In Europe we always carried guide books giving the sites to see, where to stay and eat, what to buy etc. I would read these aloud to Walt as he drove us to our next destination. The books failed to mention a few situations we found ourselves in.
In a country inn in Spain we discovered bed bugs!! and left in the middle of the night. In Edinburgh, being unable to understand our guide even though he was speaking English. Asking directions in France, knowing he spoke English and have him refuse because we were not educated enough to speak French. Snob!
We camped as often as possible including in Bulgaria where we stayed in a new campground, however, they were not really ready for people. An old woman sat on the bathroom steps with a bucket of water, her job was to flush the toilets after a tourist exited. Constipation!
In Turkey seeing Mosques and women wearing Burkas for our first time and astonished at the weight the men carried by balancing anything and everything on their heads and backs.
In Greece not being able to understand each other so the waiter took my hand and led us into the kitchen so we could point at what we wanted to eat.
Checking into a Belgrade hotel surrendering our pass ports and then realizing our room was bugged. Creepy!
Being approached by some young boys in Rome offering to watch and protect our car for a dollar, knowing if we did not pay the car would be broken into.
At the Greek/Bulgarian border crossing while Walt was getting the car inspected I took pictures of the guards, buildings etc, the Greek guard kept saying 'no no' I just smiled and waved to him continuing to snap pictures. As we were leaving I noticed a sign in English that said ' No Pictures'. Lucky for us he must have thought I was just another dumb American.
To cross into East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie, Walt, had to wear his uniform as per the Soviet/US agreement. Needing directions we saw several East Germans at a bus stop but when we approached they disappeared. Only a Russian officer stopped and helped us. It became apparent the Germans were afraid to be seen talking to us.
In a Danish Youth Hostel the room and sheets were not clean. Walt, did not seem to care but after I said I would sleep sitting up in the chair, we again left in the middle of the night. Is this
a guy thing that you dont care if the sheets are clean or not?
Getting to hike on a Norwegian glacier above the Artic Circle. Witnessing the pageantry of a bull fight in Madrid. Having a gondolier sing to us while riding in his gondola in Venice.
We had a flat tire when we were crossing Greece to catch a ferry to Italy. It had rained so much mud was up to the running boards of the VW, since we had not seen a car all day, Walt, stripped to his underwear so he would not ruin his shoes and clothes. Just as he finished a car full of young people honking and laughing passed us.
At the Parthenon in Athens we were overwhelmed by the beautiful 5th century temple when a man started pointing at the city and said 'Look thats where we are staying, The Hilton'. Ugly American!
We Visited the Normandy Beaches of WWII with their steep cliffs that our GIs had to climb while the Germans were shooting down on them from their bunkers. There were 120,000 allied troops and 10,000 allied ships involved on D Day. My Uncle Claudie was one of those GIs in that landing he was in the third wave because all these men were short in stature and they needed the dead bodies to wade in on to keep from drowning! A US military cemetery is now on the top of the cliffs where over 6000 US GIs are buried. They all died within 3 days of D Day. Heartbreaking!
South of Munich is Dachau, a concentration camp which was liberated by the US Army, over 200,000 people were brought here by continuous trains. We stayed at an inn there and I was awaken in the night by a train whistle causing goose bumps!
Visiting two of King Ludwigs castles in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein, the castle Walt Disney used as his replica for Cinderella castle at Disneyland or at dusk crossing the lake by boat then riding in a horse drawn carriage to Herrenchiemsee, sipping champagne and listening to a string quartet playing Mozart in the Hall of Mirrors lit by thousands of candles. Wow!!
Returning to US next