Travel continued…Dad made a travel documentary of our road trip so I had to be on my best behaviour on screen. I walked down steps in boring old ruins trying to look at least midly interested. At 8 yrs old and without a playmate, this could be fairly challenging. I walked across city plazas trying to look elated when really all I wanted to do was find the ice-cream shop (obviously). So there were still many moments of looking grumpy and uncooperative with a few poked out tongues that had to be edited out. Grown ups could be sooo boring. Technologically, Dad was pretty advanced back then (1989) and carried a camcorder complete with VCR recording equipment. It must have weighed a ton. Not to mention all the wires. He was known for the amount of wires he could use at any one time.
I’m recalling a moment in St Mark’s Square, Venice where I was let loose with a bag of seed and a thousand pigeons. They were on my head, my shoulders, flapping all over me. I didn’t get pooped on thank goodness. Bonus for mum. I’m also recalling a particularly fine chocolate crepe around that area and a fun gondola ride where mum ended up buying the gondolier’s hat.
Some of my most fond travel memories link back to friends I met and connections I made along the way. I had a crush on a Dutch boy on a cruise aged ten (I can’t believe he went off with Cheryl). There was a whole gang of us who’d run round the ship causing mischief, hang out in the deserted cinema or play fruit machines in the casino during the day.
I went on a coach holiday to Spain. The coach would become a giant den for all the kids to play in and all the people would become toys to mess around with and talk to. I developed a habit of pretending to be asleep around other children on that coach. I loved tricking them. I have no idea why. It could last for what seemed like hours until I did actually end up falling asleep. Children play the funniest games with themselves. I met a four year old boy who knew the make and model of every single car we passed on the road. Back then I had no idea about cars so I found it fascinating.
I’m just remembering how forthright my mum was on that holiday too. We’d stopped at a service station and there was a huge queue for the ladies. So mum decided she wasn’t going to wait and bundled me, with her hand over my eyes, into the men’s toilets. Into a cubicle. What a woman. The men must have freaked out!
Lefkas in Greece was a place of happiness for me. Along with the fact that it had chocolate flavoured Mr Whippy ice-cream, I also had good times riding on the back of a motorbike with a local fisherman. I’ll always remember that exciting, adrenaline filled moment. Without a hemet on. Eeeek. I met a local family there, who ran a gift shop. They said I could choose anything I wanted from the shop. Bizarrly I had a premonition that this would happen the evening before. I think I was so overwhelmed that it had come true, I said they could choose for me (even though I was coveting a very 80s looking elegant white china hand holding a feathered pom pom). I got a dog dinosaw instead complete with pink wig.
I became fond of the lady who ran the clothing and jewelry shop. I would spend hours in there with her. Soula was her name. She would pretend to be the customer and I would serve her. I loved being in charge, sitting behind the counter and taking the money. I especially loved wrapping the little gifts up in little bags and sticking sellotape on them. She had a tape dispenser. I felt grown up.