It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.
I’m not used to being able think in terms of things that happened 20 years ago today, primarily because my memory sucks. Sure, I could guess, tell you what age I was, or try to recall events that happened ‘about’ that time. But to be able to say precisely what I was doing 20 years ago today, not a chance. Until now. Because 20 years ago this summer, I kept a diary.
Recently a couple of friends, Nathaniel and Rick, wrote in their blogs about meeting and dating their wives. Their tales got me thinking, and helped me realize that I met my wife 20-years ago, and we had a pretty unique first date. It lasted 62-days and covered 21 countries.
At the time I was in college, and my chosen field of study was International Relations. Never having traveled outside of the U.S. (other than the occasional drinking trip to Tijuana, Mex), and my appeals to expand my horizons further fell on sympathetic ears. Thanks to my folks and grandma, I found myself booked on a summer long trip to Europe, traveling solo, but with a tour group that was compromised of 25 girls and 17 guys, who came from homes reaching from New York to Hawaii. The average age on the bus was around 20 or 21. Nice setup, eh? Our tour group was labeled GT610, AESU’s shorthand for Grand Tour (their longest European trip) departing on June 10, 1985.
And so, dear readers (you are so few that you are indeed dear), I plan to take advantage of this summer and this blog, to share some tidbits from this rare opportunity I have to tell you exactly what I was doing 20 years ago today, by reprinting some of the entries from my travel diary that I wrote that life-changing summer. Where appropriate I will add links, annotations, photos and reflections. And where necessary, I will still leave some of the best stuff out. Even after 20 years, some memories remain my own.
To catch up, we departed New York on June 10, and caught a Madrid to Lisbon connection on June 11th where we met up as a group for the first time. After a brief time in Lisbon and then Guarda, we were in route to Madrid.
|June 14 On Bus/MadridCrossing the border into Spain, our bus died leaving us between countries. Stayed an hour in Rodrigo where we had lunch and I won a 500 psta jackpot on the slot machine. Stopped in Avila, a city inside a huge wall dating to the middle ages and then to Salamanca. Arrived in Madrid at about 7:30 and had a whole fish for dinner. Went to the Orense mall and drank a huge beer called a ‘mini’ and danced. Came home at 5:00 am.
Coincidentally, it was just a day or two ago my wife Jennifer recalled that fish dinner for our children. We’ve learned to appreciate seafood more than we did before, but we still prefer it not to be looking back at us from our plates.