I was sifting through some old stuff, and found the travel diary from my first trip overseas. I was 10 years old, and we went to Greece and Egypt. Here are some extracts..
24 August 1977
We caught a taxi to Constitution Square in Athens and got on an air conditioned bus. We stopped for morning tea. We stopped at an old town called Corinth, and had a good look around. We went to Mycene and stopped at some tombs and saw the gates to them. It is the oldest thing in Europe.
26 August 1977
We went to Olympia where you could see where the first Olympic Games torch was lit. We saw the temple of Zues and Hera.
29 August 1977
We left the King Minos hotel and caught a plane to Kos. We booked in the Alexandria Hotel for 4 days. We looked for another hotel because it didn't take Diners Card and the rooms smelt like dunnies.
3 September - 9 September 1977
Went swimming and dived off the diving board and went to tavernas. Played mini golf and went to the beach.
10 September 1977
We left Kos by a Boeing 720B and went to Rhodes. We landed at the airport and caught a taxi to the Solemar Hotel. We were on the 4th Floor in room 438. We went 10 miles to Lindos and had lunch, a cheese sandwich and a can of Sinalco Kola, and had swims. We also had a good look around.
18 September 1977 - Egypt
We were woken up at 5:15am by the guard who knocked on the door of our sleeping compartment. I got dressed and we got off the train at 6:!5am. There were dirty kids around. We went to the hotel by horse and cart. We went to the Karnak temple. We saw huge pillars and statues covered in ancient writing. We went to Luxor temple and saw statues of the kings. After lunch we got a faluca and sailed down the Nile River and went to a Banana Plantation. There was an old crippled man there.
That must bring back some great memories.... when i was younger i didn't keep diaries as such but postcards from everywhere i had been with the date and who i was there with on the back...
Kids can express things so simply
i wish i was like that when i was younger, i have like-2 things like that and looking back is great. doesnt it make you laugh reading things that you wrote when you was younger!-thats the joys of life.
That's absolutely fantastic!
It's really adorable. I love the way you described things, and you can really see what a kid notices on a trip. Compare it to what we take note of on our trips at our "adult" ages and you will see just what a vacation means to an adult and a child. The difference is really cute.
Yes, I loved the "there was an old crippled man there" comment. Exactly the kind of thing that I wouldn't include in a travel journal as an adult (unless I was hoping to make some point on the treatment of the disabled or eldery in society), but exactly the kind of thing that I would have been excited about as a kid.
I remember when I was 10 or so meeting a man who only had one leg. I spent a good hour talking to him about what happened to his leg and what it was like to only have one leg. I think I would probably try and pretend not to so any interest in it nowadays.
Apart from bringing back some very distant memories, reading my old diary has sort of given me a bit of an insight into my early personality type, and how it developed in the following years. I seemed a bit overly interested with details such as arrival/departure times, hotel room numbers and names, exchange rates, aeroplane types and the like.
I even spent about half an hour looking out of the hotel room in Athens watching the number, types, and colours of the cars that went by, and writing out a crude spreadsheet with all of the details.
Now, I'm an accountant and deal with large quantities of data everyday. I can also tell you the name the make, model and year of any car on the road.
I also realise what an adventure and undertaking it must have been for my parents to take two young kids away back then - all before the advent of package holidays and fast food places. My parents are relatively conservative, and money was tight back then, and heading off to Egypt was pretty out of character for them. We were reminded a number of times that "we've saved long and hard for this trip." We stayed in very basic accommodation, and my dad would make cups of tea every morning in the hotel room using some sort of contraption that would heat the water. "No money for fancy cups of coffee" he would say. Then at night, we'd search high and low through the streets of Cairo or Athens to try and find a place selling cooked chickens which would "feed a family of four for next to nothing."
As for the old crippled man at the banana plantation, I remember giving him the few coins I had in my pocket, my "coca cola" money, and seeing his face light up. My father's face also lit up "You're a good boy" he said to me. A few coins had made some people happy. I felt like I'd learned one of life's lessons.
Here's an old photo I found from this trip.
It is me by the Sphinx in Cairo in 1977 when I was 10.
[ Edit: link fixed ]