Through The Eyes Of A Child
So last summer I moved out of my house. As I packed up the boxes I came across one that contained papers, photos and mementoes from way back in the 70s and 80s. Amongst the badges, marbles, trump cards and panini football stickers were three stories that I had written as a child. They were tales of a 1978 Summer Holiday to Yugoslavia, to Austria in 1980 and to Spain in 1981.
I had not seen or read them in 40 years yet here I was writing online blogs in 2020.
Doesn’t life sometimes have a funny habit of throwing up coincidence?
Written In the Stars
Now I have always loved this saying, although I have only just found out via a quick google who said it – the Greek philosopher Aristotle no less!
“Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man”.
Well, in this case, I was nine but to me, it’s remarkable looking back and recognising the signs at such an early age of my love for animals, music and for sport. It also demonstrated my interest in adventure and road trips. It was without doubt during these moments, that I fell in love with travel and who knows…. maybe blogging too!
Over forty years later I have decided to replicate each of these blogs on my website. I guess I can now truly say that I have been blogging since 1978.
Please excuse the suspect grammar and spelling – “what more than usual” I hear you say! I have copied them word for word – I guess Google may penalise me for that but authenticity is everything is it not?
Those Were The Days
In my eyes a lot of great things happened in 1978 – Space Invaders was launched, Ipswich Town won the FA Cup, Kate Bush and the Bee Gees topped the charts, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was first broadcast, Freddie Laker was knighted and the most beautiful women ever to hit the big screen, in my opinion, Olivia Newton-John, made many a young boy (myself included) hot under the collar as Sandy in Grease.
When I wasn’t modelling the latest in designer school uniform or pretending to be Paul Mariner on the school playing fields or even wishing I was Danny Zuko at Rydell High another great moment occurred in that hot summer of 1978… I wrote my first travel blog!!
Life Has Always Been An Adventure
That first blog described my 1978 summer holiday driving from Caterham in Surrey through France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria, Italy and finally to what was then Yugoslavia.
I remember on one of these summer adventures we were about to set off from home and I had a massive tantrum. I was not allowed to take my “big dog” cuddly toy as it was too large.
I now know all too well that most trips start with a drama or a panic of some kind so I started young. Dad would have been driving a pretty cool white Rover 3500 saloon back then and with an Elddis caravan in tow and packed to the hilt (minus big dog) we were off!
Analysing these old papers I had the knack even at 9 years of age to top and tail and connect the story with humour – something I still try to do today. Pictured below are those neatly written blogs complete with precise margins and headlines underlined twice in red subtly reminding me of school days and for some reason that dreaded Sunday night homework when all I wanted to do was watch the Bionic Man.
The copy from these pages follows…. enjoy my first ever blog … my first travel memories… you could even say that this was my first ever travel platform – I was, after all, aged nine and three-quarters.
Summer Holiday 1978, Yugoslavia
We trundled along onto the boat. As I went into the boat compartments I asked Dad and Mum if I could have a go on the fruit machines. The first go I did not win anything but the second go I won 20p.
After a rest I had lunch, coke, pineapple juice, bread and honey. We went up on deck till it was time to get of the boat. “Welcome To Calais” was the greeting we got as we arrived in France.
Summing Up The First Day
It was a pleasant and exciting first day because as we stopped by the side of the road we found two rusty brown bombs with rings around the top and bottom.
We did not touch it in case we were blown sky high. We are not sure where they actually came from or how they got there.
The Second Day
We got to Stuttgart in Germany after going through Belgium and Luxemburg. We stayed in a campsite after going past the Stuttgart stadium. In the campsite we stayed at a very muddy but nice campsite. I seem to remember an Alsatian dog being in the caravan next to us.
In the morning we washed our faces and we had our breakfast, then we had to get on our way to Austria.
The night we got into Stuttgart we saw quite a few trams going up and down the streets of Stuttgart, they were bright yellow and a thin black line going through the middle.
After Stuttgart we got to Austria in appalling conditions. As we were queuing to get into Austria, suddenly a large rainbow came out it stretched right over the hill. It was the first rainbow I had ever seen.
We got petrol in Kufstein and about 30 yards on we came to the campsite and we stayed at Kufstein for three nights and on Sunday, we had to get dressed, washed, have our breakfast and get ready for going to Yugoslavia. We went through Mittersill and through a long tunnel I got a sticker just after we stopped for a bite. We finally got to Lienz and Dad took some pictures of the scenery in Austria and posted three letters.
We eventually arrived in Italy on Monday in terrible road blocks. We were in Italy for an hour and then we got into Yugoslavia and Mum had to buy some petrol coupons in a shop just past the board er between Italy and Yugoslavia. We stopped at a petrol station to buy petrol with the coupons which Mum had recently bought.
On the same day we arrived at the campsite and almost immediately we went into the sea where I could swim under water. The next day I caught a fish but it hopped away just as I got it out of the water.
Two days later I went under the water with my new orange mask. I saw an amazing sight nearly 500 fish in a shoal. Other small fish were swimming in the shoal aswell. The day before we went to a restaurant in Rovinj.
The next day I swam breast stroke for the 7th time ever. I swam every day we were in Yugoslavia.
On the last day at Yugoslavia I got up early, I had an early swim before breakfast with Dad. Straight after breakfast we took down the awning and we were off.
Hooked & Penniless
Just before we left we had a cool drink of lemonade, while looking out over the sea we recaptured some of the many pleasant memories of Yugoslavia like when Dad and Craig spotted an old german shelter or the time when I lost my fishing hook in the sea. I waited for Dad to come but he never did so I lost my hook. One of my most vivid memories was when at about 700pm I heard singing and there was a dinner party going on it was very enjoyable. When I went to sleep that night I heard singing Yugoslavian style until I dropped off to sleep.
The journey back was just as enjoyable as going. We went through the same countries as before. Only one thing on the way back I did not like…. I lost on the ever present fruit machines.
For further information on taking a trip to any part of France, Belgium, Luxemberg, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia or Croatia either contact your local travel agent or a specialist tour operator but please make sure they are aged over nine and three quarters.
I hope you enjoyed my amusing 1978 Summer holiday tales. Lets just pray those road side bombs have been cleared ! Till next time !!