Stories

1 1A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 21 31
41 51 61 71 81 91 101 111 121 131


Tour

I toured Europe for something less than a year. I had it all planed out. In exchange for pulling a half dozen or so 'charge of quarters' duties with a sergeant in my unit, he would have the Greek Air Force build two stainless steel elongated boxes, to mount on a Triumph motorcycle I would buy in London. However at the last minute I changed my mind and sent the boxes home, with all my army stuff in them like my uniforms, boots and such. At the same time I did send my tent and some camping equipment to the London embassy, where I would pick it up after purchasing my motorcycle. I had applied for an overseas discharge in Greece, and was discharged from the Army maybe March 30, 1967. Think I hung around an extra day or two, in no hurry to encounter the complete unknown.

I have a map of my complete tour of Europe traced out in black ink. I had to do some digging to find it. Without it I would have no memory of the circuit I traveled. The map shows I took a ferry from Atre, Greece, but I can find no such place on the web, so will call it Patra which is in the vicinity, and which the web maps show, as the origin of the ferries to Italy. I would take a ferry out of Patra, which would ship me over to Brindisi, Italy, and from there take a train to Rome which I did. To get there it was a long bus ride from Athens. Met a guy on the bus, by complete accident I would assume, who had attended the same college as my old friend Hegle. Got the scoop on him. Apparently he was a real trend setter and leader as he had been in Song Lake, of which this bus acquaintance was not enamored. He was expecially disparaging of Hegle's boots which everybody apparently imitated in foot wear. Also got the scoop on the college, Saint Olaf in Minnesota, which he said was some sort of upper middle class finishing school. It was where my father and uncles had all gone, and where I was to go had I ever graduated from high school and taken that route.

We bought deck passenger seats, which were the cheapest passage, and we slept in these chairs under all-night Mediterranean star light. They were recliners and so you could lay way-back under the night. The problem was you would get to sleep, for who knows how long, and the seat would suddenly pop-up - wake wide from one's dreams. I remember feeling around in the dark for some kind of recline locking mechanism but could find none. This may have happened every half-to-an-hour all night, waking me out of fantastic dreams. Some of the best dream nights of my life were while traveling on bus, train or ship.

Some years later came across the science-says theory that dreaming occurs only in the final minute or so before waking called REM. I immediately recalled this night on the wake-up waters. The problem was, if I am having a great dream and am suddenly awoken in a second by the catapulting recliner, how does the dream mind know to dream just in this instant before being awakened? If the dream is longer than a second, it would be assumed that the dreaming agent knows when wake-up will occur. So I have since thought of that night on the ship. How does the brain know it is going to wake up ahead of time. Either the sleeping mind is clairvoyant, or the theory is not true.

In Brindisi we caught a train to Rome. This was an experience. I believe the train pulled in to the station in late afternoon, with a thronging crowd waiting platform side. It became immediately apparent that there was method in the seething madness of the jostling crowd. People without luggage immediately scrambled onto the train. Soon windows were thrown open and luggage was lifted over people's heads and passed through the windows, to the waiting arms of the compartment scouts. It was a madhouse. I am not sure what my luggage was or what it looked like. It may have been a not very large backpack and a sleeping bag. At any rate we scrambled aboard the train and found a compartment, which may have consisted of two rows of four or five wooden seats facing each other. The compartment was full and we rode the train all night to Rome - sit-up. Don't remember doing any dreaming on this night. May not have slept for all I know.

(1 of 133)             Next Page

hr