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Inter-rail 1974 Part Two
Apr 23, '21

Barcelona to Rome

Day : 9 Saturday 09 July 1974

Larry and I were eager to get going now we had made a plan - head for Athens! That was it.....

We settle our bill with the bar owner and head off to Callela railway station at 08:00hrs. There was a local train leaving for Barcelona. Checking the destination board there was a direct train to Rome leaving at 10:00hrs so we skipped breakfast and bought some provisions for the 12 hour journey.

We rattled through coastal France toward Marseille. I was just content to be watching the scenery unfolding.

The Wonder of the Renfe High Speed and the TGV

No longer does it take half a day for the rail to reach the borders of Italy!

It was so different in 1974! We chatted with our fellow inter-rail passengers, I played my guitar and we were happy!

Nice, Genoa, Le Spezia, Firenze and finally Roma! We arrived just before 22:00hrs, looking for a place for the night and were greeted by small man holding a piece of card saying, “ Camere (Lire) L1500.”


plural noun: lire


(until the introduction of the euro in 2002) the basic monetary unit of Italy, notionally equal to 100 centesimos.


the basic monetary unit of Turkey, equal to 100 kurus.

Money was a great source of history featuring important icons and personalities from the past sadly replaced by the Euro € which features bit of buildings!

1. “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” – Winston Churchill

2. “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” – James Arthur Baldwin

3. “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. ” – Michael Crichton

4. “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

5. “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

6. “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” – Aldous Huxley

7. “The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” – Mark Twain

8. “Study the past if you would define the future.” – Confucius

9. “History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

10. “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Winston Churchill

Present Day Rome Station

Welcome to Ripoff Rome!

We were on our guard as we followed him for a couple of blocks. He took us to a apartment block top story. Having climbed several flights of stairs he suddenly announced the price had rising to L2500 as that was the lasted room available. To which we said, “no way,” turned tail and descended the way we had come.

Luckily I had taken notice of the route, within 15 minutes we were back at the station terminus on to find the same little man waiting for us! We sent away forthwith and sat down were we stood. I got my guitar out and we had cheese/bread/wine picnic. Quite soon we had attracted a crowd which including seven Norwegians, an American musician with saxophone and some girls. We all swapped stories, broke bread and played from my songbook.

As the midnight hour approached one of the Norwegians said, “We are going to spent night in the park by the Colosseum,” in answer to my question. I mentioned it to Larry and he agreed we should tag along based on the principal of strength in numbers. So shoulder our backpacks and marched off. The cool American decided he would joined the party armed only with a light hold-all and his his trusty saxophone.

After 30 minutes we arrived at the dark park, through the trees I could make out the high side of the black Colosseum it was then I got this terrible Deja Vu feeling of dread. It was made worse by the dark shadowy figures that kept appearing and disappearing in the bushes and trees.

I could settle my sense of dread even the Vikings were unsure of where to settle for the night. We left them and their discussion and headed for the station again. I felt an immediate feeling of relief.

We came to wide road with a man hosing down his stall of water melons and a couple making their way home after a good night out. The couple crossed the road only to be buzzed by a car and 4 youths in it. The man started to remonstrate with the car and wave his arms making rude gestures. To which the youths in the car suddenly reversed and replied. Within a space of five minutes a crowd arrived to witnessed the spectacle!

Back to Rome Railway Station

By the time the Polizia di Stato got there the crowd had swollen to 200. Larry and I decided to make ourselves scarce to avoid any complications. We got back to the station at 02:00hrs, the waiting room was packed but we found a space. No sooner had we doze off than we were turfed out by the Carabinieri complete with machines guns. We gathered they want us on the first train out of Rome so we spent what remained of the night on a station bench.


The first train was bounded for Venice at 06:00hrs via Bologna. About 05:30 I went in search of mangiare cibo for breakfast and the journey luckily there was a bakery shop open just outside of the station. I brought I could and hurried back to Larry and together we boarded the train.


Inter-rail 1974 Part One

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.

Inter-rail 1974 Part Two

Barcelona to Rome

Inter-rail 1974 Part Three

Rome to Venice

Inter-rail 1974 Part Four

Athens my Athens

Inter-rail 1974 Part 5

Patras to Athens, Paris, Home


Apr 23, '21
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