I Feel Like the Ancient Traveler

Oct 15th, 2019, 07:33 AM
  #21  
 
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I didn't get to Europe until later in life, but there were early trips (Jamaica was my first out of the country) where we took off with just our bag, some cash (maybe ~$100). Drove to Miami, slept in the airport, got on a plane. No passport, no charge card, no plans. Yikes!
suze is offline  
Oct 15th, 2019, 08:15 AM
  #22  
 
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Mid 70s, we traveled throughout Europe with very small children, stopping and finding lodging trough local tourist offices. We stayed on a farm in Northern Germany where food and milk in tins was kept cold in a mountain stream, and with a big family in Bavaria where hot milk was given to the children each night. Great, great memories. It was a little nerve racking sometimes though, when it got late and we had not found anything. We always did get something, but, like Kia, we also had a few horrible experiences. Those were mostly in cities at hotels. It is so much easier with the internet and booking.com, Airbnb, etc. to evaluate places and forums like Fodors to get opinions. Love travel though - you survive, it has been good.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 15th, 2019, 04:52 PM
  #23  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
Love travel though - you survive, it has been good.
Isn't that the truth? Despite a few horrible experiences, I also had some wonderful ones, and it certainly didn't turn me away from travel.
kja is offline  
Oct 15th, 2019, 10:20 PM
  #24  
 
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Seriously, do we really need the harking back to the day.
The question was are there still B&Bs or is it all AirB&Bs.
There is plenty of B&Bs currently all over Europe. We have a B&B booked through Booking.com in Bologna for December, for 6 nights, B&B Alberta D.
misskdonkey is offline  
Oct 15th, 2019, 10:41 PM
  #25  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by misskdonkey View Post
Seriously, do we really need the harking back to the day.
The question was are there still B&Bs or is it all AirB&Bs.
Not at all! But IMO, it can be fun to reminisce, even about the moments that weren't, at the time, particularly enjoyable. JMO.
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Oct 16th, 2019, 04:53 AM
  #26  
 
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Our only B&B this last trip was through Booking.com. And it was lovely.

We went to Great Britain in 1969. Yep, Mom's Bible was Frommer's. We visited the Tourist Office once to get our worst stay of the 3-week trip. Everything else worked out darn well.
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Oct 16th, 2019, 10:10 AM
  #27  
 
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As long as travel dreams and nightmares are being discussed... When my family traveled in Europe (by train) in 1961 (I was a wee lad of 14, sister a college freshman), I remember getting off the train in Rome around 8:00 pm (trained from Naples), where Dad and I set out, on foot, looking for a hotel, leaving Mom and Sis waiting with luggage in the train station. What we found was a hotel with two rooms, each with a shower in the middle of the room with a shower curtain; the bell “boy” (approximately 50 years old) parked himself outside our rooms all night, coughing and hacking the entire time. Don’t think anyone slept that night.

In 1989, wife and I trained from Vienna (where the conference people had booked our hotel) on an overnight to Venice. Back then, like others, we found the equivalent of a TI who found our accommodation - it was OK but not great. After Venice we trained to Salzburg, found a listing of hotels at the TI counter and lucked into a great hotel in the old part of the city.

Now - we make extensive use of the internet to identify and book our accommodations before even crossing the pond. The “old way” was probably more adventurous than our current practice, but when you’re old we prefer other travel adventures!
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Oct 16th, 2019, 05:02 PM
  #28  
 
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I am enjoying this thread, thank you Gwendolynn for starting it. I was reminded of another encounter with an innkeeper in Trier, Germany in 1983. I called him from Austria and while my cousin fed the payphone he and I arranged for 2 rooms (my 2 cousins and me). It was a challenging conversation as I struggled to remember vocabulary from my college German. We both spoke a mix of German and English and finally the innkeeper said "You come, we have." He was a gracious host and we had a wonderful stay. I searched online just now and it looks like the Hotel Petrisberg is still operating in Trier.
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Oct 17th, 2019, 05:48 AM
  #29  
 
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I'm reflecting that perhaps my parent's willingness to travel in a time when arrangements were not "insto-presto" may have been the best incentive for my sister and me to take on travel challenges to this day. IT WAS SO HARD!!!!

My parents, who were not backpackers, researched everything in life. Long before the thought of the internet, they used library books and then postcards--piles of them--to request rates from hotels, information from towns and cities, etc.

And our hallway closet was full of...MAPS. Before a trip, they'd post one vital one on the den wall, and he and my mother would carefully map out with pins their "draft" stops. Trips to the local AAA were also key, because then they would get their "flipboard" map with quick and scenic routes physically highlighted by the AAA travel expert.

Only after they had refined their choices, would they finally pick up the phone because long-distance just a few miles away cost money! Think about that! And when we finally flew to England, they had to book flights (remember BOAC?) through a travel agent. No way around it then.

So in other words, I appreciate this thread because I never told our daughters how this all came to be, and I truly should.

AlessandraZoe is offline  
Oct 17th, 2019, 06:55 AM
  #30  
 
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This thread is reminding me that we had an absolutely enormous paper map of the world on the wall of our basement "play room," which was a very rudely appointed space. Whenever we planned tips we put tiny pins with colored tops onto that map. Then we re-arranged them according to how things had actually worked out. And that was our trip report.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 17th, 2019, 08:58 AM
  #31  
 
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So in other words, I appreciate this thread because I never told our daughters how this all came to be, and I truly should.>>

Me too, AZ. My parents did exactly the same, startingwhen i was very young with holidays at home in the UK, when they would received a brochure for our chosen seaside resort, and then send letters to the hotels they fancied, who would reply with their terms, and my parents would then send off the deposit for the one where we were going to stay. This included my grandparents too so they were booking two rooms in this convoluted fashion.

When we graduated to "continental" holidays, they availed themselves of the tours offered by the RAC [similar to AAA] who produced routes and booked hotels and paid for in advance. Still maps were poured over and meticulous routes studied.

My next stage was touring Europe [France, Italy, Spain] by car when it was just DH and me when we booked the first night [by phone?] and then winged the rest. but when the kids came along they liked to know where they would be resting their heads so we started to book everything in advance on the internet of course.

Now of course we do everything like that and dare I say i miss the spontaneity?
annhig is offline  
Oct 17th, 2019, 09:30 AM
  #32  
 
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Love the wall map with map pins! I think i need to do that. Or maybe a globe of the world. Do people still have them?
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Oct 17th, 2019, 10:29 AM
  #33  
mms
 
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AZ--that sounds a lot like my grandparents. Every year they would go to a different country for a month, so would spend the months before that sending letters back and forth to various hotels for reservations. Then when my grandfather retired, they did an around the world trip for 2 solid years. Their travels were more complex as my aunt always went with them and she was a paraplegic. Their big trip was around 1970, so many places were not all that accessible to the handicapped.

St Cirq--We had two of those maps in our bonus room up until 2 years ago. One was a world map and one was the US. They were laminated, and we still have them. Our kids absolutely loved those things!!! Our son, especially, as he loves geography. He won the Geography Bee at his schools for 4 straight years, and made it to state, lol.

Suze--Yes, we still have globes in our house. We had two, but when we moved our son wanted one of them. I was kind of surprised as he was just out of college but that was one item he really wanted. He still keeps it out in the open vs boxed up.
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Oct 17th, 2019, 10:31 AM
  #34  
mms
 
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AZ--I meant to tell you the we have a closet full of navigation maps for ships. My husband has so many from his Naval career and won't part with any of them, lol. He gave the kids some when they were very young and they drew on them and we still have those as well lol.
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Oct 17th, 2019, 11:08 AM
  #35  
 
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No wonder so many of the people on this forum have similar memories of "old" travel. We were ALL raised to "get out there!" Whatever it takes, no matter how difficult, one needed to GO.
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Oct 17th, 2019, 01:59 PM
  #36  
 
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My parents toured England and Western Europe over two months twice in the early to mid sixties with my brother and I, both under five. They first flew into London where they had booked a B&B, then ferry across to Holland, then by train. At each place dad went to the tourist office for lodging while mum waited at the train station with the kids. To add to the mix my parents were vegetarians, at a time when the concept was practically unknown in Europe! But they managed, and had a wonderful time, we kids too had fun and I have some very vivid memories of what we saw and did.

When DH and I lived in Paris in the eighties we would just take off and wing it, quite often during peak holiday season. For the most part we always found suitable accommodation, though once we had to stay in a quite unsanitary pension in Madrid on Christmas eve. But we were young and didnít mind roughing it out, our meager funds wouldnít allow for anything better.

Today I research and plan our travel at least a year in advance, with the internet so much information is just a finger click away. And I canít even imagine doing it any other way today!
geetika is online now  
Oct 18th, 2019, 12:07 AM
  #37  
 
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I still remember a student (mis)adventure to Paris in 1968 on a tandem bike that broke down. It was a saga of sleeping on friends' floors and missed connections (the floor of the ferry waiting room that time). But that's what students do. Or did.

Later, my first real holiday from my first job, I booked an overnight train to Venice, with no plan where to stay. In those days there was a big board at the station, with adverts for hotels, and a button you pushed to speak directly to the hotel. I plumped for one, and it was rather more upmarket than I had imagined from the price, and anyway I was celebrating having started a career. One evening, in the hotel's restaurant, I noticed a couple of older people at another table, who looked like the spitting images of Ezra Pound and Peggy Guggenheim. They were both still alive at that time, so who knows?

PatrickLondon is online now  
Oct 18th, 2019, 08:32 AM
  #38  
 
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One evening, in the hotel's restaurant, I noticed a couple of older people at another table, who looked like the spitting images of Ezra Pound and Peggy Guggenheim. They were both still alive at that time, so who knows?>>

wow, who knows indeed. As it was a cute upmarket place, quite possible I should think. And who is there to argue with you now?
annhig is offline  
Oct 18th, 2019, 01:26 PM
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by annhig View Post
.... Now of course we do everything like that and dare I say i miss the spontaneity?
Yes, I miss being able to make last minute decisions. We traveled to Europe the first time in 1981, made no reservations in advance and simply found a place that looked nice and got rooms, no problem. We decided to go to Rothenburg odT (no freeway connecting it) and had the place to ourselves. Same thing with Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. We went, parked and walked in. No reservations or pre-booking necessary. Autobahns were not nearly as crowded. Fond memories of "the good old days!"

Trophywife007 is online now  
Oct 19th, 2019, 07:04 PM
  #40  
 
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I love this thread! It has brought back so many memories.
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