European Tour July 1974
Finally my 6 month gap year job working for British Railways ended in June, so I decided to take a busman’s or rather railman’s holiday. I had successfully earnt £900, which was quite a lot of money in those days. So Baillie did care about money in the end, although I was always taught that money was vulgar and one should never talk about it. Unfortunately we live in a monetary system on this planet and we have to get on with, to cut cards with the devil, so to speak. I did my duty and the money came in very useful.
I planned an around Europe inter-rail trip to broaden my education, together with my good friend Larry Hemmings from the previous year and had many adventures during the next month of July.
“Baillie loved trains and loved travelling on them. This is highlighted in several letters, in one he gives very confident precise directions to his sister-in-law Blanche. Yet with regard to travel, Baillie never left his native Georgia except when on war service.” Alexander Baillie Kell 1828-1912.
Captain’s Log Star Date.....
Monday 27 June 1974 until Thursday 30 June 1974
The Interrail Pass is a rail pass available to European residents. Residents of countries outside Europe may purchase the Eurail Pass instead. Types of Interrail Pass include the Interrail Global Pass, the Interrail One Country Pass, and the Interrail Premium Pass.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interrail
Larry and I went to Margate Station buy our One month Interrail Pass cost £33.00 (Average wage £26 per week).
We went to Sandwich to buy our Karrimor Backpacks (Cost £25) plus a Karrimor Sleeping Bag cover (Cost £5) and an Blue light weight cagoule etc.
Made a leather document case and strap.
Made a English St. George’s Cross Flag out of a British Rail first class head seat cover and Red cotton poplin.
Bought sundry items. E.g. Guitar Strings, first aid kit, sewing kit, shampoo and most essential sun oil!
Hitch Hikers Guide to Europe: Ken Walsh
The in book of 1974 was this! Photos by Larry:
I’ve still got mine somewhere in the loft, plus the Log of the Journey - There and Back Again!
Our plan was to travel to Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland).
Day 1: Friday 01 July 1974
Met Larry at Ramsgate station 06:00, caught the train to Dover Priory, BR bus to Dover Eastern Docks, BR Sealink Ferry to Calais, France. Made good time, marched to Calais SNCF Station arriving at 10:00 only to find the first train to Gare du Nord Paris would at 14:00! So waited in the café.
Arrived at Paris 17:00, walked around bit, had our evening meal “on the hoof” and caught the train to Amsterdam CS.
Day 2: Saturday 02 July 1974
Arrived 06:00 Amsterdam CS, walked down the Damrak, got some breakfast and decided to explore the city by foot. We found ourselves in the Wallen part of the city. I can remember thinking to myself, “What with the ladies in their night clothes? It’s only 14:00 and to early for bed!” Then it suddenly dawn on me aah hah! Such was my naivety!!!
Fed up with our heavy camping packs we decided to go back the Dam Palace and monument and rest. The sun was shining, our contemplation was irrupted by a Spanish man who having spied my St. George’s flag asked, me was I from his village in Spain?
De Bijenkorf department store was adjacent and proved equally as hard to navigated with our heavy and bulky packs and all our camping gear!
So we decided to to ditched them by going home to England!
We caught the night train to Paris at 22:00hr. Suddenly our compartment was invaded by 4 Danish girls who were doing the Inter-rail thing as well (tip: never travel alone there safety in numbers and more the merrier!)
We shared what food and drink we had, I sang a few songs on my guitar and talked the long into the night. Being gentleman Larry and me took the positions either side of the door to ensure the protection of the girls. Finally we slept in shifts.
Day 3: Sunday 03 July 1974
We pull into Gare du Nord at 06:00, the Danish girls wanted to head for Spain and Larry with them but sense prevailed and we decided to stick to original plan. Head to Calais, caught the next train, hiked back to the docks and boarded the next ferry to Dover. Traveling by train from Dover Priory Station to Ramsgate we arrived at 15:30hr. Needless to say my Dad was surprised to see me back so soon!
Day 4: Monday 04 July 1974
Spent short and storing my camping kit, rationalising what we had learnt, repacking essentials kit and revising our plans - targeting Morocco. Early night.
Day 5: Tuesday 05 July 1974
Re run of Day 1. We got to Gare du Nord and headed for Gare de Austerlitz follow our old route of summer holidays of ‘69 and ‘73. Shopped for essential supply, Vin, fromage et pain by the Seine and had a picnic. Caught the Night Train to Port Bou on the Spanish border and settled down for the night.
Day 6: Wednesday 06 July 1974
We got to Port Bou 09:00. There was a Trans European fast train leaving for Valencia at 10:00 not having any valid tickets we decided decided to jump down on the tracks and board it from the other side! The luggage was piled high and we attempted to conceal ourselves, only to be discovered by a smiling vigilant ticket inspector who threw us off the very same the way!
It was a fair cop. Back on the platform we had to settle for the slow 3 hour train to Barcelona.
Arriving somewhen around 14:00 we took lunch at a small kiosk by the roundabout with a statue of General Joan Prim i Prats.
It is still there!
Nature give not jot for the works of man! I love Nature Xxx
A Memorable Accident
We were debating what to do next when a car going too fast overturned on the roundabout in front of us. I divined a portent of impending doom and suggested to Larry we should go back to Callela past the town of Canet de Mar where we we camped for a month the year before.
Larry and me - Taken by my Dad 1973 on the Beach in front Camping Globo Rojo
Rest and Relaxation
We hit Callela at 18:00, walked to a central bar/bodega with rooms to rent, agreed terms and unpack.
The beach was just stones throw from the bar which is why we chose it.
Greece is the Word
Day 7: Thursday 07 July 1974
Spent on the beach and in bar!
Day 8: Friday 08 July 1974
Whilst looking for inspiration as what do next we spied 3 people with distinctive beach bags with the word Greece and a picture of the Acropolis in Athens woven into the bag. Jokingly I said to Larry, “Shall we go and buy one?”
To which replied in the affirmative, “Why not!”
Thus began the second part of our Inter-rail Adventure....