So here I am back in the UK. It is cold and grey, but it's good to be back home and with my wife and son again.
Yesterday, Merche accompanied me on the little funicular railway that takes you up to the Cristo. It was a very sunny day and this was my first taste of real heat. Merche parked near the station at the base and up we went, through dense woodland which broke occasionally to give views over the hillside and out to the sea.
The Cristo sculpture is very impressive, standing in an attitude that reads as both a welcome embrace and a cross. The view is stunning and just in a few minutes in the sunshine I could feel my skin sizzling like I was a sausage on a barbecue.
After that we went for drive to an amazing church with a carved and gilded wooden interior. I forgot to write the name in my notebook and left my Rio guide in Merche's house, so I'll have to do a bit of research and tell you what it was called later.
When we got back I packed and I went for lunch nearby with Merche, her partner Sebastian and her daughter. I have eaten very well in Rio, but this lunch - a fantastic fish dish - really stood out.
When we got back I finished packing, and Sebastian took me to the airport in a raging thunderstorm. The traffic was terrible and he did fantastically well to get me there on time. He even came into the building and helped me buy a Brazil football shirt for my son.
The plane was delayed - of course - and the in flight movie screens were down so a long trip felt even longer. We were an hour late into Madrid's beautifully designed airport and we sat for an hour on the tarmac before taking off on the London flight. We descended through grey clouds to Heathrow and I was a little under dressed for 16C. I got back to Cambridge roughly 24 hours after setting off from Rio, arriving home courtesy of a weird, sarcastic, and possibly psychotic taxi driver who I would have swapped for my Brazilian taxi driver any day of the week.
So I say tschau and obrigado to everyone I met in Rio. Thanks to Adriana for the support - especially when I first arrived! Thanks to Frini for the newspaper article and for taking the time to come to the launch. Thanks to Estevoa for coming along too, and for the books. Good luck Priscilla with your trip to Sao Paolo. Thanks to Mimi, Jaqueline, Celia, Viviane, Raquel and Frederico at the British School libraries and to all the staff at the school, and a special thank you to all the children for being such good listeners, for making me feel so welcome - and for asking such good questions!
And last but in no means least - a huge thank you to Merche Clark and her family for taking me in and looking after me like one of their own. So get down to the Jamer Bookshop and buy up all my books. Not because it matters to me you understand - but so that Merche gets some kind of compensation for having to listen to me droning on for a week.