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Mother traveled to Europe in the mid 1960s, she was the talk of the town!

Mother traveled to Europe in the mid 1960s, she was the talk of the town!

Old Oct 4th, 2007, 04:27 AM
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Yes, for many years, the rate was approximately 5 French francs to the dollar (and the worst ever rate was 10.70 francs to the dollar around 1982).

The current rate is 4.62 FRF to the dollar.
kerouac is online now  
Old Oct 4th, 2007, 05:10 AM
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>Air fare was $350 ...Hate to think what that translates to in today's dollars.<

About $2000.

ira is offline  
Old Oct 4th, 2007, 05:19 AM
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Thank you all so much for this thread; I'm so interested in European travel during the 50s and 60s. Too much "Summertime"? or "Three Coins in the Fountain"? Or even, dare I say it, "Gidget Goes to Rome"?!?!?

Your stories have been great fun to read.

It's amazing to me that people were able to make the fairly complicated arrangements they did ... without the internet.

Thanks again, all.
phyllis_stein is offline  
Old Oct 4th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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These stories are wonderful! Thanks all who commented on my story - it's great to be part of such a neat tale.

LCBoniti, 'As Time Goes By' is one of my favorite shows, precisely because it is so similar to my parents' situation.

The best part is that now my dad and mom have retired, and moved in with us - so we can get to know eachother like we never had a chance to before.

It's very strange how some things seem to be genetic rather than environmental. Who would have thought we would both independently have Dragon collections??
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Old Oct 4th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for this fun thread, distant traveler. Ira, also thanks for making the money comparisons.

My first trip was over 40 years ago, and I haven't stopped since. I go as often as finances allow. Cut corners everywhere at home and travel carefully over there so I can make these trips.

I had some incredible women role models in my family. My great-great aunt went with a college roommate and the roommates parents in the 1890's. Halfway into the trip, the girls decided they had had enough of chaperones, and one night cut their hair in a boy cut and put on male clothing they had gotten somewhere, left a note, and took off. They did farmwork and fishing and when they had made enough to move on, they did. They spent two months, sent postcards to let their family know they were alive and showed up at the dock in time to go sail from LeHavre with the parents.

When she died at nearly 100, she was still telling tales from that trip.

Then her niece, my great aunt, traveled across the US with her brother and his college roommate. They drove and camped beside the road, or sometimes in a field when there was no road and then came back another route. This was in the 20's. She too lived to be 100 and I was lucky enough to be old enough to appreciate her stories. Also she had pictures to share.

Then her niece, my aunt went on a bicycle trip to Europe in the 30's. She and her college friend stayed in hostels and sometimes slept in a farmer's barn.

I didn't rough it like my forebears, but also did not travel in the lap of luxury or even modest luxury. Stayed in some rooms that were smaller than the bathrooms I've seen since. But what a trip it was!
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Old Oct 4th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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Great Thread. Wonderful Stories. GO LADIES!

GreenDragon - honestly - that should be a movie... Tears in my eyes, too.
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Old Oct 4th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Ah. . . the 60's in Rome. Was fortunate to live there in '67 and '68 and travelled through lots of Europe during that stay. Bookmarking this thread now, but will post some favorite memories when time allows. Thanks to all for posting your experiences - brings back some warm, fuzzies!
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Old Oct 5th, 2007, 11:49 AM
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It's so great to hear these stories of people jaunting around the globe and having fun. I especially love the ones with single women travelling around since that's me too.
It gets annoying when people always ask me who I am going to travel with...myself! (I actually do a lot of things myself like brush my teeth)

It's a great way to travel and I do exactly what I want-nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks for the inspiring stories.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 01:22 PM
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My father was transferred to the Paris branch office of his NY law firm when I was 10 and my brother was 8. We lived there for a year and a half. When I got back home, everyone thought I was so exotic and wanted to hear me say something in French!

My brother and I took 2 public busses every day by ourselves to get to school, 2 more to get home. I can't imagine letting 8 and 10 year olds do that in this day and age without an adult.

On a good day, we walked to school passing under the Eiffel Tower!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 01:42 PM
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My father traveled extensively to Africa and South America as a metallurgist in the 1960s and early 1970s. He usually went alone and was gone for weeks or months at a time and was living in remote mining camps. Once a week, we'd get a short phone call (full of static).
In the early 1970s, we went with him to Liberia, specifically to Yekepa and Buchanan. When I got home, I went to a back to school party and someone said "where have you been all this time" and I had a hard time convincing them I'd been in Africa, especially as I didn't have any neato Daktari-style photos of lions and giraffes. They weren't quite as impressed with my pictures of 15 foot high termite mounds and iron ore processing centers. (You can get an idea of what it was like by checking out the photos on http://www.ourliberia.com/ )
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Our very first trip to Europe was in 1977, 2 yrs after we were married. We took a 2 week American Express tour from JFK to London, Amsterdam and Paris using a charter airline. The total cost for the tour was $750 per person.

I think back on our early trips and realize that I totally overpacked and definitely took the wrong shoes. My feet hurt constantly!!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 02:14 PM
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I took my first trip in the early 60s to London and was surprised that some of my women'Libs were
questioning my going alone.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 02:17 PM
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In 1968 I was working as a teacher in Islington. My flatmate was from Chicago. Her parents came to visit and they took us for lunch at Fortnum and Mason. It cost £5 for 4 of us. I had never heard of anyone spending so much money on lunch, and that was the only time I have ever been to Fortnums.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 02:18 PM
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My friends mother, along with 3 of her girlfriends, all sailed for England in the 1950's. Once there they purchased an old London Cab and this was their mode of transport all around Europe. They caused quite a sensation generally, wherever they went. The cab still had the taxi sign attached to the roof etc.

They were even featured in some local newspapers throughout their travels. They had an absolute ball and after her trip she returned to Ausralia and married the man of her dreams. With fervent encouragement their three children have all travelled extensively around the world. In fact, my husband and I travelled with their son to Saudi Arabia (in 1979) and spent about 18 months together there - we had a great time and the three of us still reminisce together about those days.

I've always admired my friends' mother but after I heard her travel story my admiration just sky rocketed.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 02:24 PM
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Great story Green Dragon! Actually, lots of great stories here.

When we left on our world tour, I was surprised to find out that her Godmother had also done a world tour when she was 5 in the fifties! She had great pictures of her family in Europe ( and other places).

My daughter was also 5 when we started our world tour, so it seemed pretty amazing I never knew her Godmother had done this. She said it still affects her today and has had a powerful impact on her life.

I first went to Europe in the early 70's so don't quite make your time frame. I flew for TWA for a while too in the 70's and did a lot of cheap traveling then.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 02:30 PM
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In 1948, my father, who worked for Texaco Oil, whisked my mother to Saudi Arabia, where they stayed for 18 years under Aramco employment. I was born & reared there, and we travelled throughout Asia and Europe as well as through the US.

I remember once, in 1968, buying something from a drug store outside of Syracuse, NY. I spoke English like a native but I didn't understand the money system. So I cupped the money in my hands, held it out to the cashier, and said, "Just take what it is." She looked at me like I'd just landed in a spaceship!

After Dad retired, we settled in Florida, and, yes all my friends asked if we went to school on a camel, etc.

Looking back on those days of travel -- Cyprus in 1964, Germany in 1962, Torremolinos in 1968 . . . taking the train with my sister from Switzerland to Spain all alone in 1968.

I remember that the four of us used to travel with 11 (eleven!!) cases, and we all had to count them before we left an airport. We had to take two taxis when we were in London!

Ah, those were really the days!

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 04:36 PM
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My mom and her cousin worked for Pan Am in the early 60s, and thus were able to fly to Europe for a very small amount. I believe she was 19 at the time. She still has the beautiful leather gloves that she purchased in Rome, as well as an ashtray that showed the hotel where they stayed in Rome.

We are going there this year -- her first trip back since then. I have been fretting about not be able to speak Italian, etc., and she keeps telling me how they managed to get around just fine without any preparation last time.

She also admits, however, that it helped that they were too young and naive to know any better!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 05:06 PM
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My sister gave me a college graduation present early: we went to London in November 1973 when Princess Anne got married. It was my first trip overseas and we had a ball. Waited on the Mall to see the Royal Procession, saw them appear on the balcony and even saw Princess Grace and Prince Ranier just strolling in Burlington Arcade with only one Bobby following them. Had my first taste of Indian food and bought a great pair of red suede platform shoes with big bows on the front like Minnie Mouse which I wore to my college graduation the following spring. I think I had 100 to spend on souvenirs and still had a great time.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 06:03 PM
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I love these stories!!

It makes me think of my dear friend who at the age of 14 left her very tiny village in the Region of Molise with her two brothers, one 15 and one 16 and sailed from Genoa to NYC and then took the train across the US to the SF/Bay Area. None of them spoke a word of English. Because their tiny village offered nothing in the way of advancement their widowed father sent them to live with the grandparents in the SF/Bay Area. My precious friend said she did fine until going through somewhere..she thinks it was Kansa..with nothing but wheat fields and she thought that it would be the same where her grandparents lived. She said when she saw the SF Bay and the area she again cried from happiness. I met her and her two brothers two days after she arrived here. A long and scary journey for three kids from a tiny village in southern Italy.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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My first " visit" was on my birth day,, the day I arrived in this world.

My mom was a secretary for an Insurance company in Canada that needed a secretary in Paris, my mom with her high school french and typing qualifed. She was from a small praire town( Sexsmith Alberta, believe it or not, ) so this was a big deal.

In Paris she met a " dashing french man" my dad, LOL, they had a whirlwind romance, and marriage. This was in 1960, I was born in Conflans St Honorine ( maternity hospital near family home in Andresy , 20 minutes from Paris) .
My mother then started the push to " move home" . Her father died just before I was born and she wanted to return home to keep her mom company. So we left when I was only 6 months old. .

My first return visit was not until 1972.

What is amazing is going through old photo albums, and seeing the Eiffel Tower BEFORE they put saftey nets all over the viewing areas, or I actually have a picture of my crazy dad on the ROOF at Notre Dame,, seriously, he crawled out on to the bloody roof,, now adays that would be impossible.!
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