LightRumors

Half A Century Ago

September 28th, 2018

 

On September 15, 1968, my friend Nelson Todd and I flew to London and began a three month journey by plane, bus, boat, train. Where those weren’t abailable we stuck out our thumbs. That was the beginning of 18 months of travel over a five year period that changed my life. In a time before the Internet, this kind of travel was very different than it is now. In this series, I’ll relate some of the adventures I had on three different trips. But it won’t be chronological, just vaguely geographical, in it’s organization of pictures and stories. Some places are easy for me to remember the time, because I only visited them once. Others were repeated more than once and I’ve never felt much need to sort them out. They’re all in “once upon a time” Random Access Memory…

I ditched the borrowed, ill-fitting suit after this picture. The sunburn took longer to subside.

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ON OUR WAY

Our flight over on Continental Airlines, one of the low-cost charters of the day, was notable primarily for the amount of dope being smoked and the smiles of the flight attendants…

A week in London was spent wandering around, trying to get used to the language-seriously-not as hard, perhaps, as Indian flavored English, but still a fair bit removed from the California bastardization of the Mother tongue. All in all, a pleasant time with a lot of walking, from Speaker’s corner to the Tower of London and various parks. I particularly like this shot of lunchtime in the Era Before Smart Phones.

Look! People sitting on the lawn talking to one another or just relaxing. You don’t see that everyday now…

And I believe this park is in Copenhagen, which would place it in 1970.

 

Danger lurks behind every tree, or, at least, the cops looking for it do. During a protest, probably over the Vietnam war.

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Our vague plan was to hitch hike across Europe, following the suggestions in our rapidly dog-earing copy of the traveller’s bible of the day, Eric Frommer’s “Europe On Five Dollars A Day.” And yes, you could actually do that in those days, staying in hostels and the occasional B&B. Hitching a ride was easy food was cheap. Americans were still admired for our role in WW II, if beginning to be mistrusted over the war in SE Asia. The legacy of JFK was still a powerful token everywhere, even more so in Asia, as we were to find out, and benefit from, in the coming months.

Out journey went from England to Holland, then across Germany and Austria before entering the mysterious East-the Soviet dominated countries beyond. We were in Germany during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. News was hard to come by. We briefly considered trying to get there, but everything we heard about the situation was vague and in the end, we headed south to M√ľnchen to check out this thing called the Oktoberfest…

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"Things are more like they are now than they ever were before."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

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