July 1970

Old Jul 15th, 2023, 10:54 AM
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July 1970

Is there anyone out there who may have been back-packing through Greece (in particular Athens, Corfu, Ios, Santorini, Crete) in July 1970 (that's not a typo....53 years ago)? I'd certainly be interested in communicating with you, if you were. I recently retired (at age 70), and am revisiting the long distant past, because now I have the time to do it. I travelled from Scotland to Crete (through Switzerland, France, Italy, etc.), from May to September that year, made some interesting acquaintances along the way, and would be interested in reminiscing. Who knows, you may even recognize yourself in some of my photos?
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Old Jul 15th, 2023, 12:05 PM
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Welcome, TravellerSince1970. Two friends and I were pushing then popping the clutch on our rental VW, but it was in 1969 from London to Edinburgh and back! I hope you get a good conversation started.

BTW, what did things cost?!

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Old Jul 15th, 2023, 12:46 PM
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Not a backpacking trip, but in college, we went on a ski trip to Switzerland in December of 1970. We stayed in Montreux and did day trips to various ski resorts. It was a group tour. Including roundtrip flight, seven nights hotel, daily breakfast and dinner, and bus trips to 4 ski areas, the cost was $240! A wonderful trip! We also did a day trip to Bern; I don't remember if that was also included.
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Old Jul 15th, 2023, 12:58 PM
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I was in Athens in April, 1972, for a week (or possibly 10 days) so two years later than you. I still can't believe how cheap things were. It was a group tour (the first and only group tour I have done). The bank I worked at had a travel department that organized group tours for its employees at very reasonable rates. The cost was $325!!! That included roundtrip airfare, hotel for all the nights, breakfast and dinner every day, sightseeing and two day trips. One day trip was to Delphi and the other day trip was a boat tour of Aegina, Poros, and Hydra. You can't beat that!!!
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Old Jul 15th, 2023, 03:54 PM
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I found myself in Corfu in early July, hitchhiking around, and was lucky enough to be staying at a Youth Hostel in Kontokoli Beach (now condos) for a few days. After playing on a hastily prepared Colonies Team, and losing 13-0 to the Brits as I recall, I was fortunate enough to be befriended by two guys (from Leeds), who were on the "winning side" , and had a vehicle, who treated me (and another friend I'd met - because I was travelling solo) to transportation to beaches at Sidari, Paleokastritsa and Glyfada. Things were very inexpensive, ($1.50 US/night at the hostel) but we still decided to sleep on the beach some nights regardless, to save money....and fell asleep counting shooting stars. Go figure...
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Old Jul 15th, 2023, 04:04 PM
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My trip to Switzerland (the 1st time, in 1970) also took me to Berne, via Biel and Basel, and to Lausanne, and then back to Basel. After an overnight stay in Basel, we (as I'd made the acquaintance of a fellow traveler from the Air Force Base in Baden-Baden), then hitchhiked from the Youth Hostel in Basel through Zug, to Altdorf, to Airolo, and finally to St. Moritz. One of our benefactors took it upon himself to stop the car we'd hitched a ride with, as we passed through St. Gothard's Pass, so that we could have a snowball fight....in June. Go figure....
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Old Jul 15th, 2023, 04:24 PM
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My trip to Athens was rather of the Europe-on-$5/day variety, and we stayed at the Youth Hostel there in Syntagma Square at the time, after arriving (via the Corinth Canal ) from Corfu.....back when I had hair. Then it was a trip to Piraeus, to catch the ferry to Crete, and from there to Ios, Santorini (Thira), Mykonos, and then back to Athens, and Corfu (travelling "deck class") for several months. I actually celebrated my 19th birthday on a Greek Freighter, with Retsina wine and cheese as presents from fellow travelers.....you can do the math. My wife (of 50 years) and I have been back most recently in 2018, and as part of excursions on a several Mediterranean cruises prior to that (in 2008 and 2012), but we stayed in 5-star accommodations in Athens on both occasions (Royal Olympic Hotel - which I would heartily recommend) and, in 2018, travelled to Cephalonia for 10 days by rented car (which you should definitely consider as a future destination). If you would like some guidance on planning such a trip.....you know where to find me. I live in small town Canada, and am retired.
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Old Jul 16th, 2023, 05:17 AM
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My longest trip in 1970:
Day 1iel/Bienne (Switzerland) dp 6.01 - train - Milan 11.20/11.56 - Venice SL - motoscafo - San Basilio - embarkment TSS Apollonia
Day 2: Dubrovnik
Day 3: Corfu
Day 4: Itea - Delphi - Ossios Loukas - Athens (Sound an light) - Piraeus TSS Apollonia
Day 5: National Museum - Akropolis - Zappion - Hadrians Theatre - bus 165 - Piraeus TSS Apollonia
Day 6: Kusadasi (disembarkment) - bus - Aydin - Denizli - Pamukkale
Day 7: Denizli - bus - Burdur - Antalya, Lara Beach
Day 8: Alanya
Day 9: Perge - Aspendos - Side - Manavgat - Antalya, embarkment SS Iskenderun
Day 10: Makri (tomb of Aminthas - Lykian sacophagus, Olu Deniz beach) - Marmaris
Day 11: Kusadasi - Ephesos - Tuzan beach
Day 12: Izmir (Kultur Park, Archeological museum, Konak)
Day 13: Istanbul (disembarkment, Serail, Sultan Ahmed mosque)
Day 14: Curfew until 3pm, Bosporus cruise
Day 15: Haghia Sophia, Chora Church, Fethyie Djami, Fanar, Cafe Pierre Loti
Day 18: Archeological Museum, Suleimanje Djami, Bazar, Galata
Day 19: Istanbul - Bergama (Akropol, Asklipion)
Day 20: Bus/minibus Bergama - Izmir - Ilica beach
Day 21: Ilica - Cesme - local ferry - Chios - embarkment FB Aeolis
Day 22: Piraeus (disembarkment) - Byzantine Museum, Benaki Museum - Pashalimani - Restaurant Vassilenas
Day 23: Cape Sounion and back, Folk Dances Dora Stratou
Day 24: Athens - fast train of Peloponissos Railways - Patras - embarkment FB Heleanna (pt 18.30)
Day 25: Adriatic Sea
Day 26: Ancona ar 7.00 (disembarkment) - trolleybus - train station dp 9.12 - Biel/Bienn (Switzerland) ar 20.23

Last edited by neckervd; Jul 16th, 2023 at 05:24 AM.
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Old Jul 16th, 2023, 06:59 AM
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Travellersince1970, you certainly were very adventurous! What a wonderful way to travel. Footloose and fancy free!
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Old Jul 16th, 2023, 02:09 PM
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After a failed attempt at the 1st year of university (my mother mailed my report card via Post Restante, through American Express in Athens, and I opened it on the beach in Ios), I simply carried on after hitchhiking to see a friend in Switzerland....and just kept going. You're right though, I'm not sure that would be possible now. What's your adventure?
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Old Jul 16th, 2023, 02:14 PM
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It sure sounds like: "If its Tuesday, it must be Belgium"....quite a tour, and a lot more organized than mine was, and I suspect more expensive. If you're still up to it, try Kefalonia...you won't be disappointed.
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Old Jul 17th, 2023, 06:56 AM
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In July of 1970 I was on my honeymoon with my first wife, on the other side of the Atlantic, on the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec.















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Old Jul 17th, 2023, 08:32 AM
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For me it was 1971 - after my freshman year of college. My friend and I backpacked through Europe. We had Eurail passes and "covered" many countries over some two months. I have many memories of Greece but unfortunately I was not taking notes back then. We began in Athens and spent a night in Delphi, sleeping on the roof of a hostel from which we could see the ruins of Delphi. It was an amazing experience.

We took a ferry to Crete and then I believe we took buses. We spent a night in a village in the middle of Crete where some men in a cafe toasted us with ouzo. The only English they knew was "thank you very much." and "Spiro Agnew.," That certainly dates it. We ended up sleeping on a beach in Crete for a number of days/nights, eating the most delicious tomatoes. I remember visiting caves on the beach - I think the very ones that Joni Mitchell sings about. Even back then hotels were being built along the beach and I remember thinking the place was going to be dramatically changed.

I have never been back to Greece although I have returned to many of the other countries we visited that summer - England, France, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy. And Spain has become one of our favorite destinations but back then it was not part of the Eurail pass system because of Franco.
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Old Jul 17th, 2023, 09:47 AM
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Great pictures (and memories) Gardyloo! I live in PEI and have been married to same woman for 50 years. Thanks for participating in my collection of thoughts. I don't know where you call home, but PEI is a nice place to visit too....just sayin'....
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Old Jul 17th, 2023, 12:41 PM
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Gardyloo, love your photos of the Gaspe Peninsula. We have visited Canada many times, including Quebec City, but we never made it as far as the Gaspe. Coincidentally, our honeymoon was in Canada, too: Quebec City, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Joduhl, I love your backpacking trip around Europe in 1971 and I am so envious. I always wanted to do something like that but none of my friends were interested, and I was too timid to travel solo. So when our oldest daughter asked us for permission to spend her summer (after freshman year of college) to backpack around Europe, we said "go for it"!!! We even funded part of her trip for her. She did travel with a friend, though. So that made us feel much better. We always wanted our daughters to travel and have a sense of adventure. They are both avid travelers and have lived abroad several times.
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Old Jul 17th, 2023, 08:07 PM
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TravellerSince1970 you beat me by 4 years. In 1974 a friend from high school and I flew from Vancouver to Athens, had a few days there and then took the ferry to Mykonos...deck class and I was too clueless to put on sunscreen. (had a terrible sunburn and had to go to the Dr. on our landlady's recommendation lol, he wasn't impressed with my stupidity) We were 18 and thrilled to be away from home. We rented a rooftop room in a pensione and stayed for a month, it was bliss. We ended up meeting people from Australia, South Africa, Kansas City, Chicago, Vancouver, New York (the guy worked at Max's Kansas City and was cooler than cool) and we hung out. A routine developed where we would go to the beach all day, for dinner we would go to Maria's and she loved us so she'd take us in the kitchen and show us what the choices were. Then we'd go clubbing, drinking and dancing the night away. Our favourite place was owned by a Greek American guy called Sam, he would keep the club open til all hours as long as people were buying drinks. It was so much fun. We finally peeled ourselves away from Mykonos and spent the next few months hitch-hiking around Europe, ending up in Austria where my friends parents were from and where she had relatives we visited.
Lots of fond and fun memories, so glad I did this. And I paid for it all myself, not one dime from my parents.
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Old Jul 18th, 2023, 04:10 AM
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Sounds like quite an experience raincitygirl.....one that you would be unlikely to repeat any time soon. If you plan to venture forth to Greece again at some point, I recommend Cephalonia. It's in the Ionian Island archipelago (situated below Corfu) and attracts fewer tourists than the mainstream islands. Its neighbour is Zakynthos, which is the party island, so I'd give it a pass.
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Old Jul 18th, 2023, 04:23 AM
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I suspect that one of the beaches you slept on, outside Heraklion, was either Malia (where we also slept) or Vai (near the eastern end of Crete, close to Agios Nikolaos) - where the hippies purportedly lived in caves nearby. The only thing that I found memorable there was the size of the oranges, which were like grapefruits.... delicious! We boarded the ferry there, and "island-hopped" back to Athens via Ios, Santorini/Thira (where donkeys were the main mode of transportation at the time) and Mykonos. I agree with your statement about Joni Mitchell's song ("Carey", I think), and smile every time I hear it. Leonard Cohen was also there at the time...on Hydra, I believe. Thanks for the memories.
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Old Jul 18th, 2023, 04:25 AM
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I forgot to mention my comments were related to the post by Joduhl. Sorry....
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Old Jul 18th, 2023, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by TravellerSince1970
Sounds like quite an experience raincitygirl.....one that you would be unlikely to repeat any time soon. If you plan to venture forth to Greece again at some point, I recommend Cephalonia. It's in the Ionian Island archipelago (situated below Corfu) and attracts fewer tourists than the mainstream islands. Its neighbour is Zakynthos, which is the party island, so I'd give it a pass.
It was a great experience, one I am glad to have had while young and yes, no repeats of that. These days I like my comforts and although I'm still up for a night out dancing my husband is the quieter type so not many of those. Thanks for the recommendation of Cephalonia, will make a note. Have not been back to Greece, have rather fallen in love with Italy so many trips there but should try Greece again.
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