Like any true Englishman, I was in the pub before I'd even gone home last night. I was beaming from ear to ear and the envy of all my mates. I could tell them all stories until dawn, but of course you cannot recreate the World Cup in words. You can't recreate the World Cup at all.
Although my journey at the World Cup is over, I'll still find cause to write here, as the stories throughout the tournament weave their final webs.
On my trip I managed to see four World Cup matches. I saw Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Tomas Rosicky, Pavel Nedved, Carlos Tevez, Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme all play and win. I saw Maradona above me in the stadium. I met Americans, Brazilians, Dutch, French, Swiss, Angolans, Portuguese, Italians, Czechs, Swedes, Irish, Scottish, and of course Germans. I saw 13 goals, a red card, two penalties. I met the friends of Chris Birchall, a person who works at Bodymoor Heath with the Aston Villa players. I watched England play alongside the Rhine with 35,000 other England fans.
I saw violence, joy, agony, jubilation, wonder, amazement and relief. I heard drums, air horns, car horns, chants, songs, cries, screams.
Ultimately it was a pilgrimage of sorts. It was expensive and extravagant. At times it was lonely, tiring and frustrating.
So now I'm home with the group stages not even complete yet. I have plans to sit down and see what the BBC theme tune for the World Cup is, what Leonardo is like as a pundit. I'll update my wall charts and unravel my flags, and finally, when all is complete, I'll reflect.