (for best swim)
Kinkon falls

The Goathide Backpack (for best medina)

The Velour Backpack (for softest experience)
The beaches of Sierra Leone

The Gold Backpack (for best experience in total)

I entered country number 70 and did dive number 50. I slept in a mozzie net under the stars in the wilderness and met a bunch of cool-ass people. But the one thing, the unique thing, unlikely to be repeated ever, was to trek into the jungle and have a close encounter with one of my absolute favourite animals from my childhood.

Therefore, the Gold Backpack of 2017-2018 goes to:

Chimpanzee trekking in Guinea


*) Definitely whom I had missed the most