Monday, 30 November 2009

A Journey through Europe

And so it was time to venture away from the banks of the River Thames to discover new worlds.

Foreign travel for the average English citizen has to start with day trips across the English Channel. At that time there was no Channel Tunnel so the journey was made by ferry, usually from Dover or Folkestone. There was also the 'new' and exciting Hovercraft to experience and so the boat trip was one of the highlights of the journey for many.


The thing I liked most about Amsterdam was of course the waterways lined by historic buildings, the town has an atmosphere like nowhere else in Europe.


Trips to France were about cheap wine and French bread, what more could you expect when there was just a few hours before the return boat journey. It was a lot later that I actually got to see more of the country with weekends in Paris by train and Christmas at a friends cottage, travelling by car. But I still saw very little.

Travelling started to become an obsession, preferring to travel alone with little luggage and a camera, I headed off with no hotel bookings and virtually no itinerary. Plans often changed at the last minute or when my money had run out.

Travelling by train was a good way of meeting the locals and seeing the passing countryside. So that was the way I went. Passing through or stopping off.

Don't expect to see people in my photos, travelling then was about buildings and countryside. People only came in to the view finder when there was something special to say.


But it was not always the typical tourist buildings that interested me, but often something behind the scenes that made a statement about the country and it's way of life.

Cote d'Or Factory, Brussels

Having missed the first ferry home, and with only enough money for a bottle of water and a loaf of bread, I survived until the next ferry was due to depart several hours later!


Perhaps due to the size of this country, it tends to be overlooked by travellers who like me pass through on the way to somewhere else. I was surprised by the beauty of the place.

A short diary entry of mine noted that ' an amazing valley runs through the south of town, to the north of it the land climbs almost unnoticeably until you reach a point where you can look out over another valley of old houses and beyond to a tall modern building. From this high point a maize of narrow cobbled streets run their way back down to the shops.'

Russia (Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev)
The land of snow and spies!

Alexander Column,Palace Square.
St. Petersburgh

War Memorial, Kiev


Off to Gum Department Store

The Queue to Lenin


The land of fairytale beauty, all snow and icicles.

But all these places were just part of the journey to a country I would fall in love with and revisit over and over again. Italy.

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