ManUtd.com's Gemma Thompson has joined ex-United players Denis Irwin and Andy Ritchie in the Sahara for a charity trek in aid of the Manchester United Foundation. Return here each day, until Friday 20 November, to read the latest from the desert...
Day 8 - Home sweet home
So the trek is complete and we're back in Manchester. It feels quite surreal to be back in the real world after a week in the middle of the desert with only the odd cockerel, donkey and camel to keep us company.
It was a long old day to get home with a 2.30am wake-up call on Friday morning. After a night of celebrations, which included numerous renditions of 'Take me home United Road,' there were a few sore heads in the group. An hour-long flight from Ouarzazate to Casablanca was followed by a five-hour wait for our lunchtime flight to Heathrow. Everyone was a little weary by the time we reached Manchester on Friday evening, but it had all been totally worth it.
We were all in agreement that it had been one of the most memorable weeks of our lives. Not only had we experienced some breathtaking scenery, we'd completed a tough challenge and raised a huge amount of money for the Manchester United Foundation. And most importantly it had been achieved the United way - teamwork, determination and camaraderie were the key components behind such a successful and enjoyable week; it's certainly one I'll never ever forget.
On our journey home, I asked everyone for one word to describe the experience and I think they summed it perfectly... 'Phenomenal; exhilarating; surreal; easy; amazing; friendship; beautiful; sandy; laughter; long; snorey; excellent; awesome; fantastic; fun; reflective; breathtaking; brilliant; memorable.'
Day 7 – Ouarzazate – Civilisation
We waved goodbye to the desert today and said a welcome hello to civilisation and, most crucially for us girls, a proper toilet, shower and bed. Saying that, I’ll really miss the desert. The scenery was spectacular and the camping such fun.
It was an early start – 6am – and we had an hour-long ride in a cattle truck to make it to the main road. I stood with ex-Red Andy Ritchie and despite feeling a tad unwell for the last 24 hours he waxed lyrical about the week. He described it as one of the best experiences of his life. As well as the amazing scenery