Hold Tight! - Getting home
Chapter 3
Page 17
Hold Tight!
Chapter 3
Getting Away
13 Holiday time
14 Train CB
15 Luzern
16 Four cantons
17 Getting home
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
<< Back Better to travel hopefully .... Next >>
May 1968 and I'm about to find my journey home from Switzerland won't be as easy as I had expected.
I arrived in Basel to find there were no trains through France because of a general strike. It appeared that trouble had been brewing for some time but I only heard about it after I arrived in Switzerland. The student protests in Paris were a long way away but Winchester was even further away.
I caught an overnight train to Cologne. The view as we ran alongside the Rhine as the sun came up was amazing. Arriving in Cologne at about five thirty I wanted something to eat and drink. There was a kiosk on the platform containing a cheese roll and the largest lady I had ever seen. There did not seem room for anything else. I bought the roll and a cup of coffee. The next train took me through Aachen, Liège and Brussels to Oostende.
Oostende that afternoon was a scene of absolute chaos. The area between the railway platforms and the ferry departure point was packed with people stranded by the lack of ferries from French ports. After a couple of hours I finally found myself on the deck of a ferry. I tried to get to the cafeteria but it was impossible. Finding somewhere to sit was no easier. An argument broke out at one point between some British passengers and some French people.
From Dover trains were running one after another to London but the one I caught had no buffet car. Rushing from Victoria to Waterloo, I arrived just in time to catch the next train to Winchester. No buffet there either. That should have been the end of my problems but I had reckoned without my parents.
I got home after nine that night, tired and hungry, to be told I was too late to get anything to eat! My mother even complained that I had not phoned to say where I was. With no money? If I had reversed the charges on a local call I would never have heard the last of it. From Belgium? As if she was really worried about me anyway!
<< Back Top of the Page
Home > Hold Tight!