Have You been ?

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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Saxon » 12 Jul 2020, 23:33

You got me interested in this thread a while back with mention of the 'Blue Train' in South Africa.
While a lot of my traveling has not been vacation type, a lot of it just living there, or work related, so I will not be rating 'Fine dining' or guided tours.
I think I have been to 11 of your first 100, plus a lot not mentioned.
So the London part. Plenty of trips to the football grounds in the 1966-71 era, couple of weekends visiting relatives in Balham. Most notably 1965 FA Cup final, which I didn't know I was going to until midnight before the game when my neighbour came down with appendicitis and his Wife came and gave me the bus and game ticket.For a15 yr old boy never forget that.My Dad put a piece of paper with his name and address on it and shoved it in my top pocket, said " If you get clobbered with a bottle the police will know who to contact".Well we got beat by liverpool, but I survived.Another time league cup 68,we beat Arsenal. Drinking with West Ham skinheads after the game, ending up in some club with them, girls with crazy make up and black tongues freaking us out.You got to remember this was 68, I'm 17, and a north country boy.
Next up a couple of trips to the holiday islands in Spain, nothing spectacular, seemed like the whole of England was there at the same time as us.
Also around this time, Leeds United pre season tour of Ireland, only went to the Shellbourne game in Dublin and one year on a fishing trip to a small town called Cappoquin very close to Cork.

Getting to the Blue Train part. For a few years in the early 1970's I lived in Southern Africa. I never traveled on the blue train but rode on most of their tracks on service trains.First leg Johannesburg to CapeTown.I criss-crossed the southern part of the continent several times by train when living in South Africa, Rhodesia,Botswana, and Swaziland.I didn't always travel 1st or 2nd class,4th class with a thousand miners going home for Christmas is an experience, one time coming back from a copper mine in north east Botswana in an empty caboose. I mentioned somewhere earlier in this thread I lived in Muizemburg on the outskirts of Cape Town, never been to Rio, but Cape Town must be the most spectacular scenery you ever saw.Driving to work passing Groote scure hospital where Dr Christian Bernard was performing the first world heart transplants, in front of Table mt every day you felt good to be alive.
Fortunately my family upbringing made me realize that I was in a place where people were surpressed and de -humanized if that is the word, I didn't want no part, so it was time to go.
Forgot to mention a trip to South West Africa, now called Namibia. This was a German colony up until first world war when the South Africans invaded on our behalf, problem was they never went back, they were what you call it, annexed it, even though league of nations and later United nations told them get out.I went there for a long weekend playing football for a team in Cape town, the town was called Orangemund, a totally secured area mining diamonds.The route was a bus driving up what is called 'Skeleton coast, for all the shipwrecks littering the shore from the violent storms in that area of the Atlantic.
Setting off early December 72 in my little mini moke with a kid from Nottingham, didn't have a plan, we drove north for about 20 days, passing through country of Lesotho and capital city Maseru, fantastic scenery here also, Drakensburg mountains, clear rivers and waterfalls on the edge of the escarpment.
We were sleeping anywhere we could, couple of campsites, on the ground, in the car.Our diet mostly consisted of bread, fruit and groundnuts during the day,meeting local people at markets, at night we would camp in a remote place and cook meat on our knives over the fire, washed down by a few beers and share a bottle of brandy. Back over the border into SA then on to Swaziland, same routine, visit capitol city Mbabne. Little did I know that one town we passed through, Bulembu would become my home 3 years later.Few more days, back into SA and we're off to Rhodesia.Passing through the area of Kruger game park and others, we are not allowed to enter being in an open vehicle.
Had a bit of trouble entering Rhodesia, no cash, long hair, car painted with big daisies didn't go down too well with immigration, country was being ruled by Ian smith's Rhodesia Front party, another party with apartheid tendencies, which a few years earlier had declared UDI, unilateral declaration of independence from Britain. Finally allowed in,few days later arrived in capital city Salisbury.Christmas eve.I met my wife that night, we're here now 47 years later in Boston USA,that's another story. I can honestly say Rhodesia was the best place I ever lived, except for race discrimination, war of independence, civil war between Robert Mugabe's shona Zanu and the matabelie Joshua N'komo's zapu party I would still be there.
Things are getting complicated, I'm getting called up for the army to fight, that didn't worry me, I was well trained, fit and a marksman with .303 & .22.
Who I would be fighting was the problem,my girlfriend's brothers? fighting for a country who thinks it's future is segregation was the problem. Anyway to avoid this situation I Left the country with my girl and her 2 children who I later adopted in UK.
Now I'm in Botswana,fully independent country, settle down for a couple of years.Live in capital Gaberones for a while working for road construction company, owners son was formula 1 racing driver , name of Astaldi, then on to town of Lobatse, only a few miles from SA border for a couple of years. I am featured in an auto magazine at this time. there was a rally every year racing around the country and I did some last minute machining modifications for a famous international competitor who would be unable to race otherwise.I'm doing good here, good job, boys are going to the same school as president and Lady Karma's children.Now Portuguese government is overthrown, new socialist government takes over and gives independence to all it's overseas territories,nothing wrong with that, majority rule, but you just can't walk out, you have to prepare these places for independence.Now just over the border, we have a 3 way civil war in Angola and thousands of Portuguese citizens abandoned by their government.Refugees pour over the border,heading for SA, families with just the clothes they are wearing and a few belongings, convoys of trucks passing us, black or white, we give them water, meat and bread. what a world. I get passed over for promotion at work, being young and stupid, i do something stupid.I find another job in independent country Swaziland in the mines, town of Bulembu which I passed years earlier. Take my family there and start all over again. After 6 months in Swaziland I decide going back to the UK for a while is best.Best for my children's education, my wife could work at some meaningful job, give me time to get my bearings again.
After a couple of years in UK I'm getting restless, my wife and children stay in UK while I go back out on the road.
Next stop on the list is Jerusalem, actually I'm living in Tel Aviv. Myself and friends visit Jerusalem quite often on Saturdays, day off work.Saw all the holy sites. what I remember most about the place was the atmosphere in the Old city, it's a sort of silence, like being inside an English cathedral. One visit we found a bar in the Arab section where beer was only 7 cents, that's like free beer, yes we stayed there quite a while.I had become friends with 2 Glasgow Rangers Fans.One day we went to a Pro football match in Jaffa, just up the coast.Ball gets kicked out of the stadium, game goes on with another ball, somebody outside kicks ball back in and it hits Ranger fan no1 on the back of the head, he thinks somebody whacked him and fight starts, we all get kicked out.
Amsterdam, around 79 or so I was living in Nordvik, working in a town called Sassenheim, in the middle of the flower industry, took a ride to Amsterdam couple of times, exactly what you hear and expect. In and out of UK at this time,next stop down in Bavaria small town called Mindleheim. Beautiful small German town, wine fest in the castle.Moved on to Munich after a while, great city, best in Europe some said, this is 1980 remember. Highlight of my stay there was going to Bayern Munich v Munich 1860 league game at the Olympic stadium , this was scheduled as part of the Octoberfest. Tradition in Bavaria that many employers take their workers to a night out at the festival park.Where I worked I couldn't go as I was working 2pm-11pm shift. I got extra meal and beer tickets to attend another time.The night our place went a bomb planted by neo nazis went off killing 19 people and injuring dozens,all our guys and their families were unharmed.
Straight from Munich I'm in New York 1980, arrived on election day, New York is crazy that, day Ronald Reagan was elected, Jimmy Carter was President at the time.
Carter had a tough time, oil crisis, hostage situation in Iran, failed hostage rescue.I always thought Carter tried to be diplomatic, negotiate, before coming out with all guns blazing. Jimmy Carter was and still is a humanitarian, I hope history treats him kinder and with respect that he's not had since his term in office. I'm nearly done but I have to be up early, i have a few more to go on the list, another time.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 13 Jul 2020, 07:56

Good interesting read that Saxon :thumbup:
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 13 Jul 2020, 10:23

Great post Saxon :thumbup:
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Davycc » 13 Jul 2020, 11:34

As a bit of interest you can link to the page of this thread in your pin in the "Places Visited" map in the New Members section. Would be good to click on the map and be taken to a related story.

Map is here https://maphub.net/davycc/lufctalk-visited Username -Davycc. Password Leeds1972

I've entered a link in Selby White's pin at Shanghai as an example. Easy to do, just copy the page address on the relevant page here in the "Have You Been" section then click on the place name in your list on the map and paste it to the link box provided.

You can also enter a link to the map in your post on here https://maphub.net/davycc/lufctalk-visited to go see any attached photos.
"A man with new ideas is a madman - until his ideas triumph" Marcelo Bielsa.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Sniffer » 13 Jul 2020, 19:27

Saxon, that was a great read.
NYC 1980 must have been eye-opening. It's a tourist mecca now but back then it was rough as badgers' arseholes (which is a Somerset colloquialism). I look forward to your next instalment.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 13 Jul 2020, 19:47

I remember a friend of mine going to New York in the mid 70’s & the first thing he was told was not to look up at the skyscrapers as that showed you were a tourist, easy pickings. Have to say any New Yorkers we met were fantastically friendly.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Sniffer » 13 Jul 2020, 19:58

I've got a friend who has been there every year since '87. When he first went there his local cinema played hard-core gay porn. It's now playing The Lion King. Rudy Giuliani "tidied" NYC up. Probably to the detriment of the people actually living there but, hey, us tourists are a hell of a lot safer. Double-edged swords and all that.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Sniffer » 09 Aug 2020, 21:52

Sniffer wrote:Vienna
The better half started me travelling. I got my first proper passport for our first overseas holiday together - a rail tour to Jenbach and Vienna. We were the youngest in the group by about 40 years but it was a great mix of people. Jenbach is in the Austrian Tyrol and has three different railways. The mainline which is operated by The ÖBB, a steam operated cog and rack-railway - The Achensee Railway - and the Zillertal Steam Railway to Mayrhofen, sometimes called a toy railway as it's a smaller version of the real thing. One night there was a big party in one of the engine sheds to mark the 150th anniversary of the railway reaching Jenbach. We were all invited - Oompah band, buxom waitresses, frothing steins - what's not to like.
Anyway, Vienna was the second part of the trip. A beautiful city that we spent the days we had there wandering, marvelling and exploring. And on the last night there was a spectacular storm with lightning flashing around the mountains.

Frankfurt
A technical yes as I changed trains here and had a brief nose around. Didn't see much.

Dubrovnik
I got the ferry from Split to Dubrovnik on a blisteringly hot day. We were joined by dolphins who piloted us towards the old harbour. As I walked down the gangplank dozens of Slavic babushkas screamed "Pension, pension, pension". I was reminded of Brock's Song of the Battery Hen " … a kind of one-word wail, I am the one who sounds loudest in my head". But no pension for me as I was camping with Raf, the Canadian I'd met on the boat, and his girlfriend.
He said he knew where the campsite was.
We eventually found it.
This was before the war and Yugoslavia was pretty much as Tito had left it. To change money in a bank you had to see 5 different people and if you changed up £50 you became a dinar multi-millionaire. Back then you would see a 5000 dinar note lying in the street and you'd leave it there as it would be worth pennies. But still you'd be self-conscious because of your imagined new-found wealth. Another memory, a tale told by my German teacher at school: A man in Weimar Germany sees a wheelbarrow full of money. He empties out the money and steals the wheelbarrow.
I have often thought of going back to Dubrovnik, taking the better half this time, but how do the scars of war hang on this beautiful old town?


I've just found the diary I was writing during that trip. The snoring lady in Bruges was called Lucy. Raf in Dubrovnik was with former girlfriend, Natasha. I spent 3 days in Munich... I know nobody cares but I had a laugh reading it.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby johnh » 13 Aug 2020, 19:02

Saxon, my journey from Liverpool to Leeds to Morley to Maidenhead to Spalding to Maidenhead pales into insignificance.
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