Art, architecture, history, travel

Six countries in five weeks 1975

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (soundtrack)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (soundtrack) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Grave of Alexander Solzhenitsyn

English: Grave of Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had so much fun the last time, I decided to do it again.

Six countries in five weeks.

Current Events of 1975

London, England

Paris, France


Luzern, Switzerland

Venice, Florence, Rome, Italy

Madrid, Spain

I think it cost about $2000.00 including all meals and airfare. I think they still have this program but they go during Spring Break and it costs over $3500 for ten days and they just go to Italy. Because of OPEC the price is up $800 from $1200 from last year. I am now graduated from High School and will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall.

The big thing this summer is Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, which we have seen in all of the bookstores in the cities and Capitals of Europe.

In 1973, fearing that he might soon be imprisoned again, Solzhenitsyn authorized foreign publication of The Gulag Archipelago, a vast work that he had completed in 1968 documenting, with personal interviews and reminiscences, the operation of the oppressive Soviet system (see Gulag) from 1918 to 1956. In Feb., 1974, Solzhenitsyn was arrested, formally accused of treason, stripped of his citizenship, and forcibly deported to the West. In exile he personally accepted his Nobel Prize in Stockholm (1974).

Hot movies for 1975 are Jaws, Barry Lyndon and the Man who would be King. Also big are Nashville and Tommy.

The Gulag Archipelago

The big talk this summer is Mikhail Baryshnikov, although the movie The Turning Point with Anne Bancroft won’t premiere for another two years everyone is talking about his defection.

Gerald Ford is the President of the United States, after the resignation of Richard Nixon last August. He has given the controversial pardon which many feel cost him reelection in 1976.

The Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa gains independence after 500 years of Portuguese rule. The shameful Fall of Saigon also occurred on my birthday 29. April. The Baader-Meinhof urban guerilla group is rampant in Germany, kidnapping government officials and bomb attacks.

Volkswagen introduced the front wheel drive Rabbit in the United States and Canada. It is an instant success.

The Altair 8800 is introduced. My dad and brother couldn’t wait to get their hands on one.

Merv Griffith launches Wheel of Fortune on NBC and SNL with Chevy Chase, John Belushi and Jane Curtin begins this fall. Margaret Thatcher leads the Conservative party in the UK.

The Rocky Horror Picture show opens on Broadway it is still running in theaters in2011.

The Shinkansen bullet train opens in Japan. Busch Gardens opens in Williamsburg. Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing in Detroit. Fugitive Patty Hearst is captured in San Francisco. Her father feeds the first example of the Media frenzy with his accounts of her kidnapping in front of his home.

Juan Carlos becomes Head of Sate in Spain.

30. June Monday

Left St. Louis for Chicago. We fly to London on TIA, Trans International Airlines, a charter airline owned by Transamerican Corp. The one with the pyramid in San Francisco. This trip is sponsored and organized by FSL the foreign study league. We get little background books on each country we visit. The plane left Chicago early, made no stops. Got to London early.

  1. July Tuesday London

The bus driver didn’t know the way to the dormitory. We are staying at London Poly, which is on Marylebone Road, across the street from Madam Tussauds and not too far from 221B Baker Street. That’s the London Polytechnic. It rents out its rooms for the summer. It is a very modern campus. I like it. They have corn flakes for breakfast. date accessed 2011 July 4

Our Rap is Chris Taylor.  She is young and pretty. She is very interesting young woman. She asked me why do Americans say “wahddur”, when it’s pronounced “wauTTer”? She was talking about water of course.Went to Victoria Station to change money ($30.00). Had pork for dinner.

Went to Piccadilly Circus. It is still spectacular. Saw some new signs. I met a panhandler from Montreal but I wouldn’t give him any money.

There are lots of sex shops here although they are not as visible and not as smutty. Was dragged into a sex shop by Dianne K. and Sharon G. We didn’t do anything, just looked. What was in that shop well really just a bunch of silly things? The strange thing about it was it was just on the strip with the other stores and not hidden somewhere. Laughed about it on the way home on the tube while people watched us. Went to two plays Mousetrap and another about the Beatles. Also saw Shaw’s Pygmalion with Diana Rigg in the lead. I love London’s West End. Saw the new Ivor Roberts-Jones Statue of Winston Churchill next to the Houses of Parliament.

7/2 Wednesday London

Had a tour today and a good breakfast. The tour wasn’t as good as last year. I went to the Left had shop and bought some cards. Tried to talk to the lady but she was not very friendly. I’m trying to find a new raincoat for school this fall.

Went to the London zoo and saw the Pandas. They were not so active at first but woke up as we were leaving. Somehow, I got into the aquarium for free. Went to another play Murderer and pubbing with Mr. Cordell. Went to a party in Jill’s room.

7/3 Thursday London Windsor

We had meat pie for lunch at the University. After lunch we went to the British Museum. Fantastic! Rivaling the Louvre it really is one of the top five art museums in the world. The mummified man was nice. I was sorry to see that so little was left of the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens. Housing Greek and ancient Egyptian sculptures as well as Assyrian and other antiquity the British Museum has a large a truly impressive collection. I wanted to see the Magna Carta, but it was closed because Prince Charles was coming for a visit so I couldn’t. I ran into him again 4 years late on his Asian tour in Hong Kong (I later saw the Magna Carta many years later when it was on tour to St. Louis.) The guard was extremely rude not only to us but to another man as well. Very unusual for Britain. I bought a map of London.

Then I went shopping at Selfridge’s and Marks and Spencer (Mark’s and Sparks), my favorite department store in London after Harrods of course. Harrods has everything but is so expensive. I’m looking for a raincoat for school this fall. date accessed 8/10/11

Walked down Oxford Street from Baker (yes the Baker) to Regent Street looking in shops (Aquascutum), I tried on many coats, the clerk was very nice.

Then I met Jack. Jack takes many vacations like us. He has been to Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, too.

It is very, very hot in England this summer. We are enjoying watching the Wimbledon on the TV in the pubs. I bought a London T-shirt. Then we went to a play. John, Paul, George, Ringo, . . . . and Burt. A musical about the Beatles by Willy Russell.

“Big Ben” does not refer to the whole clocktower, but to the huge thirteen ton bell that strikes the hour.

One theory has it that the bell was named after a popular heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt. However, the consensus today seems to be that it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall*, a (literally) weighty politician of the time who was the Parliamentary Commissioner of Works.Also known as The Palace of Westminster, The Houses of Parliament incorporates The House of Commons (destroyed in WW2, rebuilt 1950), The House of Lords & Westminster Hall.


We visited Windsor Castle and saw the changing of the guard. Windsor is a small town outside of London on the south bank of the Thames. It is not far from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Windsor Castle one of the favorite residences of the Queen was subject to a horrible fire in 1992. The Queen has one of the largest collections of Leonardo drawings here.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle


Hampton Court not as beautiful as the other palaces. (This comment really surprises me as I remember Hampton Court as one of the best places I’ve been) This was the favorite palace of Henry VIII. I really had an epiphany moment here when I realized you could actually visit paces you had read about in History.

7/4 Friday It’s the Fourth of July.

How strange to be in London for the fourth of July! Nobody seems to notice just another hot summer day to them. Attempted a walking tour at St. James palace. What a farce. I found all of the things, but not in the order described. This was my first attempt at following a guide book; I would get much better in years to come. I went to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It was hard to see. We saw more guards and were closer at Winsor. I am really impressed by Whitehall the seat of British capital in Westminster and home of the famous foreign office. Then saw 10 Downing. The prime minister is still Harold Wilson.

Then went back to Trafalgar square. I had lunch upstairs in a nice pub. I love the pubs here. Next I went shopping at the Burlington arcade and bought a tan cashmere sweater. It is really soft. What a neat place!

The Beadles enforced the Regency laws which prohibited singing, humming and hurrying in Burlington Arcade and, true to this tradition, today’s Beadles – resplendent in their Edwardian frock coats, gold buttons and gold-braided top hats -continue to ensure that shoppers uphold standards of courtesy, quiet and decorum.

Went to a crazy place with the group for an Elizabethan Dinner. It was a special treat. On the way we saw a building with a sign Vanderbilt. The dinner was very good but I had to help Jill get home. I had a good time at the feast, it was a good icebreaker. We had mead, Bordeaux wine, soup, salad, and slaw. Pheasant, which was really chicken. A boar’s head, lamb, vegetables, artichokes and raspberry glop for dessert. We also received a white clay pipe with tobacco in it and snuff and a Birthday cake for the United States.

What a great Fourth of July!

7/5 Saturday last full day before transfer.


I went shopping again. This time I finally found a raincoat at John Lewis on Oxford Street–I didn’t get the best exchange but the banks are closed on Saturday. I settled for the Burberry, but I still had my heart set on the Aquascutum but just couldn’t find one in my size… I think I spent about $80.00.So I guess you’re wondering what happened to that raincoat. Well, after all that searching it would be stolen from the lunch room within the first 2 weeks at Vanderbilt. I’d get another Aquascutum and leave it on the airport Limo in Houston many years later. I guess it’s fate. I’m not destined to have a nice raincoat.

Went to speaker’s corner in Hyde park with some friends, then to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards.

Had lunch at the same nice pub in Soho. I had steak and kidney pie with chips. Katie and I would have kidney again at a special restaurant in Cairo on our honeymoon in 1982.

After lunch we went on a Thames cruise to Greenwich. I saw the Cutty Sark. Greenwich is home to the Royal observatory. National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College. It is situated on the Thames just south of London. It of course best known for the Prime Meridian of zero degrees longitude. dated accessed 8/10/11

In 1869, when Cutty Sark was launched, the ship was expected to have a life of around 30 years. Cutty Sark has lasted 4½ times longer. Her 135-year history has been one of continual repairs, refits, maintenance, and ultimately restoration. Yet she still retains around 90% – 95% of the hull fabric that served her during her sea-going career, and this fabric survives continues without significant loss of strength or integrity.

I didn’t get to the observatory because I wanted to take High Tea. That day I learned an important lesson why go to the trouble to visit one place only to make a mad dash to get somewhere else. If you’ve made the effort to get somewhere stay and see what there is to offer. Just assume that you will get back again someday otherwise you will drive yourself crazy. Went back along the Thames. I tried to take tea and Fortnum and Mason, but they are closed on Saturday. Went to the Piccadilly Hotel. Dinner at Hatchetts—chicken. Saw the play Mousetrap by Agatha Christie. It was excellent.


3 responses

  1. Okay Ted. That’s a nice blog but are you sure about that direct flight thing. I’m sure that TIA flight made a scheduled stop in Gander, Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic. They were very concerned about fuel in those days and added up the baggage and passenger weights.
    The thing about Gander is that it is Atlantic time. 1 !/2 hours ahead.

    August 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    • FX Brehm

      I was on the flights with mrted57 in 1975. While the older DC-8 and 707 class of airliners would have stopped to refuel on the east coast, the DC-10s in use by TIA avoided such inconvenience. Our part of the group was out of Northeast Wisconsin (Neenah ot Green Bay). The TIA DC-10 went direct from Chicago O’Hare Airport to London’s Gatwick Airport. Later in July, the same model plane took us from Barajas Airport in Madrid direct to Chicago O’Hare. A few of the alumni from the trip might even remember that the in-fight movie for the return flight was the instant classic, ‘Young Frankenstein.’

      November 26, 2013 at 3:38 am

      • FX
        I’m glad you brought that up. I know we made a stop in Gander on that trip. It may have been on the way back. That’s why I put it in the comments.
        Thanks for your comment. I’d be interested to know what other cities did you visit? Our trip was five weeks. What about you? where all FSL trips five weeks?
        Interesting that you are from Neenah. I’m in the paper business and know many people in the area.
        I do remember the Young Frankenstein!

        November 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

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