My Travel A to Z ~ Letdown to Moment I Fell in Love with Travel

So what’s my greatest letdown in a lifetime of travel, five continents and 44 different countries?

L – for Letdown is

The Astronomical Clock in Prague.

So that's all it does then?

Yes I know it’s a very clever piece of 15th century engineering, but when all is said and done the most common thing I have heard the people, who have patiently waited in the cold for that clock to chime and for the little figures to jiggle about, say is “was that it then?”

M – Moment I Fell in Love with Travel

Let me take you back in time to England in the 1960s. It wasn’t quite in black and white, though you may be forgiven for thinking it was, there were only three TV channels, no home video or internet and your best chance of a foreign holiday before 1967 was a wet weekend camping in Wales. You might have even thought we were still at war with Germany given that it seemed to be the focus of most adults conversation twenty years after the event.

The cinema was a place to escape from that monochrome world. Back then you didn’t just get one blockbuster and a bunch of trailers, but a full programme of A and B feature, a Warner Pathe Newsreel (although that was in black and white and the news was about a month behind what you had already seen on the telly, it did have a great theme tune and a chicken though),

and quite often a travelogue too. The one that caught my imagination was one for the Canary Islands. I was entranced by the lush vegetation and banana plantations, the camels carrying travellers through the Moon like lava flows of Lanzarote and the cable car reaching for the peak of snow-capped Mount Teide on Tenerife.

Champagne above the clouds in the shadow of Mount Teide, only missing Raquel Welch in that fur bikini.

It was all very exotic, I thought it the stuff of unattainable dreams, just like trekking through Mexican jungle in search of Mayan ruins, looking down on the roof of the Chrysler Building from the Empire State Building  or taking tea at the Cataract Hotel in Aswan, all seemed to be to a north London kid, at the time. You tell kids today that and they will never believe you!

So much for nostalgia eh? little wonder it was once classed as a disease.

This film was shot in Tenerife in the 1960s too, the swim wear had become a bit briefer by the time we got there in the 1980s, but my hairstyle was pretty similar.

However I think our holiday there was miles better than Chuck Heston’s, that didn’t end well.

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4 thoughts on “My Travel A to Z ~ Letdown to Moment I Fell in Love with Travel

  1. I have to agree with you about the astronomical clock – a big disappointment after a huge build up. Actually although I am out of synch with most people who visit Prague I found the whole place rather disappointing. I much preferred Budapest and Krakow but perhaps I was just unlucky because it rained a lot when I was there.

    • I like Prague, mostly for the architecture and the pubs, but that clock is seriously over rated, Agree Budapest and Krakow are pretty good places to visit as is Tallin in Estonia. I liked Russia a lot as well but it’s not a cheapo weekend job.

  2. Someone tried to pick-pocket me whilst watching the clock at Prague – fortunately I noticed before they took anything. Agree with the above comment – Budapest rocks! Tenerife is under-rated for its scenery. Teide National Park is fascinating. Enjoying your A – Z

    • Glad it’s keeping you entertained, my mate got his pocket dipped on the underground in Barcelona fortunately his bank was the same as mine so we stopped his cards before the bastards got away with anything, but not a nice experience all the same. Yeah Budapect is brilliant, some amazing art and architecture and Tenerife is one of my favourite winter sun retreats.

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