Sunday, 21 May 1978
Breakfast 7.30. Rolls and butter, jam, cheese.
Mix up about bus seat rotation. American couple have moved from behind the Irishman.
Drove to the wall. About 12 to 14 feet high with overhanging round top. Area beyond with barbed wire and obstructions. Drove to another section of the wall (Polsan) to buy films. Large picture of 1961 riots. Observation platform – huge area beyond all set up with lights.
Berlin Wall – the viewing point
Berlin Wall – looking over the wall
Our bus and group in Berlin
To East German border to get out of Berlin – took about 45 minutes to get through.
Passports collected and stamped.
Drove to East German border. Took just on 2 hours to get through. Picked up ORBIS Guide. As clocks go on one hour it was 4.30 before we had lunch. Gooseberry drink, ham and cucumber soup and veal/pork? potato, beetroot and shredded cabbage and bottle of Pepsi.
Left at 6 for Warsaw. Through large flat agricultural areas – vast fields.
Roadside stop – Ladies to Front, Gentlemen to rear.
Arrived at Hotel Polonia at 11.50. Allocated rooms. Taken to restaurant and had dinner at 12.20AM! Loud band.
A meat looking dish of 2 slices plus a (potois?) A jam and cream folded sponge sweet. Aerated water on the table and tea. Walked down the street to large underground station. Huge high roofed concourse. Time 1.30.
Comfortable room with B & toilette.
Bus 8AM to 11.50PM.
Saturday, 20 May 1978
Fine, cloud and showers and fog
Breakfast at 7.00. Boiled egg and bread, two meats to choose from and cheese for breakfast. No coach arrived until about 12. Had a walk around nearby shops only as we expected the coach to come.
Left about 1. Travelled autobahn motorway to save time.
Through borders DDR East German border terminal very large. Given bus no. and sent to lanes. All passports stamped. Official came on bus to check that the person matched the photograph. Took about 10-15 mins.
Many barbed wire fences and guard towers. Along autobahn to West Berlin – through E.G. Border again but no check.
Berlin about 9.30. Well lit and brightly coloured shops.
Berlin shopping mall
Dinner at 10. Soup and a variety of German meats and salad.
Had a short walk down to the main street. (Bus 1pm to 9.30pm)
Friday, 19 May 1978
Taxi at 9 o’clock to Victoria Station. Waited for 3050 [group] to gather. Moved off at 9.55 to Platform 1. Two Australian girls opposite – one from Strathfield, one from Bondi. They left Perth last October. Train left at 10.35.
Dover at 12.05. Luggage left in group to be put in the hold. On boat about 12.20. Went down to self service for lunch at 12.35. Service very slow 2 fish @ £2, black tea @ 15p, small lemonade 35p = £4.50. Boat left at about 1.10. Crossing to lake about 4 hours. Fairly smooth crossing but a fair sea is running. Due to arrive at 5.55 continental time.
Mixed bunch on the coach. One dominant American voice. One over enthusiastic Australian(?) girl currying favour with chocolate and excess of well-manners.
After just crossing Dutch border the bus broke down. Had had a constant whine on the diff on the drive and seemed like a square wheel on the back. We were at a coffee break station. After a road mechanic came he announced it to be “kaput” and the courier arranged for another bus to come . Eventually a meal was served to us at the self service. Soup, fish, fruit. Left at 10.20 arrived 12.20 at Arnhem. The American and the Irishman talked all the way in very loud voices.
Thursday, 18 May 1978
Fine (after E.M.C.) [Early Morning Cloud?]
Elsie had a hair perm appointment at 9.30 (took till 12.00).
I went up to London (9.00) with Geoff. He dropped me off at 10.00 at Vauxhall Bridge and I walked (15 mins) up to Cosmos to pick up the papers for the Russian trip.
I thought I did not have the air ticket for Copenhagen-Oslo so rang Scandinavian Airlines who said it should be with my air tickets and I should get in touch with Qantas. I decided I had better have another good look at the tickets and headed home.
Train to Embankment walked to Charing Cross and caught 11.08 train to Sidcup (3 mins to spare). 20 mins walk home.
Met Elsie on way home and then went and rang Newcastle to let them know that I would not be picking the car up until after 2.00 pm on June 11th. Told her it was a Sunday.
Sorted out our bags and left a lot of papers and clothes at Geoff’s place. Took two bags that are fairly light.
Mrs Lawson came down from Banbury and Geoff picked her up.
Early tea and Geoff left at 4.30 and dropped us at Moorgate – had a long wait for a circle Train.
Carried the bags from South Kensington to the hotel. Room 6 once again – we are now old stagers.
Wednesday, 17 May 1978
Rob back to work – the kids back to school. E & G [Elsie & Gillian] did the housework and we drove down to new shopping centre at Chatham. A large regional shopping complex – shops air/cond but walkways and plazas, although covered, were not fully air/cond. Bought some t.paper, Redoxin, lozenges and film but Elsie could not find the heavier type slacks she was after.
Back to Gravesend shops. Many very large shops all well stocked with a very good selection. Bought a crew neck acrylic at Tescos $4.99 and Elsie bought blouses at Marks & Spencers. Had a haircut at Fishers. Had a trim by a buxom bra-less girl who had been standing out in the alley way and whom I wasn’t sure might have been soliciting.
After a big tea Elsie and Gill went to the local cub meeting. E said that the kids were good and soon learned the Highland Goat and asked questions about the Australian flag.
Darryl off to Cubs
Rob took us back to Jennifer’s about 9 o’clock.
Big greeting by Sally (dog).
Tuesday, 16 May 1978
As a special treat the three kids were allowed to have a day off school because their aunt and uncle from Australia were staying with them.
Went down to Broadstairs (50 miles) – followed the Thames down. Early fog lifted and once in a sheltered spot it was quite warm. We had lunch on the beach. Elsie and kids went for a walk and paddle along the beach. Water was very cold. Elsie said she could not feel her toes after a minute or so. Walked along the promenade at the foot of the cliffs and back along the top of the cliffs.
Some secondary boys were out in sailing boats. Wind was cold and the water must have been freezing. One couple could not manage to get their boat past the end of the breakwall.
Drove around to Ramsgate and had tea.
Monday, 15 May 1978
Drive through countryside to Opham* and Tonbury*. Lunch at Tonbury.
Back in time to pick up Darryl after school.
*I haven’t been able to track down either of these two towns from Jim’s notes.
Sunday, 14 May 1978
To Chilham Castle. Battle of Britain Museum [Hawkinge].
[Saw] Jimmy Savile (TV) and his walkers. Stood in cold drizzle to watch jousting and Quintain and hand to hand combat.
A day at the jousting
Saturday, 13 May 1978
Cold drizzle and then fine
Picked up by Rob and Darryl just after 10.
Down through a variety of villages (Biddenden, Tenterton) and countryside to Rye.
Lunch on waterfront. One of “cinque ports”.
Across to Folkestone. Tea in cafe.
Friday, 12 May 1978
Stonehenge – V cold.
Back, motorway to London. Instead of cutting across country I thought Sth Circular would be better. Elsie navigated well but got in the wrong lane and took 20 minutes to go around the block. Back at 8.
Letters from Jack, Edna and Gladesville. Travelled 860 miles.