Africa to Europe Overland (mostly)
10 Trieste to Palma de Mallorca
Photographs on half-frame transparencies.
Taken with an Olympus Pen-F using two lenses.
Transferred to digital with a
Spec-Photo slide-holder fitted to a
Sony DSC-P30 Cyber-shot 1.3 Mega-pixel digital camera.
All photographs copyright KJN unless otherwise noted
To get a proper picture of this tale, it's necessary to understand just how much the world has changed in the intervening years: There was no television in South Africa at that time No satellites. No mobile phones. Travel by any means was expensive, especially as the Arabian oil cartel had gripped the world by the wallet in 1973. Sea travel was expensive, and the ships of the day had no stabilisers or the sophisticated navigation aids taken for granted today.
Yet we hardly felt deprived. It was a great adventure. Diana, indeed, had done it before, travelling in several stages from Australia back to the UK, via the then barely accessible north-east of Afghanistan, where she had been allocated a “shadow” to keep an eye on her. So her experience and knowledge was a valuable contribution to the whole journey, and I take my hat off to her for the part she played in what seemed - at the time – to be a great adventure. It was only later, long after our settling in Mallorca, that I read that in the year we travelled, something like half-a-million others were doing much the same thing. No wonder we kept bumping into the same people time and again. It really IS a small world.
I wouldn't have missed it for all the tea in China, as we used to say...
the greenest option
Day 69 Bogged in on sodden roads
1 JOHANNESBURG TO MOMBASA
1 JOHANNESBURG TO MOMBASA
Day 195 Thursday Jun 13th 1974
Woken at 3am local by Yugoslav Immigration, and again at 4am by Italian Immigration (Now 5am local). Arrived Trieste 7:30am local. Changed 10$US then then were ripped off 1$ for two half-full capuchinos in the station buffet. Walked about a mile down the Venice road and ate breakfast in a park overlooking the Aegean (sardines, cucumber, and fresh rolls.) Spent an unsuccessful hour hitching. Very cold, but the sun was struggling. Walked on two miles past others hitching, to spend another unsuccessful two hours, despite a lot of traffic. Gave up and walked back to the station. After checking buses and trains, bought two train tickets to Milan. Left at 4:30pm, Venice at 6:30, Milan at 10:30pm. Slept in waiting room after Diana had trouble with Italian aspiring romeos. (Woken at 3am for tickets)
260 miles (19,880)
Day 196 Friday Jun 14th 1974
Wash & brush-up then breakfast (ripped off again). Changed more £ into worthless Lira, then bus to autostrada. Hitched with Doctor to Pavia, then with a young woman in a Rally FIAT to Alessandria. Lunch croissants and wine, then a lift of about twenty miles with an Italian/American communist. Then a stroke of luck! Picked up by an American from the Px in Munich. He took us all the way to the next town past San Remo, about twelve miles from the Italian/French border. Arrived about 9:15pm. Spent an hour on a wild goose-chase over camping. Stopped for delicious pizzas & beer at about the right price, then found others camping. Exhausted, we crashed out like logs
180 miles (20,060)
Day 197 Saturday Jun 15th 1974
Woke at 8:30am. Showered for the first time since Istanbul, then bought gorgonzola, a french roll, and milk for breakfast. Hitched for half an hour without success then walked to the station. Bought a very good Shell map of Europe for 200Lira then booked train tickets for Marseilles. Boarded the train at 12:15pm French time, arriving at 3:30pm after a delightful trip along the Cote d'azure. Walked into town to learn that the Palma ferry was discontinued. We had an excellent dinner in a back-street restaurant, then back to station just in time to catch a train to Salon. Changed to a railway bus at Miramas, getting off on the road to Arles just before Salon. We got water from a happy peasant farming family, then a lift into Arles from a local farmer. Bought excellent bread pudding then walked through town over, under, alongside and across the motorway, then, near dark (9pm) pitched camp close to a bog in a quiet lane
60 miles (20,220)
We didn't place any significance in the field being a metre below the road. We were to see that significance later, as you will see. Had we looked more closely at our new map, we might have noticed that we were on the edge of the Camargue, a low-lying tidal flood-plain, now a World Heritage site.
Day 198 Sunday Jun 16th 1974
Awoke at 3am to find one end of the tent wet with standing water underneath it. Changed ends to find, at 4:30am, that the tent was flooded and we were camped in three inches of water.(The Mediterranean tide was coming in). Paddled out, rescued the gear and tent, then found some dry wood and lit a fire to cook porridge. On the road again at 6:30am. Waited for two hours then got a lift to Lunel with two pleasant guys who bought us all coffee. Waited again for an hour and a half, tried to change money (on a Sunday, in a quiet village!!) as we only had 4Fr in cash. We got a surprise lift with three others in a Simca 1000 going to Montpellier, then waited for an hour for the Exchange to open, eventually changing 10$ in a hotel. Walked out of town then waited an hour before getting a lift to Beziers with someone emulating Fangio in a Simca 1100. Again waited an hour for another lift until 8:15pm, then started looking for a camp-site. We found one on the canal bank just before dark. The mosquitos were like Bluebottles and the zip on the net was broken. What a day!
90 miles (20,310)
Day 199 Monday Jun 17th 1974
Woke at 6am in the rain. Rose at 7, walked to Beziers station and found we'd just missed the Barcelona Express. Walked into town and changed money, shopped, and had breakfast in the park (bread, cheese, and milk.) then caught a train to Barcelona.
First change at Narbonne, weather now clear and sunny. At Port Bou – the France/Spanish border – the weather abruptly changed to stormy. Changed trains at Port Bou and again later to a very slow train direct to Barcelona arriving 6:30pm local time. Walked to the Palma ferry booking office and booked third-class on the midnight sailing. An enormous storm broke as we had beers at a side-walk bar.
130 miles (20,440)
Day 200 Tuesday Jun 18th 1974
Boarded and sailed at midnight. Arrived Palma de Mallorca at 7:45am Walked into town and found a cafe for breakfast in the hot sun.
90 miles (20,530 in total)
10 Trieste to Palma de Mallorca