While I was having my affair with Albert Trevino, he told me about a trip he had taken to Europe. He had a lot of pictures of his travels and it looked very exciting to me. I had been at Saint Francis for almost a year by that time which had seemed like an eternity. I was going to get some money back on my income tax and I started making plans for spending the summer of 1974 traveling from London, to Amsterdam, to Berlin, Munich, Athens, Rome, and Paris. I was supposed to go to Spain and Morocco too but I thought I fell in love in Athens and I ended up going back to Athens and spending the time there that I would have spent in Spain and Morocco. Altogether, I would spend about two and a half months in Europe. It was a great time but it never ocurred to me to take a camera!!
Before I left for Europe, I let David know that I was leaving and he was not going to be able to keep the apartment by himself on Larkin and so he went back to Washington State. A few weeks before leaving, I gave up the apartment and moved into a spare room with my old friend from San Diego, Leslie, at 1180 Sanchez Street. It was stressful staying with Leslie again but she was always very generous to me when I needed a place to stay. She had a new toy called “Pong” which connected to the television and was a rudimentary video game. I think it was either the first video game or one of the first. She also had something called a “blue box” for making long distance telephone calls for free. I am not sure where she got these devises at the time, but I learned some years later that these were some of the same devices that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs of what would become Apple Computer eventually, were playing with around that same time.
Leslie was always the outlaw. By this time she had lost a hundred pounds and looked quite a bit different than when I had first met her. She had been strung out on heroin at one point and had decided if she could kick heroin, she could also lose weight. She actually told me that she kicked heroin by taking seconals for several days and sleeping through the withdrawals. She had also fallen in love by this time with John, a man that would later become her husband.
When Mary heard that I was going to Europe, she wanted to go too but I had already made my reservations on a charter flight to London and so she booked a flight to Amsterdam and I was going to meet her there.
I had booked a bed and breakfast in Clapham Common outside of London which was pretty easily accessible by “the tube,” London’s subway system. The room was upstairs, in a family’s home. I believe they had one other guest in another room at the time I stayed there. I remember that I had brought some marijuana joints with me, hidden in my suitcase. I don’t think it was very much and when I reflect back on this, I can’t imagine what I was thinking, going through customs in a foreign country. I was just young and foolish I guess.
While in London, I went to a couple of plays. I saw James Stewart, a famous
American actor, in one of his signature roles, “Harvey.” I had always loved live theater. Although my seat was in a balcony, the theater was relatively small compared to some American theater’s I had been in. After the show, I stood by the exit and waited to get Jimmy Stewart’s autograph. That autograph has been one of my “treasures” ever since and one of the few souvenirs of my first trip to Europe.
Another night, I would attend a fairly new London hit, called “The Rocky Horror Show,” starring an actor named Tim Curry at the Kings Road Theater. It had won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical in 1973. A short time later, (1975), this musical would be made into a musical film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
I had a Eurail pass and which allowed you to travel with a group to Amsterdam. I met up with the group at Victoria Station and was told that I could sit anywhere on the train and they would let us know when to get off. An English guy and I ended up sitting together and no one came to tell us when to get off the train and we missed our stop and missed our ferry and had to find our own lodging for that night until we could catch the ferry the next day.
I don’t think that Mary had arrived yet in Amsterdam but I was going to initially stay in a youth hostel there to save money but it was way too youthful and loud and there was too much light to sleep. When I met up with Mary, we got ourselves a room at a little pensione on one of the canals. The stairs were very steep up to room. I don’t remember very much about our room but we did see all the usual sites. I would also leave Mary in the room while I went out to the gay clubs. She was not particularly happy about this but her happiness was not my main concern as I would have been perfectly happy traveling by myself. She had actually intruded a bit on my freedom by insisting on coming on the trip. I met the d.j. at one of the clubs I went to and went home with him and it was interesting to see the inside of an Amsterdam apartment. I insisted on looking through all of his cabinets to see what products he purchased and to see if anything looked familiar.
From Amsterdam, we travelled together to Berlin. The Berlin wall was still in existence and we went over to East Berlin. The thing that struck me about Berlin is how depressed everyone looked. It was what they called a “bummer” back then. East Berlin was especially depressing as all the buildings seemed to be the same shade of gray. In neither West nor East Berlin were there very many black people and it seemed like people were curious about Mary. Somehow we did wander off somewhere in East Berlin where we were not supposed to be and were corrected by a policeman. Although we had planned to stay in Berlin for a few days, I was ready to leave within about fortyeight hours.
We travelled together to Munich and got another room in another pensione and here I would leave Mary and go out on my own seeking other gay men and it didn’t take me long to find them. I met a guy in Munich and we panhandled for extra money so that we could get another room for him and I as I didn’t want to take him to the room where Mary was and did not want to go too far off my budget for the trip either. I can’t remember why it was that he didn’t have any place to take me, but he didn’t. My funds were pretty limited and I thought I knew how much to budget for each day. As it turned out, I would be way off on the budget anyway. Mary and I stayed a few days in Munich and saw the sights and visited the concentration camp at Dachau in between my having a torrid affair with the German I had met. At one point, on the train from Dachau back to Munich, I think Mary told me that she had terminated a pregnancy or was pregnant or something pertaining to gynecological problems. I don’t remember exactly what it was now and it seems like she was a little faint or something but it didn’t last long.
For some reason, though, we did not travel together to Athens. It seems like it might have had something to do with the affair I was having in Munich. Maybe Mary wanted some time to herself. I traveled down through Italy to Brindizi and took a ferry from there, while Mary travelled an entirely different route down through Thessaloniki, Turkey. She had stopped along the way in Thessaloniki and had her own brief romance apparently but then the guy she had the tryst with, tried to steal her camera or did steal her camera. Mary was very interested in photography back then and was taking pictures on the trip although I don’t remember ever seeing any of those photographs. I would like to have seen them or had copies as it hasn’t even occured to me to bring a camera but I don’t think Mary ever offered.
Mary and I had arranged to meet up again in a hotel room in Athens. As it turned out, the hotel had no air conditioning and was stifling hot. From our window, we could see the police station where the young policeman would sit out on their balcony in tighty whitey underwear which I didn’t mind at all. I found the local gay bars and met a young Greek man that didn’t speak any English. I thought I fell in love but now couldn’t even tell you what his name was. He had grown up in Athens and so he knew it well and we spent all of our time together for the most part. We communicated through an English to Greek dictionary. He considered himself a communist and thought America was a terrible place where everyone had guns and there were shootouts in the streets. He referred to Americans with the one word he seemed to know well, “gangsters.” I tried to describe to him what Castro street looked like at two in the morning as the bars were closing with literally hundreds of hot, horny gay men lined up along the sidewalk looking for someone to go home with but he didn’t believe that was possible and thought I was exaggerating. I wasn’t.
My young anti-American friend took me on a bus to a nude beach outside Athens one day and we rented on of those small paddle boats that you paddle with your feet. It was a beautiful day and the rocky beach was covered with Australian men in tiny speedos or entirely naked. We paddled out into what must have been the Aegean sea toward an island we could see from shore. It seemed the closer we got to the island, the further away it bacame. After paddling for quite a while, we stopped to have sex on the small paddle boat. When we were done, it looked like we were so far from where we had begun that we would never get back. We paddled and paddled and paddled some more. It was one of the craziest things I had ever done in my life. What did I know about currents in this sea? Had it even ocurred to me that one could drift out to sea and never be heard from again? We had no food or water on our little paddle boat. Who but the owner that had rented us the boat would even know we were out there? We paddled and we paddled. It was truly a miracle I think that we ever made it back to shore but we did. Miracles do happen.
One day I noticed a discharge from my penis that by this time was not totally unfamiliar during the short era of “sexual freedom.”. I told the Greek boy and he brought me to a Greek doctor that didn’t speak English. I don’t think that a prescription was even required in Greece for antibiotics but he did give me one anyway. He also sprayed my penis with some red stuff which was certainly not part of any treatment regimen I had experienced back in the states. Don’t judge. If you didn’t live during that period, it will be hard for you to relate to the sexual mores of the time for young men like me.
For some reason, again which I don’t remember, Mary and I traveled separately from Athens to Rome. The day I was leaving to go to Rome where I was to meet up with Mary again, there was a riot in Athens. I am not sure what the riot was about but my Greek friend and I got caught in it. We were just walking down the street when we came to an intersection. Looking one way was a mob of angry people coming toward us yelling in Greek. Looking the other way, there were small tanks heading toward the mob. A cannister was fired from the tank which went zipping across the pavement. We ran into a storefront just as they pulled down the metal door door behind us. I was worried about catching my ferry back to Italy and when it seemed a little quieter outside, we opened the metal door and ran through the streets for a couple of blocks and just that far away, you would never have known there was any protest going on that day at all.
In Rome I met up with Mary and saw the ruins of the Roman Empire. I loved Rome but I could not find any gay activity there and this frustrated me. I went to Naples and Pompeii one day but nowhere I went did there seem to be gay men that were interested in gay tourists from America. One night while watching the opera Aida at the Baths of Caracalla. a beautiful Italian man of about twenty started talking to me. He was sitting next to an overweight, unattractive middle age Italian man. After the opera they offered me a ride back to the part of town where my hotel was and I took them up on it. I had been flirting with the young man and thought that we were going to hook up. They said that they needed to stop for something and so we stopped and went into an apartment. They young man disappeared and left me with the middle aged troll. I was not so naive that I didn’t realize what was up. I went along with what they would call “mercy” sex, which is sexual activity but not necessarily intercourse you had when you were young and hot with someone that was not so young and hot and you just did it as a generous gesture to the “old toad.” It really wasn’t all that difficult or hard on me and sometimes it just seemed necessary. It was kind of like when I had to sell my body for money earlier in my life but now I wasn’t getting paid. Charity work.
Back at the pensione I had with Mary, I stepped out onto the balcony and romantically looked up at the moon, thinking that my communist boyfriend was looking at the same moon. Corney, I know. The next day I was supposed to meet Mary at the train station to catch the train to Paris… or was it Madrid? All I could think about was the young man in Athens that I had to communicate with through an English to Greek dictionary. I just wanted to get back to the communist boy that had given me an std. I did go to the train station. I did wait for Mary the time that I said that I would wait. While waiting, I noticed there wa another train leaving in the opposite direction, back to Brindizi. That train could take me back towards Greece and back towards romance. The minute Mary was late, it gave me the excuse to get on the train going back to Brindizi. I would feel guilty for this later and sorry to Mary as when she did arrive at the train station, she waited for me for an extended period of time. But I was selfish and didn’t really consider her feelings at the time. I was young and thought I was in love with a communist boy in Athens.
Back in Athens, I received my punishement for the way I had treated Mary- where it had been sunny and beautiful during my previous stay, it was now dark and raining. I found my infatuation and we continued our romance for another week or so but without the sun, there really wasn’t much to do and I soon grew board with the inability to have conversation. Sex is great but even in one’s twenties, you must take breaks in between sex. You can only say so much through an English to Greek dictionary. What once seemed romantic, now just felt strained and tiressome. . I had taken my antibiotic and had cured the clap that he had given me previously, but apparently he didn’t get treated at all for some reason and so I got it again and had to get more antibiotic. He didn’t seem to comprehend that just because he didn’t have any obvious symptoms, he still required treatment. I finally realized that I must let it go and move on. He came with me again to Patreus to catch the ferry once again to cross the Ionian sea to Italy.
As the ferry was departing from Patreus, and I was waving goodbye for the final time to my little communist, I noticed a few feet down the railing, a young man on the deck with a group of friends. His eyes were dark and his hair was curly and wild. He smiled at me and had a beautiful smile. As soon as we pulled away from the dock and I was no longer waving goodbye to my friend, he asked me if I had a cigarette or maybe I asked him for one. His name was Xavier and we would travel together to Paris, London and Venice. And again, I was so in love! He would be the one I would remember for all time. All the others were just summer romances in comparison but Xavier was the name that I would remember from that summer. His is the picture I would carry with me the rest of my life. He is the one that I made contact with again over thirty years later through Facebook and it would turn out that he had saved a picture all those years of me too.
Xavier was from Venezuela and had a beautiful Spanish accent. His was living in London and going to design and art school. His traveling companions didn’t kow he was gay but by that time in my life, my “gaydar” was working very well and it only took a glance and the meeting of eyes that would set it off. I went to his cabin on the ferry that he shared with his companions and when we were alone, we made love and then one of them walked into the cabin and discovered us in a compromising position but by that time, I think Xavier was ready to come out to his friends or just didn’t care in the throes of lust. We got off the ferry on the island of Corfu and slept in his sleeping bag on the beach. We frolicke in the crystal clear blue waters of Corfu before getting the next ferry and traveling to Paris and Venice and then on to London. I stayed in his apartment in London and he saw me to the bus that would take me to the airport for my departure. I swore I would be back to Europe the next year, but of course it was many, many years before I returned. Life happens. Other priorities take over.
From the journal I kept on my trip:
I have been planning since February for my first trip to Europe. I am about ready to begin. My planed leaves on the 17th of this month. I am flying on Pan Am Fl. 0617 which I made reservations for through Char Tours. It is a chartered group flight and dost $439 round trip. I have my Eu-rail Pass which is good for 2 months of unlimited travel in 13 countries of Europe. I have my passport. I have my travelers checks. I am packed. I am ready.
I have to work until the 4th. I have a Psychology final at City College on the 11th. I’m going to take the midnight flyer to L.A. and a week with my Mother. I will return to San Francisco on the night of the 16th. I leave for London at 6am on the 17th.
I’ve been wanting to go to Europe for years. Many people I have meant have been there and related exciting experiences to me. So many people I have met have told me about their travels that it was becoming obnoxious and finally when my friend, Albert, would show me pictures of Europe to my brother and I and be rambling on about what a wonderful place it was, I became extremely agitated. I had heard enough. My brother would encourage Albert to tell him more and finally I would have to leave the room.
I began making realistic plans at that time. It was late February and I had estimated how much money I would be getting back from the Internal Revenue. I had not claimed myself until the end of the year so I figured that I would get over $400 back. (Later I discovered I would only get $360 plus a $100 rebate).
My brother, David, was paying me $90 a month which helped with the $230/month rentI had to pay.
My salary was approximately $600 per month and I figured if I saved and worked at it, I could actually have everything together by June.
In early March, I contacted several travel agencies and asked about low fares. I discovered Char Tours and their charter group flights for $439. I discovered Eu-rail Pass. I discovered Frommer’s Europe on $10 a day.
With charter group flights, you must have your ticked completely pain for 60 days before your departure date. I had chosen a flight for June 17thwhich made my final payment day April 18th. I started payments in early March.
Several days before rent was due, my brother informed me that he was moving out. This threw me into a panic. It meant I would have to pay all the rent by myself. I paid the rent for March.
On the 12th, I told my landlord that we would have to wait until the 24th for the rent money. On the 25th of April, I moved in with a friend.
During the month of April, I discovered information about getting a passport. I had to sent away for my birth certificate.
I finished paying for my ticket by Friday the 18th.
I forced myself on a budget of $4 a day spending money.
The 1st of May, I bought a “fast pass” which would cover all bus rides in San Francisco for a month and help me stay on my budget. I was laid off from work on the 5th. Another panic.
I took my final paycheck and bought my Eu-rail Pass. It cost $270.
I filed for unemployment.
By the 26th they had called me back to work.
During this month, I wrote letters and made reservations at several hotels in Europe to avoid a frantic search once we get there.
Oh yes, I am now using the word “we” because my friend, Mary Jo, decided to meet me in Amsterdam.
ON June 3rd, I put most of my belongings in storage.
I bought $400 worth of American Express travelers checks on June 6th which brings us to today.
6/7/75- at home
I woke up late this morning and the mail had already arrived. I realized my tax rebate check means I can buy another $100 worth of travelers checks. That will give me $500 to spend until I get toRome.My regular tax check for $360 will be cabled to me there by my mother.
I tooth a bath and sitting here drinking coffee, thinking about my trip. Planning the last minute details. Obsessing over what to pack.
We are only taking back packs and want to travel very light.Besides the clothes I’ll wear on the plane, I believe I will only take one other pair of pants- my green cords. I will take two other shirts- my Hawaiian and plain gold; on sweater; one long underwear t-shirt; one tank top; socks and three pairs of underwear. I want to buy those fancy kind of underwear which can double as bathing suits and which are light and will take up very little room. Also I’ll be carrying one towel and miscellaneous toiletries. Also several books: “Let’s Go Europe,” “Frommer’s Europe on $10 a Day,” and a “Eu-rail Guide.”Also reservation confirmations and several pamphlets. \
It’s already 2:30 and time to leave for work. I made my bed andI’m ready to go.
6/11/75- at home
I’m through with work. I got my final paycheck. I was surprised. I hadn’t expected an extra $200. That will give me close to $700 to start my trip.
Yesterday, I went to Marin with Pat Holder to say goodbye to Larry Lewis. We had dinner and went out dancing. I got home sometime after 1am.
I was supposed to have taken my Psych final this morning at 8am. I didn’t make it, soI called my instructor and was told I can take it Friday. I was very disappointed in myself, although it will give me more time to study and possibly pass the test. I haven’t had much time or enthusiasm for study lately.
I called my Mother to tell her not to expect me until Friday night.
I attempted to call Mary, too, but she gave me the wrong number for her Mother and I was unable to a hold of her to tell her not to meet me at the airport tonight.
At this time, I am planning on taking the midnight flyer and returning Monday. I’m leaving for Europe on Tuesday. Six more days after today.
I wish I had some valium to relive the tension of waiting.
I continue to add and subtract from my pack. Obsessively.
6/12/75- at home
I continue with repacking.
Today I went and cashed my tax rebate check and my last pay check and bought $200 worth of travelers checks and $50 worth of English pounds. I also bought a pair of Boulet underwear which are suitable for beach wear.
Tonight, my brother,Jim Tarbert, is coming over from Hayward to pick up my stereo. That will leave me with a box of possessions and my pack.
Tomorrow I take my Psychology final and will probably leave for L.A. around noon. That will give me the 13th through the 16th to visit my Mother and everyone in Southern California.
At the moment, I am home by myself, laying on the waterbed. I don’t’ know what to do with my time.I suppose I can watch t.v.. It seems I have no energy the past few days. I believe they tension of waiting zaps all my energy from me.
I called my dear, sweet, aunt Ole in Spokane to tell her to try and come down to Southern California while I am there. I hope she can make it.
I feel like calling people everywhere but really can’t afford to.
I’m going to Europe. Hooray!
I was extremely anxious waiting for my plane to L.A.. I thought about taking a valium but decided against it. The night of the 12th I had gone out with my brother from Hayward for a drink which turned into several drinks. On the morning of the 18th, I took my hangover to school and had my Psychology final. I came home from school, packed for the final time and Louise and Paul drove me to the airport. On the plane I felt miserable.
I arrived in L.A. at approximately 2pm and still felt unrested. After some time period, I found Mary Jo or she found me and we went over to her sisters. We went and ate and I called my mom.
Mary Jo drove me to my Mother’s house through heavy smog and L.A. traffic. I was exhausted when we arrived in Brea and my thoughts were scattered and I left my sweater in Mary Jo’s car and she took it back to L.A. with her.
Mom had a good dinner prepared. We ate and socialized about my trip, psychology and my brother, Jim.
Mom and George went to bed early and my sister, Darlene, and I went out to Pamona for a few drinks and dancing. I saw an old acquaintance and asked him to give my regards to old friends.
Darlene and I got home at about 1am. We had an enjoyable evening. It was an exhausting day and I slept well that night.
My Mother is living in a suburban apartment complex with screaming kids everywhere. As I write this, I can hear everything the neighbors say. They plan on staying for another 10 months and they are hoping to go to Europe for 6 months shortly thereafter.
Darlene and I spend the day shopping for a bathing suit for her son Chris. I also bought some shaving cream and cologne- Jovan Musk Oil. We also bought a pecan pie for George and Fathers day cards.
I called my friend, Albert, this afternoon, who is staying with his mother in the city of Orange until summer school starts. He said he is returning to San Francisco Monday and offered me a ride which will save me plane fare.
George gave me $100 for my trip. It blew me away.
Ole should be arriving tomorrow at L.A. International Airport. I’m eager to see her.
Another day draws to a close.
I enjoyed my stay in L.A. I went out with my sister Darlene although she wasn’t feeling well. I saw old friends. We danced in Pamona.
I called Albert and arranged to fly back to San Francisco with him last night. I enjoyed his company immensely and enjoyed the opportunity to meet some of his friends upon arrival in San Francisco.
Today was hectic. Pat Holter brought me to the airport and I took a valium. I checked in early with Char Tours and Pat bought me lunch.
The plane departed late. WE waited and waited. And finally said goodbyes and I was loaded on the plane.
I had checked my bag and only took candy bars, books and magazines on the plane with me.
We flew over lakes, rivers, mountains and clouds at 37,000 feet. I read Norman Mailer’s “Marilyn.” It became dark. We were served a fine but sparse dinner of steak and potatoes. There was much turbulence and my coffee spilled.
The woman sitting on my left, a teacher from Berkeley, who’s name I can’t remember, offered to buy me a drink but I declined, explaining to her my fears of air sickness. She is congenial and I enjoy her company.
The woman on my right is pleasant but quiet and is from Paris.
We landed in Duluth Minnesota for refueling. We are told we will not be allowed to leave the plane during this process, which many of us had hoped to do to buy cigarettes. This was at 10:30pm, San Francisco time. We have yet 4032 milted to London. People are taking sleeping pills and getting situated with blankets and pillows for the remaining 7.5 hours. I’m given a Dalmane. I’m told there will be no movie and I’m very disappointed.
A snack, another valium and a Dalmane to follow. Over Greenland, Iceland and Scotland. On to London.
At 1am in the morning, San Francisco time, and the sun is rising. I attempt to sleep. At 1am San Francisco time, I awake, turning and twisting, impossibly trying to find a comfortable position. I was extremely thirst and requested a can of 7up and inquired about the time to London. I supposed that I would be exhausted upon my arrival. There seemed to be others on the plane with the same problem. All I could see below were clouds. White billowing clouds. I wished that I could stretch out on one of them and take a nap. The aircraft has lurched forward in time and has left my body behind. It is approximately 10am in London. The sun was up. Were were served breakfast.
6/18- In London
I arrived in London and made it through the airport chaos. Char Tours had a bus waiting to whisk us to downtown.
I called about my reservations and am staying somewhere I hadn’t anticipated but which is fine. I am exhausted and will write more about my arrival and accommodations later. Probably tomorrow. I’m suffering from jet lag I’m sure and my body doesn’t quite know what to do. It’s probably late at night in San Francisco. I hope I can sleep the night through. London time 7:40pm.
6/19- In London
Well I didn’t sleep the whole night through. London time 3:15am.
More about my arrival- My flight had been a pleasant one. Upon arrival I heard my first English accents in England. It was quite exciting.
Upon arrival at Victoria Station, it seemed to be rush hour. About 4pm in the afternoon. Everyone was rushing about so much that I decided to wait before checking out my reservations. I also wanted to buy a pen and write a bit.
I asked directions and people were quite friendly. I found a local drug store and bought a pen and then went back across the street to a small cafe and ordered a cup of coffee and had my first opportunity to spend English money. I had not idea how much I was spending. I must start figuring that and keeping track.
Everyone is so kind. I called Mrs. Zurita, who told me that she wanted me at Mrs. Joan Moynihan’s Guest House at 42 Francoina Rd in Clapham Common.
I walked across the street from the cafe to Victoria Station and took the tube (the subway) to Clapham Common. The ticket cost me 20p which is approximately 40 some odd cents.
I got lost in Clapham Common but soon found my way. It’s a friendly neighborhood with children playing along the streets that gave me directions.
My first impression of London is that is’s quite wonderful. The buildings are mostly brick and I passed many nice parks.
Mys. Monhiham is very nice and showed me to my room. It’s a double room with tow beds but she said she will only charge me for a single. It is clean and pleasant and I shall probably remain here for my stay in London.
I was unpacked and hung my things in the closet and put things in one of the dressers. It is quite homey. Mrs. Moyniham told me she would wake me at a quarter to 9am for breakfast and that I should call her Joan.
I suppose I shall try and sleep until 9am. Tomorrow I shall see London.
6/19- In London
I awake at 7am. I can’t sleep any longer so I get up, wash my face and shave. It’s a cold morning and I don’t know how to work the heater in my room, so I get dressed, wearing my green cords and Nik Nik sweater. I make my bed.
I’m waiting for someone to come and get me for breakfast.I don’t want to go wandering about this families home until I’m more oriented. I’m not sure, but I believe I may be the only paying guest at this time.
Outside my window, I hear the proprietress saying “naughty boy.” … “Your a bad boy,” to one of the children, a dog or something.
As I write, is is approaching 8:40am.
Today I will buy a tourist ticket for the tube and buses. Four consecutive days of unlimited travel will cost Pounds 2.90 or about $6.00. I am also planning on taking the “Round London” sightseeing tour which will be another 65 P. It’s definitely difficult to keep track of how much money I am spending.
At a quarter to 9am, Jean called me for breakfast. I had a bowl of cornflakes, English bacon, sausage, an egg and toast and coffee and some very pleasant conversation with my hostess.
After breakfast I am started on my first day. I want to write about everything but probably wont’ be able to get it all down.
I’m in a residential area on my way to the underground station. A milkman delivering quarts of milk with cream passes by. European small cars. A street sweeper. Brick houses. Black Austin cabs. Double decker red buses.
I have no problem reaching Victoria Station from Clapham Common and board the
“Round London” sightseeing bus. It is quite comfortable with ashtrays and adequate ventilation (little blowers from above).
The tour was comprehensive and our guided was quite good with a fine sense of humor. He gave us many interesting tidbits of information such as that it is a law in London that taxicabs be built so that gentleman can walk into it without knocking of his top hat.
We saw the Royal Hospital, h
ome of the aged, (pensioners) built by Wren between 1682-1692; Battersea Power Station which provides most of London’t electric power, located on the Thames River and has chimneys over 300 feet hight; Tate Gallery of British Art; Lambeth Palace, dating from 1450 and which is the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury; Houses of Parliament, which architecturally is called “sham-gothic” designed by Barry and Dugin and opened in 1852; The Victoria Tower is the largest isolated tower in the world; the law courts; Saint Paul’s Cathedral which has the second largest dome in the world; The Parrish Church of the Commonwealth; Nelson and Wellington are entombed there; Central criminal court surmounted by Justice holding a sword and scales; Bank of England; Royal Exchange; The “Monument, 202 feet hight and commemorated the G
reat Fire of London of 1666- erected in 1671-1677; HMS Belfast- largest cruiser ever built for Royal Navy; Tower Bridge; Tower of London, “The City’s ancient fortress built by William the Conquerer; Cleopatras Needle, from her city of Heliopolis and over 3,500 years old; Parliament Square’ Westminster Abbey, founded by Edward the Confessor in 1065 and which has seen
every coronation since it’s foundation; The National Gallery; Admiralty Arch; Piccadilly Circus; Speakers Corner- Hyde park; royal Albert Hall and many others all in about 2 hrs.
I spend the afternoon in Piccadilly Circus wandering about. I came back to the guest house and took a nap from about 6-10pm. Still suffering from jet lag. I went out for a bit by pubs are closed at about 11pm so I came back to the guest house. It is no 1:30am.
6/20- In London
I awake at 7am, unable to sleep any longer. I smoke a cigarette. I contemplate my day. I must call a “switchboard” and find out where I can get some tetracycline. I can’t figure out where I picked up my present need for the medicine bu I know that definitely is a need.
I hear others awake in the guesthouse. Although I haven’t seen the other guests, Joan has told me she has four at the moment. I hear a radio playing “rock and roll” or “pop” or whatever.
I get dressed. I walk out into the hall to see about taking a bath but someone is in there. I return to my room and get back into my bed with my clothes on. I smoke another cigarette.
Today I am wearing my green cords and Hawaiian print shirt. It looks as if it will be warm enough.
I am writing. I am passing time until I can use the bath. I am planning my day. I am waking up.
Things I must do today: see a doctor; exchange some money; make reservations or plan my trip to Amsterdam. I would like to see the Tower of London in depth and changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. I will probably do a lot of walking.
I eat breakfast with the other guests. There is a woman from West Africa and English gentleman who is on “Holiday.” I have a fine breakfast and after breakfast, I have a fine conversation with Joan’s son of about 16 or 17 about rock music, school and tourist sights.
I’m on my way shortly thereafter and it’s a beautiful day. Birds singing. Sun shining. Crossing Abbevilla Road, I am almost hit by a car. I walk up Elms Road to Clapham Common. I notice the red tubular mailboxes, the big red telephone booths. I sit for a minute at the corner of Elm and Clapham Common across the busy street of Clapham Common from a spacious park. I need to find a 2P piece to put in the telephone to call the switchboard.
I notice that many of the young boys wear black suites with emblems and ties.
I get change and call the switchboard and am told to go to Hyde Park Corner, Saint George’s Hospital, but to call first being that I am an American.
I buy some mild in a strange, light, collapsable plastic bottle. It costs 7P for a quart. That’s about twenty cents.
I call Saint George’s but am told to call back later. I decide to wanter for a while. I exchange $53.00 for 14.22 pounds at the exchange rate of $2.32 per English pounds.
I try Saint George’s again and am told to come into the outpatient department at 4:45pm.
I’m off to see the Tower of London.
After arriving at Tower Hill station, I went to a drug store and bought some air pillows for my shoes.
I went to “All Hollows By the Tower” built in A.D. 675. A collegiate foundation of Richard III (1483-1485). The Saxons built the 1st church over a Roman villa, the floor of which may still be seen. Kings and Queens of England from earliest times have worshipped here. The holy ground was the last resting place of many victims of the …. It looks very old, but the inside has been restored quite nicely. Organ music is playing as I enter through a revolving door. There are sculptures and museum pieces. Model ships. There is a tomb of George Snayh 1602-161 and Phillip Thomas Byard Clayton 1875-1972 and a lot of other commemorations to other Londoners. There is a plaque which says that this is the most ancient parish church in the City of London but was restored after being destroyed above ground by two air raids in December, 1940, and rededicated in the presence of Queen Elizabeth by the Lord Bishop of London in July, 1957.
There is a pleasant little plaza with benches, people sunning themselves and flowers in blood outside the church aND a few steps to the left as you go toward the Tower of London.
As you go out of the plaza, there are vendors selling soft drinks. I buy one.
The Tower of London is circled by a black iron fence. Taxi cabs line the street waiting to pick up tourists School children come and go in large groups.
I pay the entry fee and join a tour led by a “Beefeater,” who tells us many interesting stories. Many beheadings. The grounds are quite interesting and will take a while to assimilate. Very impressive.
After the tour, I pay 5P to see the Regimental Museum of the Royal Fusileers. I wander off to White Tower. Much too much to write about here. Armour dating from centuries ago. Weapons, spears and beautiful rifles. I saw the chopping block and other attractions and bought post cards and a pamphlet.
After the Tower of London, I wandered somewhat aimlessly until I came across the “Monument” commemorationg the Great Fire, previously seen on my tour yesterday.
I was becoming extremely hungry and shaky but went on.. I came to Saint Paul’s. It was fantastically gigantic! I bought more post cards and another pamphlet.
I went on until I came to an ABC restaurant and ate some sort of strange food. It was cheap, though.
Then I just had time to make my appointment at Saint George’s Hospital.
They did the usual routine of drawing blood except with different methods. It all came out the same and everyone was pleasant.
Yesterday was extremely busy and extremely exhausting. I certainly didn’t get it all down in this book! I entirely forgot to mention the impressive “Crown Jewels.” I particularly liked the Star of Africa diamond.
After Saint George’s Hospital, I went for a walk in Hyde Park and bought some juice to take the tetracycline which had been prescribed. I bought a copy of the magazine, “Time Out.”
I decided to go see a play and headed for Piccadilly Curcus on the “tube.” By the time I got there I was sneezing a lot and bought some Dristan.
I bought a ticket to “Harvey” with James Steward and wandered around waiting for 8:00pm. I continue to have a runny nose like hay fever.
James Steward was fantastic. Harvey was much fun and afterward I got James Stewars autograph and talked to some girls from Ohio.
I went home and fell into bed at about 12 midnight and immediately was sleeping. It is now another day.
I eat breakfast with an elderly lady and gentleman from Northern England. They seem to be good friends of Hoan’s. Joan’s younger son joins us.
After breakfast, I’m off. Wandering Clapham Common and I gointo a bit of sneezing. It’s practically impossible or, rather, at this time IS impossible to find any real fresh orange juice. I take some dristan I have with me. I need to buy a handercheif!
I decide that if I’m going to actually spend money for a handkerchief, I might as well get one I like. I decide I want a red, Western type hankerchief which turns into a search of several hours taking me to Brixton and then to Bond Street and then to Carnaby.
Carnaby has a lot of street salesman and the street is actually for pedistrians only. I find a shop that has something like what I want.
I then went to the tube and went to Baker St. station whereafeter I walked a block to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. It is better than any other was musems and was very interesting.
After Madam Tussauds, I went to Chelsea to buy tickets to “The Rocky Horror Show” for the evening.
I went and ate at a “Pot” and then went back to the guest hourse and took an hours nap. Went to the play– went to a club, “The Napoleon (dull)– came back to the guest house. Exhausted.