1977-78 THE BACK PACKER EXPERIENCE.
Recently, a mate asked me, how many times I had been to Britain and/or Europe, and when I answered ’20’, he said I should write a book.
I’m not really in the mood for that, and for those who follow this site, you will be aware I regularly post stories from those travels.
But with time on my hands, with this ‘Chinese flu’ keeping us largely house bound, I thought I would file a 20 part series on those travels, under a few sub headings.
TRIP NUMBER 1
October 1977 to June 1978.
PURPOSE OF TRIP
England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, West Germany, Austria, Italy, Andorra, Switzerland, Liechenstein.
Europe: Sierra Nevada (mountains), Spain; Britain, Snowdonia National Park; Ireland: Wild coastline between Kinsale and Bantry.
EUROPE: Benedictine Abbey, Montserrat, Spain; Britain: Winchester Cathedral; Ireland: Lismore Castle.
FIRST MEAL YOU RECALL EATING
EUROPE: Indonesian in Amsterdam. Britain: Steak at Aberdeen Steak House, London (part of a chain); Ireland: T-bone steak at Jimmy Edwards’ Pub, Kinsale.
MOST MEMORABLE MEAL
Europe: Home cooked meal on the balcony of an apartment in Algeciras, Spain with a family related to Cristobel Levero Sanchez, Leichhardt in Sydney. From the balcony we could see the Rock of Gibraltar, which could not be accessed from Spain in those days.
Britain: T-bone steak at Peelhouse Lane home of Great Britain rugby league centre, Eric Hughes and his wife, Jackie, Widnes, Cheshire. They bought it especially for my wife, Marie and I from a local butcher, after having experienced the great steaks in Australia, when Eric played for Canterbury-Bankstown.
Ireland: The t-bone at Jimmy Edwards.
FIRST PUB/BAR STOP
Europe: A ‘brown cafe’ in Amsterdam; Britain, A pub near our accommodation at Buckingham Gate, London. The name escapes me; Ireland: Jimmy Edwards Pub, Kinsale.
BEST PUB/BAR: Europe: Bar Le Rugby, Carcassonne; Britain: St Bede’s Club, Widnes; Ireland: Hooded Cloak, Macroom.
ONE ‘SPORTING’ EVENT:
Europe: Bull fight, Barcelona. Crass to describe it as a sporting event, I know. Bullfights no longer allowed in that arena; Britain: Rugby League Challenge Cup final, Wembley, Leeds 14 St Helens 12. crowd 98,000. The difference provided by late field goals by Les Dyl and David Ward; Ireland: Gaelic football, Croke Park, Dublin, with Malahide resident, Joe Duffy and his young son, Gary. Dublin 23 Offaly 3.
EVENT OTHER THAN SPORT
Europe: Easter Sunday Mass, Lourdes, France; Britain: Charles 1 execution Re-Enactment, outside the Banqueting House, Whitehall, London; Ireland: Medieval Banquet, Bunratty Castle.
Europe: Amazing Caves at the small town of Aracena, Spain. We had a local, Alfonso Perez Pardo as our guide; Britain: Chillingham wild cattle farm, Northumbria. Ireland: Baltimore Harbor.
MOST UNUSUAL EXPERIENCE
Europe: Breaking down in our Kombi, on the banks of Lake Geneva, and having a local couple take us in at their apartment at Nyon; Britain: Being snowed in at Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset for three days; Ireland: searched at gun point by British soldiers on crossing the border from the Republic (Donegal) into Derry.
FIRST THING OF NOTE ON TRIP.
A walk in St James Park, London, followed by the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
1 Marie Ricketts in St James Park, London, October 7, 1977
2 The Changing of the Guard
3 Steve Ricketts’ first English ale
4 Marie Ricketts and a Beefeater at the Tower of London.