This was my second and last InterRail adventure; alas I didn’t keep a journal of the first, merely some photographs.
This time in July 1981 Gary Hayes a great friend of mine from the City of London Polytechnic (studying business studies) accompanied me for nearly three weeks before we parted company, with me heading towards northern France, him southbound to Spain, Portugal & Morocco.
I really was an independent traveller in those days!
I also seemed a little obsessed with girls, alcohol, eating & of course strong cigarettes…..
Probably in that order!
7th July 2013
My husband Peter was 22 years old when this was written… I have forgiven him – I think!
7th July 2013
5.00am get up.
Paris Gare Saint-Lazare – shopping for bread, wine, café omelette salad, coffee express (5 replays on pinball).
Greta & cousin (2 blonde Abba look-a-likes) from Sweden, her cousin gave me the flu…
Never reach Copenhagen – journey too much too soon.
Arrive (sick) 8.30am Hamburg Youth Hostel – non validated card!
Concrete statue – wine, rain.
Local pub (“bockwurst”).
Smashed Gary at giant chess.
Good YHA breakfast
Morning trip (45 minutes out) to “Bad Oldesloe”.
Lunched in sunshine, snack bar (cheap), shopping in CO-OP.
Went to Frankfurt!
Good drink in “Elvis” bar.
Left Frankfurt 11.30pm with German vicar & wife (deaf).
Good sleep, arrive Innsbruck 6.30am cold, pouring it down
Eventually change money, catch number 4 bus to non-recognised Youth Hostel 17b Rennweg (can’t book in till 5pm).
Gentle, inefficient, tall warden with beard.
Depressed and raining – shopping.
Met 2 American girls (cider smelling) & 2 British guys (useful map) in waiting room – find out disastrous “Test” results from Aussie women.
Young peoples’ waiting room.
Religious museum – mainly Jesus paintings and statues.
Lots of walking, sunshine later river overflowing.
American academic at Youth Hostel.
I accidentally shower with girl!
Gary locked in shower!
Felt sick in night, got up 2 or 3 times – onset of flu, loss of appetite, loath salami & wine.
Best day yet – breakfast with 2 Canadian girls.
At last, sunbathing in park, shorts.
Cable car – sunbathing on peak, 7000 ft+, American wind troupe “girls”.
Waited 4 hours in park for train to Vienna.
Cabin to ourselves most of night except one smelly guy.
Good night’s sleep.
Arrive Wien 6.10am.
(Kind of )
Catching Budapest train leaves 10.10am (got on 8.40am).
Shared cab in glorious weather with 1 Spaniard and his American friend (very helpful) 1 German (didn’t speak) & 1 Belgian (refused entry).
Arrived 2.35pm, queued for ages at exchange – met outside station 3 Danes also looking for campsite.
Greatly helped by local man.
Paradise, tent up, we drink beers and eat water melons.
Make good friends with 3 Danes from Sonderburg names are:
Lene (17) tall, dark & sexy.
Vagn (18) robust, albino type (bloke with B.O.).
Kirsten (19) shy, blond, missed boyfriend, cried in tent.
Very friendly (immoral) drinks & talks until dark.
Got up, slightly damp, early, went swimming/sunbathing.
Glorious weather, few beers, drinks, ice lollies, sausages.
Walked round area, bought water melons.
At 7pm walked with Danes to pub nearby but no hot food.
Took underground to end of line & found restaurant.
Live fish in small tank – desperate for air –traditional Hungarian meal with wine, beer & bread all for 157 Forints.
Nine beers with Vagn & Gary, discuss music.
Thunderstorm & rain in the night – tent waterproof.
Got up had breakfast bread, jam, butter, coffee, water melon & orangeade.
Bought food for journey to Lake Balaton.
(Found Danes going there too but don’t go with us though).
Catch 13.15 train from Deli pu arrive just after 3pm at wrong station.
Gary nearly left behind on train – Siofok.
Walk miles back to main station, no room in campsites, touristburo – still no room but meet Doug (Kiwi) & Jo (Cornish) – desperate.
Meet Danish trio again at number 1 bus stop!
Walk back to where originally came from – still full (though Lene nearly got us in) – they decide to go back to Budapest to get train to Beograd.
Gary, Jo, Doug & I get pissed at lakeside beer bar (camp pub)
Jo spots “Zimmer Frei” sign hotel room for 3 to 4.
Bath, luxury, sleep in double bed with Gary, Doug on floor, Joanna on other bed.
Tea in room on gas stove.
Bus 1 back to station, chicken sausages, coca cola.
Sit on lakeside.
Catch 13.59 train to Budapest arrive about 4pm.
Walk for about 1 hour (after deciding to catch 20.40 Orient Express) and go to fabulous restaurant traditional Hungarian meal (meat, paprika, cream, clumped rice).
Wine and beer – very cheap.
Train 50 minutes late in leaving, cabin to ourselves at first.
Searched by both customs.
Supplement (reservation feed) 10 Deutschmarks – given change in Forints.
Shared with 5 other backpackers from 2am – 5am, very uncomfortable, then free till 9am.
2 blokes let us sample “vodka”.
Gary forgets his passport & money in toilet.
Arrive 1.30pm humid & hot, try few hotels but full, until opposite “lux” Hotel Nord find class II Hotel “Gravita” with TV, showers, but 125 Lei each per night!.
Go for meal 52 Lei!!
(Wine, beef, rice, peas, side salad, bread, mineral water).
Rather more expensive than anticipated.
Go for walk later, can’t find any beer.
Bought expensive (25 Lei) water melon from dark market lady, ate it in hotel room afterwards.
Cards (knockout whist).
Get up, thunder & rain!
Pay 90 Lei supplement, oh no!
Long journey with family (plump daughter) arrive 6.30pm.
Small sunny station.
Walk to Saturn camp site, just have enough money to pay for 2 nights.
Change money (after problems) at local luxury hotel.
Found cheap “autoservice” ate bread cakes, faggots & mash, 17 Lei for both!
Laugh with cashier, I thought it was 172 Lei!
Went for walk to find beer – still no!
Retired early – “Voice of America” radio station in special English.
Arose 9am – horrible toilets.
Cheap chicken & rice breakfast & horrible, vile, disgusting orangeade.
Down to beach, fantastic.
5 Lei per half litre, hurray!
Fish in leaves lunch with orangeade.
Postcards, Pepsi Cola & walk to find “Sud Mangalia Bahnhof” failed – but find more beer.
Celebrate Prince Charles – Lady Di’s wedding, prost!
Chain smoke Symphonia cigarettes.
Waiter tries to buy camera, watch & exchange money – f*** off!
Early to bed – tired & Voice of America.
Got up early, windy, breakfast of meat sandwiches & lemon tea.
Pack up, at train station about 9.30am get on train.
Gary tries to get “platzkarten” – fails – sit for 1 hour then have to stand for about 4 hours.
Nude mud-bathers – yuk!
Meet nice (at last) Romanian guy, gives us grapes, yum, yum!
No supplement for standing.
Arrive Bucharest; wait ages for left luggage, bloody German kids.
Two pints of beer – quickly.
Buy water melon (15 Lei).
Jupiter restaurant again – same old meal!
Catching 10.50pm train to Beograd.
Real bad luck on 13th day of InterRail.
Gary changes £10 while temporarily insane – platzkarten reservation troubles again – stuck with dead currency.
Hopping mad on station platform, buying spree – bread, wine, tomatoes, biscuits, cigs – anything!
Finally get seats in crowded cabin.
Close shave for seats, uncomfortable night’s sleep.
Arrive Vasac approximately 9 am after extensive customs searching of seats, roof and passports.
Arrive Beograd approximately noon at wrong station again!
Change Lei for Dinars (1:1).
Catch 34 bus to central station.
Decide 7.05pm Venice train.
Go to “out of town” fortress on riverside – lovely.
Eat chicken and water melon by wall.
Two ice lollies & wine – see WWII tanks & guns – bliss.
Train two and a half hours late, we have to stand, very bad, however talk to “Englishman” (lives in France on Lake Geneva) called John.
Cary Grant type – six languages – widely travelled (courier).
Get a good sleep on carpeted (1st Class) corridor floor 11.30pm-6am.
Awake Ljubljana – fairly good going 6am.
Gary still asleep, talk with John until he awakes.
Meet John’s “café” nieces, very nice, change trains at Trieste at noon.
Long 3 hour journey to Venice.
Say goodbye to John at Mestre (for shopping).
Meet 2 English (Beverley) girls at left luggage.
Shopping – bread, wine, cakes, grapes.
Meal at restaurant – tiny flatfish lasagne.
Meet (blonde) Rennata & (brunette) Kersten (from Stuttgart) on 6.30pm train to Nice.
Good sleep with Rennata!
They get off at Monaco.
Arrive Nice 8.20am.
Catch 9am train to Marseille.
Arrive dull & raining 11am, dull and spitting but hot.
Go to tourist caravan for information on Youth Hostels.
Try Vieux Port for foreign exchange – no luck!
Back to station, eventually find exchange with great help from young Frenchman but closed until 2pm!
Meet Welsh pit electrician from Rhonda valley and Guy from Chichester who had lost his passport & InterRail!
Went to wrong Youth Hostel, sandwich, bar, beer.
Find Youth Hostel de Ville 5.40pm, not much room left.
Shower, shave, hair wash – humanised.
Out for cafeteria meal then fair – dodgems.
Get back 10.45pm, drinks, bed – asleep immediately.
Good breakfast, plenty of coffee, say goodbye to Guy (he was going to Nice).
Grit beach, enclosed lagoon – fantastic!
Topless bathing & girls, girls, girls!
Casino Supermarche – smoked ham, cheese, bread, water.
Six and a half hours sunbathing.
Five/six swims, clear water, fish.
Meal at cafeteria again – steak in mushroom sauce with plenty of chips, carafe of rose wine.
Excellent but knackered.
Breakfast with two Californian girls Wendy (blonde) & Mindy (freckled).
Two and a half hours on beach, so hot!
Three swims, cold beer, have to leave beach.
Casino restaurant – ice cream (chocolate) “peach melba”.
Gary rings home, gets a 2:2 (lower second class honours degree).
Gary goes back to the beach; I have to retreat to the Youth hostel.
Speak to a few Irish and Scottish lads.
Tea with girls.
Gary and I decide to split, him going to Spain, Portugal & Morocco – me to the North of France.
Meal at restaurant, steak chips &rose wine, badly sunburnt – sweating continuously.
Irish guy gives me novel to read – good.
Scottish guy stays free for two nights!
Check out ok.
Catch long, hot bus journey to station.
Left luggage lockers.
Gary decides on Lisbon, noon train!
I go to Bordeaux on 4.30pm train.
Wish good luck and goodbye to Garry!
Share journey to begin with an attractive French mother and son, a druggie & an African.
Arrive in Bordeaux about 11.30pm.
Catch train to Quimper almost immediately after midnight.
Terribly cramped night’s sleep.
Arrive about 9am.
Catch number 1 bus to Youth Hostel; get booked in for two days.
Go for long walk in the morning around the town.
Eventually finish up in its beautiful cathedral.
Go and eat lunch by side of river & give 5 Francs to old “helpful” man.
Go back to Youth Hostel early and read Newsweek International on space shuttle.
Later do some shopping, 2 pork chops, peas, potatoes & soup (yuk!).
Ring home – couple of letters, nothing important I think.
Talk mostly to French-speaking German from Stuttgart (cycling).
Have awful breakfast with lots of German schoolgirls; decide to leave one day early, loony warden.
Walk to station & catch 9.45am train to Paris arriving 4.09pm.
Decide to go home straight away on 21.20pm boat train, via Dunkerque & Dover to London Victoria.
Go for meal with 50 francs to restaurant – only 1 franc change!
Go to waiting room to sit – many InterRailers.
Get to platform 4 – speak first to Danish physiotherapist from Nottingham – then met young (17) New Yorker (on bicycle) called Adam Mozes.
Good (but rolling) ferry trip, awful cramped train Dover-London.
Left luggage, coffee, newspaper, say goodbye.
Arrive King’s Cross 9am, train to Hull left 9.05am – just catch it.
Argument with British businessman from Nigeria.