16 March 90 - How can one spend time? One can spend time by writing. I'm in Knutsford, south of Manchester. I just bought a ticket for £5 to go to Macclesfield. It goes up into Manchester & I change trains there. It'll take an hour to go to Macclesfield which is 11 miles away. Phil gave me a lift from Aberdeen to Knutsford. I'm on the train now. I hope it's the right one. We passed a place called Altrincham. When I got out of Phil's car, I broke a nail somehow. We just left Stockport. I'm supposed to get out at Piccadilly Station. I just saw some carnival rides out the window. It's my Easter break. I'm travelling for a month. I'm wearing black jeans 28W 36L, white cotton socks, tan leather boots, the blue/black sweater (jumper), the thick "red" shirt, a black T shirt, a black canvas belt, an ammo pouch with documents and my glasses. I think I'm almost to Piccadilly. I brought several handkerchiefs, one pair thick wool ("rag wool") socks, one pair army wool socks, another pair (or was it 2?) white cotton socks, a washcloth, a kitchen towel, the olive trousers with no back pockets, another T shirt (blue?), the old wool shirt, 2 pair boxers, one pair thin cotton long underwear, my camera in cardboard & plastic, the flash, film, a bottle of water, an enamel cup, "Lets Go Europe," Phil's Britain hitchhiking guide (now I'm on the train to Macclesfield), 2 small (P38) can openers, tweezers, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, Q tips in an envelope, a small teaspoon, a knife, chapstick, TLG knife, travel alarm, blue paper towels, Indiana tax return, W-2s, Phil's map of Britain, several pens, Buchner's Woyzeck & Dantons Tod, German dictionary, photocopied maps of Glasgow & Edinburgh, address book, this pad, airmail envelopes, cane, multi-vitamins, map of London, fuel, matches, small sewing kit, a bit of toilet paper, plane ticket to Athens, and I do believe that's about all. Most of these things are in my light olive "US" bag (with straps, the one I'm not sure what was used for) and the green (olive, dark) shoulderbag with pockets at either end, which I bought in Weymouth. I just passed a station called Stockport. I've already been to Stockport, am I on the right fucking train? I don't suppose it makes a lotta difference, except I'll end up in a different place at a different time. And I should not forget my coat.
Now it's 18 March. I'm waiting at the Macclesfield bus station for the coach which takes me to London. I paid £5.00 for a student card and £6.80 for the fare. I had a pretty good time at the Collins' farm. I'm not sure I liked the undertones of racism and jingoism which I noticed, actually I'm sure I didn't like them, I'm just not sure if they were what I took them for, hard to say really. It's 20 minutes late, my bus. I wonder what they thought of my hair and facial hair. The have a bus service here called MiniLynx, how cute. There are lots of people with backpacks, hiking boots and walking sticks, they must be Sunday Ramblers.
Fuckers. National Express left me behind. Fuckers. I damn well better get my £s back. I'm on the London Underground now. Piccadilly line. I think I may meet Pat on time after all. Maybe. The coach left me behind at Macclesfield. I took the next one to Derby. I walked (with the help of a small lift) to the M1 and got a ride to London within 10 minutes. All the way to the Bounds Green Station.
My feet & knees hurt from the walk. It was around seven miles. Probably took around 6 hours. I'm not sure if this train goes to Heathrow or the other way. The lady who gave me the lift was interesting. She said she writes song lyrics & greeting card greetings for a living. She said she wrote a few that the Kinks did. Neat. She said she was from Hamburg originally. Just got to the Covent Garden Station. Just left. It'll be good to see Pat I think. I sure hope he told me the time and flight and all. A group of people just got off only one of them didn't get off in time. She'll have to get out next stop & go back. Another lady just got her bag caught in the door and a man helped her to get it out. I smoked one of the lady who gave me a ride's Dunhills. She said she had a crazy time in the 60s, with £s from her song. She & some friends hired a boat & cruised the Greek Isles. Sounds fun. She was stoned or smashed mostly during that time. The guy who gave me the short lift in Derby was a postal worker. It's a long ride to Heathrow.
21 March 1990 Wednesday.
I'm in Sheffield now. I met Pat at Heathrow no problem. Then he called his pal Greg Ward. We went there on the tube. We thought we wouldn't get a train because it was late, but we did. We walked from Uxbridge station to Greg's. We asked people where stuff was so it took a long time & it was real late. I & Pat were very tired & hungry. We got there & Greg fixed us a cheese omelette with green pepper, onion and mushrooms. I went to sleep. Pat & Greg talked till 5am. Greg had an exam next day. He took his exam. I got up & took a shower without soap. I didn't have any & didn't know which was Greg's. Switch pens. I went to the store and bought £6 food & Pat was up by time I got back & Greg returned soon after; we went sight seeing in London & ate at Pizza Hut for £16. Saw Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Nelson's column, Tower of London, St. Paul's. Only saw them. took the tube back. While walking my feet hurt little my knees a little and my hips began to hurt.
29 March 1990. I'm on a train now out of Athens to Corinth. I stayed 3 days in Athens. 3 nights at the Tempi Hotel for 4368 drs. Not too bad for price. I ate at some nice outdoor cafés and some cheap places too. I bought some apricots, a roll & feta cheese along to eat. I also have some very salty peanuts. The rest of the time in London with Greg & Pat was good. We had fun in Sheffield with Prema. We went to a place called Castleton I think in the Peak district. Back at Greg's I got drunk & we smoked hash & I felt self destructive & out of control. Bad & good. Mostly bad. Then I went to Greg's room to lie down sleep pass out & vomit. I stayed at Greg's all day next day & slept. The train is leaving Athens now. The ticket was 370 drs. Pat & Greg did lots of stoned sightseeing whilst I slept. We went to the Isle of Wight for a day. Day return £17, Bus pass £3.30, Taxi £10. A transpo fiasco but quite fun. Saw the needles. Got blown by very strong wind.
Sent tax return. Made 2 copies. Sent 26 March 90. Went to Acropolis, temple of Apollo, Lysykratos, agora, National Archaeological Museum and all over central Athens. So many scooters & motorcycles of all kinds everywhere; some comically small. Cars of every make imaginable; some looked pasted together. I saw the absolute best old BMW with sidecar bikes. Excellent. I wanted so much to buy one. That would be the ultimate thing to drive. Wow, Greece is amazing. The food market area had a huge neat place. 3 big buildings. We're out of Athens now & there is fucking garbage littering the countryside windblown plastic wrappers & bags everywhere. Dry & dusty. At one restaurant I tried to get food & no one would serve me. Arseholes. Just passed an oil refinery on some water. The hills look so dry & barren. The conductor said 1 hr 30 minutes. In Athens there are little newsstand booths every few steps it seems. I went with
Pat to the airport. Then I went to Westminster Abbey. Then to Uxbridge. Greg wasn't home so I took a bus to Heathrow. I didn't get much sleep on the plane. Tried to sleep in the airport but it was uncomfortable. Talked to a guy from Hanover at the airport. I met a Kiwi just before I got on the train. He & his friend were going to Egypt. There were 3 wheeled delivery trucks in Athens. I saw Mazda and VW ones. I should've gotten some fresh fruit for the trip. It was great fun to be with Pat for a week. Now I'm on the train to Patras. I went to Ancient Corinth on the bus from Corinth. When I got off I left my cane on the bus. Damnit that sucks. I met a German called Amin from Frankfurt or thereabouts. I met him in Corinth, then again in Ancient Corinth. He left to go to Agora (?) but came back & we slept in a lemon grove. It was cold. I was very cold. I woke up several times in the night & shivered. I woke up & had to shit, but I went to do so
and couldn't hold it so it came out in my pants. I stink now, like shit. It's about 45 minutes to Patras. The guy across from me gave me a Camel filter. Nice guy. The tracks follow the coast. We're on the water now. The mountains are amazing. I didn't enjoy my first night in the "thousand star" Hotel. Amin encouraged me to keep trying. I wish I had some fruit to eat. I'm hungry. When I first woke up, I could barely stand & my feet were numb. The cocks started crowing about an hour before sunrise. I spoke German with Amin. He spoke good English. I think he spoke Spanish & Italian too & was learning Greek.
I guess it's 1 April now. Maybe 30 March or 31? It's the 30th after all. It's 6:33pm now and I've spent the whole day waiting. I got up cold and waited for the bus. I got to Corinth and waited for the train about 2 hours. Then I waited for the Patras stop for about 2 hours. I've been waiting here in Patras all day. I've done almost nothing but sit. I did walk around & buy
some food for the boat trip. The boat arrives in Corfu at 8:30am. I paid 4500 to Brindisi. 1000 extra so I could stop over one night in Corfu. I've spent about 25 000 drs this week. About $150. Not too bad I guess, but it could have been a lot less if I wasn't stupid. I find myself wanting to get back to my warm & comfortable bed in Aberdeen. I've got 2 more weeks. I almost wish it were less, almost. I'm lonely. I wish Pat or Brent or Nate or Ross or anyone was travelling with me. I wish I had someone to share my impressions with. It would be so great to say "remember when we..." later. Shit. I miss my old friends. I was thinking it would be better if I had a car (or BMW w/ side car ha ha). It would be great to just go where I wanted when I wanted. I almost enjoy waiting, I'm sure I would enjoy it if it were with a friend. It would be fun to be with Howard & his van. My hair is dirty. I may wash it soon. Maybe not. I may shave soon. Maybe not. There's a guy who looks like Howard and I just saw an opalescent coat.
Looks like something might be happening in the waiting room or maybe not. The ship leaves at 2200 and we're supposed to be able to start boarding at 2000. Of course it would help if I were healthy. And I've lost my stick now. Bad luck. My body has been standing up surprisingly well to the strange sleep patterns, cold weather and shit food. I'm happy about that. I think I'll write a post card to Dad & Kate now. I wrote one. It's 1 April 90 Sunday now. I slept on the deck of the boat. It was pretty cold. Not as cold as Corinth. This group Italians (guys) were singing lots of Italian songs till late. I met some English people on the boat. Peter (London area), Lisa and Rebecca (Bournemouth). We went to a place on Corfu called the Pink Palace. Fucking weird. All English spoken there, a party, fraternity like atmosphere. 2500 drs for room, breakfast and "3 course" dinner. Not too bad of a deal. I only spent 250 more drachmas there or 280 or so. I stayed in a room with Peter. He got pissed out of his head.
I met a 76 year old lady from LA. Maybe the queen of LA like the song says. She was interesting. We ate a good healthy dinner. Soup (last), salad (first), chicken, potatoes & spinach like slop (second). Not bad food. I bought a beer around noon. Lowenbrau for 150 drs and I drank about 1/3 of it. I bought a cup of tea late & it was shit-tea. I laid in the sun for a while. My nose is red, sun burned. I swam in the Med sea. It was cold as fuck. I wrote Ross a Birthday post card, but I don't know if there was sufficient postage on it. I met a guy called Eric who's from Michigan going to school in LA. I think I'm kind of travelling with him now. It's a sunny hazy day. We are on the Poseidonia, due to arrive in Brindisi at 1700, departed 900. May just take a train to Rome. I just ate a carrot. I'm getting more sunburn I think. I went to the toilet. Only on the way out did I notice that it said Ladies on the door. Oops. Oh well, I don't think anyone saw. Tee hee hee. I'll take me boots off now I think.
Now it's 1914 and I'm in Brindisi waiting for a train to Napoli, which is where I decided to go. I intend to go to Pompey or Herculaneum or both. I just ate. It was 6700 lire & 600 tip. Pizza, salad, mineral water (insalata mista, acqua minerale, pizza margherita) and free bread, or rather coperta 1000. So it was $6 or thereabouts for a reasonable meal. That seems expensive to me. I shall eat more frugally I think. A guy Jim bought sandwiches for 1000 lire. Motorcycle. Damnit. I exchanged my $50 bill on the boat for 1200 lire/$. Seems to be about the going rate now. I'm tired. Lonely feeling again. Eric must go home. He says he'll send me his Eurrail pass. I'll give it a go I guess. He says he'll send it to AmEx in Roma. Yes I'm really tired. I've separated myself from Jim & Eric & the American girls they were with. There are 3 old men talking in Italian next to me. There is a train strike so several trains haven't gone. The strike is supposed to end at 2100. My train is supposed to leave at 2055, it may or may not be there. I heard a girl say, "I have to act like I'm having a good time when I call home." I just don't call.
I suppose I have a bit in post cards. I think I may try for a wee kip. I think of my bed in Aberdeen. Now I'm in Napoli. My train left at 10:26pm. Arrived at about 500 I think. I slept some on the train uncomfortably. I walked around the station area, tried to get a cheap place to stay. I left my bags at Deposito Bagaglio or whatever it's called. I went to Pompeii & Ercolano. Neat stuff. Here in Italy I've gotten stared at more than anywhere. Even made fun of. I've noticed lots of anti-American sentiment, mostly in graffiti I guess. I don't like that at all. The trains here are electric. Pretty fast & efficient it seems. Smooth ride. People litter a lot here, even openly. What I've seen of Napoli is ugly & dirty. Of course I've really only seen the area around the train station, which is stupid of me. I just don't feel very energetic. Carrying these bags around isn't fun. Perhaps if I had different shoes on, everything would be different. That's partly a joke partly not. I think I'll put my sweater on. I paid 25000 for a room last night. That was bloody stupid of me. I should have slept in the station. Oh well I had a shower & slept a lot on a comfortable bed. I like to travel. I like to see things.
again I don't like being alone while travelling. I don't like dealing with people much. Especially crafty ones who don't speak my language & want my money & don't mind being dishonest. I guess Americans don't give a good reception to foreigners who don't speak the language when they visit the US. Probably some do, some don't. I wish I had my own transportation, then I could stop along the way in places & maybe get some of the "culture" away from touristy areas. I think of all the neat things & places I could show a visitor to America. I think going to Finland will be great. London even was good. A place to stay, or at least the option of leaving "now." I should've gone to see Napoli once I'm here, but it would've been a hassle. I don't like the strain & the discomfort of course is not comforting. Even a Eurrail or Interrail would make this trip better. I want to get back. How gay. It makes me feel sad & depressed. I bet my mother would pity me. Perhaps I should call for encouragement. Naw. I doubt it.
9 April 90. Now I'm in Hürth outside of Köln. I've had an interesting day. I got up and ate my breakfast at the Jugendherberge Burg Schwaneck then went to the Viktualien-markt south of Marienplatz in München. I ate Leberküs and bought cheese, an orange, 2 bananas, 3 brötchen & then bought a bratwurst in the S-bahn station. Then I took the S Bahn & bus to the Autobahn entrance. I quickly got a lift in a Passat who thinks of East Germans as people like Poles or any other country. Then outside of Stuttgart a lift from a guy who didn't talk much. Then I met 2 other hitchers & we all got a lift to near Mannheim. Then I got a lift in a truck to Köln or outside of Köln and I actually had to get lifted by one of the other nice hitchers to get into the truck. Then I walked about 4 kilometers away from Köln to where I am now, the Näturfreundschaft Jugendherberge. I said I'd only stay one night. I think I'll try to stay 2 & see Köln & Bonn. I took a train to München from Rome, ₤59000 or about $50. I should've tried hitching but I didn't feel up to it. I took the train also from Naples to
Rome. I oughta update on Rome & München but maybe I'll do that later & sleep instead now.
10 April 1990. I'll try to stay here one more night. I slept well. In Rome I spend ₤3000 or more actually, trying to find a bed. Calls are ₤200. I finally called Ottaviano near the Vatican and he said one bed free but no reservations, get here as quick as you can, so I did & I got it, but he said only 1 night. I walked around & it rained. I went to P. Novana & Spanish Steps. In the morning at the Pension guy said maybe another night, ask at 12. I went to the Vatican Museum & St. Peter's Basillica & asked & he said ok, so I got 2 nights. I saw the Colosseum and Roman Forum. I saw the Baths of Caracalla & Circus Maximus. I went to Ostia also. Then I spent almost a whole day farting around trying to decide what to do. I didn't want to hitch so I got a ₤59000 ticket to München but couldn't get a Visa cash advance so I had to cash £30 of travellers checks (for a ₤5000 fee). I got some food & got on the train. I didn't sleep well. Passport please. Ticket please.
10 April 90. Today I spent half the day in Köln, then half the day in Bonn. I bought a 15 DM travel card. The guy in this JHB just sang Deutschland über Alles. Interesting guys, doing a bike trip along the Rhine. I really like München. Many nice museums and it's smooth and clean & seems to be almost automated. I went to the Glyptotek, Antikensammlung. Sunday I went to Dachau and then Moderne Kunst Museum. A good museum. I saw the Glockenspiel. I paid 25DM for dinner in a Cafe across from the Neues Rathaus. I stayed at a JHB Schwaneck. I bought 3 Brötchen, Schweizerkäse, 2 Bananen, 1 orange and an American guy gave me 500ml UHT Vollmilk which I ate on the way. Shit, I already wrote that. Today I waited for a bus to take me back to the JHB from the U-stop but it didn't come, so I hitched & got a lift in less than 5 minutes. I went to the Ludwig Museum & the other one there which name I can't remember. (Wallrat-Richartz) An excellent collection of modern art. I also went to the Dom. In Bonn I walked around. I ate at the Universitätsmensa. It was very cheap but not very good. 2.40 for a meal.
12 April 90 Now I'm on a ferry to Dover. I tried hitching out of Köln on the A4 Efferen onramp but there was nowhere for people to stop. I left there & farted around for a long time getting out to Königsdorf (Groß) where I thought I could get to the Tankstelle for better luck. I spent over an hour walking around trying to find the way to the Tankstelle & got there & it wasn't too long till I got a lift, but after 2 German guys who got there after me. The advised me to use an Aachen sign instead of an England sign. Good advice I think. I met the German guys again just outside of Aachen. I'd left Köln at 2pm or so. We waited about 3 hours I think. Finally I got a lift out of this Propsteier Tankstelle to Liege. The lift was thanks to this English bloke Miles and the Germans who let me go instead of themselves. They were nifty guys. Then Miles immediately got us a lift to outside of Brussels with a German girl & a girl from Buffalo. He got a lift quick outta there to Brussels & so did I. I walked several kilometers to a better
place & by this time it was getting late. Luckily, I got a lift to Gent, but she missed the last services so I got let off in a shitty place. Some arsehole behind me has his walkman too loud. There in Gent I had the good fortune to meet Maureen who "took me in and gave me breakfast." She had just moved to her sisters house and I spent the night in her room. She fed me cheese & bread & tea at night and a great breakfast in the morning. Today she drove me on a sightseeing tour & left me at the museum to see the Expressionismus exhibit. Then we checked into getting to London. 1400BF for Bus or 1675 for train. With train & leave today. I took it, but only barely just made it on time & now here I am. And I'm tired. Maybe I'll try to sleep or maybe I'll buy some cigarettes or maybe not. I did. I bought Dunhills & Belga filters 66 Francs each. I spent most of my remaining money.
Some time ago I thought of a story my dad told me about he and a friend in heavy traffic with a redneck behind them with his high beams on and people flashing their lights to get him to turn them off & it was annoying an I think
he asked the guy to turn them off when they stopped but the guy got angry or something, well anyway, I thought of something simple to say about the situation but I've forgotten what it was.
15 April 90 I'm back in Aberdeen now & happy about that, but not happy to work & looking forward to going again. I got to London no trouble. Met 2 South Africans & thought they were a couple but they weren't. I gave the female one my address here. It would be neat if she visits. All coaches to Aberdeen or Scotland even were full when I arrived. I bought a 9:00am National Express ticket & went to look for Greg. I didn't find him, but I met Mick & John. They said they were just with Greg and I could wait for him there or come drink whisky with them. I did the latter. We finished a bottle of Grants. I was pissed out of my head. We looked for Greg a little, couldn't find him so he let me sleep in his bed because he was staying out all night anyway. I woke up at 7:00am feeling like shit. I had the dry heaves that night. My mouth tasted of old cigarettes & whisky & cotton mouth in the morning. I drank one of Mick's UHT milks & then bought a Marathon. Didn't feel well. The bus didn't run much on Good Friday so I had to walk to the tube station. Left Uxbridge at 7:54am. Just missed that Victoria Line train at Green Park as usual. I was late to Coach station so I missed the 9:00 to Aberdeen. Stood in the huge queue for the 3rd time & said my coach left without me. Paid 90p for re-issue & got the 11:00am to change in Perth for Aberdeen. Didn't enjoy the smokebox ride. Stuck in traffic, late, missed connection in Perth. Got put on bus to Dundee & then taxi from there to Aberdeen at the expense of National Express. Arrived Hillhead about 1am & got key, paid £4.50 for extra night.
Early June 90
Glasgow, Buchanan St. The Pavilion. The Lido Café. tea and toasted cheese. brown bread. There's homemade apple pie here and cheeseburger specials. I'm writing just to do something. I'd smoke a cigarette if I had one. There's a sign on the wall - Diets... Start Tomorrow. And a welcome to the funny farm. with fucking Garfield. Welcome to the Booby hatch. Fear identification affection guilt. They have milkshakes here I shall have to try one. Take away toastie 80p - eat in 140p tea 45p Milkshake 75p. The milkshake was an awful purely liquid powdered milk tasting concoction served in a tall thin glass looking plastic container. crap. I might call it shitty chocolate milk substitute. not a milkshake. I do kind of like the place though, long thin, ceiling fans, old black and white Glasgow photo prints on the walls. They even have one of those Re-animator head post stake things for receipts. but plasticy decor, but then I suppose that adds to the atmosphere in a way. An old looking black oscillating fan. Now I've walked through the city, talked to a communist and looked through the Barras, supposedly the world's largest open air market. I'm in Waldo's Cafe now. Seems to be run by 3 young women and one old one. It's now 1:30. This seems like a good cheap place to eat. really crappy panelled decor with red carpet, ceiling and seats. There doesn't seem to be any real wood in the place, only veneer. 60p for a filled roll egg. 25p tea. It came to £1.30, I guess because I had cheese on the roll too. Crap food, ok tea. It's 5 young women, not 3. This is actually a nice old building, but you sure can't tell from the inside. I suppose one shouldn't expect much from a market like this. I always suspect things in a market are sub-standard somehow. An interesting day of observing bits of Glasgow. It's absolutely brilliant weather. Sunny and warm. I'm happy to sweat. Now I'm in the Willow tea room. it was designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh. I wanted to eat but they aren't serving food now for some reason. How discouraging. I'm so hungry I just drank the TOP milkshake crap. the earl grey tea is good. I must remember twinings is first rate stuff. This is a pretty swell place though. quite small purple and grey. barrel roof, lead glazed windows. There's a bagpipe playing in the street below. Great combinations of geometric and organic lines. Soon I'll feel pressured to leave I bet. Lead glazed mirror. 50p for tea. The communist called this a tourist trap. Close up view of mouth talking. pull back Stirling & St. James Hosp cloth to diffuse sky light. a horse rolls like a dog onto its back, legs in the air. Outside of Dundee saw convertible Impala left drive at Claypot's cars.