Saturday, July 9, 2011

January, 1969 - Off to Europe - Southampton to Cherbourg, France.

'Tabitha' the Taxi had her engine lovingly checked over by David, her cabin inside was my territory, the curtains were washed and up on the windows, sleeping bags were ready and I had boxes full of all sorts of dried and tinned foods.  I shopped at Tesco's for  tinned Tuna, tinned Tom Piper Stewed Beef, tinned Baby Potatoes, tinned Carrots, dried Surprise Peas, dried Mashed Potato, cereals,  cleaning liquids and what ever else we thought we might need.  (awful sounding foods to me now)

Finances were tight, we wanted to see as much as we could, as many Museums as we could and knew Diesel Fuel and food shopping was much cheaper in England than it was in France so we arrived prepared.  Also remember we were Anglo-Aussies, we were used to overcooked lamb and three over cooked vegetables, a Chinese Take away meant you took your pot to the Chinese shop, if you were lucky to have one in town, and had it filled with Fried Rice and something else pretty bland and simple.  French food was rare as was Spanish, the most exotic we'd cooked was Spaghetti Bol, it would be an insult to call it Bolognese :-)  That's not to say we weren't keen to try new foods but decided to limit one meal a day in each town we stayed in, that way we could make our money last as long as possible.  We had a set price... if the Menu in the window of a Restaurant we were interested in had Prawn Cocktails at the value of 3/6 (three shillings and sixpence) we could afford to eat there!

We were both members of the Australian Youth Hostel Association, and our Bank of New South Wales in Sackville Street, London set up an Itinerary for us which we didn't follow to the letter but was very useful as a guide.  

Below is part of our Itinerary with many additions from David.

 This is Viking 11, the sister ship of Viking 1, on which we travelled to France.

On board Viking 1, leaving Southampton.

Just look at her, doesn't 'Tabitha' look Grand and nice and shiny and taller than most, curtains in the windows and a couple of spare tyres on the roof.

Waiting in line to go through Customs in Cherbourg.
Our first night was spent in a Youth Hostel in Genets, which is south of Granville which was suggested on our Itinerary, we were driving close to the West Coast of France heading for Spain.

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