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.
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.
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.