Subject: Re: First Travels
Hello fellow Ziners,

I figured I'd wade in here with my first travel stories. First, I must set the background: I grew up in a large family where our only holiday in a year was a beach and picnic day once a summer and my first restaurant meal was at my oldest brother's wedding at the age of 12 or so. Combined with that was my becoming a faithful correspondent at the same age to my two brothers who backpacked across Europe and Asia, addressing many letters to Poste Restantes (I believe it was) all over, telling them about homey things that I guess made them feel closer to home. It was also the time of Expo 67 and our daily visits as season passholders, and there was also my big sister Frances who gave me my first taste of travel: a long weekend to New York City, a hiking trip in the Adironack Mountains, and a visit to the New Brunswick seaside.

So, after my second year of university, a girlfriend and I headed to London, with a return airline ticket and limited cash in hand that was the result of scrimping all year long. We stayed in B&B's near Victoria Station, lugging our bags from one to the other to find a reasonable rate (in 1977 we paid about 10 pounds pp per night) then booked ourselves on two bus tours : one a weeklong Frames tour of England, Scotland and Wales (wow! we were so impressed with the quality of the tour!) and then a whirlwind European bus tour with budget line Cosmos. Did that ever whet our appetite to go back and see more!!

We saw a touch of this and that: I remember visiting the ski jump in Innsbruck, seeing the Roman Coliseum and suffering from a sore neck the day after our visit to the Sistine Chapel, seeing the Mona Lisa on a quick nip into the Louvre, a walking tour along the York walls, swimming in a glassed in pool in the Alps viewing the mountains all around, walking along Promenade des Anglais in Nice, putting a few francs in the slot machines at the casino in Monte Carlo, visiting the Rows in Chester, seeing the tower of Pisa and the canals of Venice, being agog at the Pieta, and on and on. In all, we were away a month, visiting so many museums and churches in London as well as sitting in the rafters in cheap seats at London plays as well as (sleeping through) the Mariage de Figaro at the Paris opera house (I've forgotten it's name: the Comedie Francaise???).

The following summer, I went again with another girlfirend, for 3 weeks this time, and I've been hooked ever since!!!

Helen Ottawa, Canada