Day 11 in South Africa: Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, and travel back to the USA

May 2, 2016

We got up early and packed everything up.  We met up with my sister for a quick brunch and hot drinks, then said goodbye.  I likely won’t see her in the next two years, so it was a tough goodbye.  We then drove to the airport in Port Elizabeth, a 1 1/2 hour drive.  We returned our rental car and made our way through checking baggage and such.  It was definitely a bit weird to think our trip was already over.  The flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg was about two hours long.  In Jo-burg, we had a pretty long layover, so we spent a lot of time checking out all of the shops and restaurants.  We had to go through a bunch of extra security at our gate because of US regulations- every single person was frisked, and they looked through our carry-on luggage.  I read on the plane for several hours, then slept until about 3:30.  I read for the remainder of the flight, and was able to finish a book (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society– a really good book!) just before we landed.

We arrived at JFK the following morning.  It took a couple of hours to go through customs and such.  We then had a 3-hour drive home from there, that took more like 4 hours due to traffic.  After over 24 hours of travel, we were very thankful to be home and to be able to stretch our legs out again!

We had a very wonderful trip.  South Africa is a beautiful country.  I was surprised by how much the landscape changed throughout the country (and we only really saw the southern part of the country- I imagine it changes a lot more in the north as well), from stunning coast line, to rolling hills, to steep mountains.  I was also surprised by how much remote country there was.  In the United States, towns are scattered pretty close together.  In South Africa, you would drive between large cities- for maybe 2 hours- and not see a single smaller town in between.  It was definitely an amazing trip for us.