Summer 1989

Heartbreaking scenes of dying and dead creatures at end of March as the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska. The area has never fully recovered. I'd already been awakened to environmental issues buit every time something like this happened I was being pushed closer to Green politics.

The fight against the Poll Tax was picking up. One of the fiercest battles was to be in Greenwich. Scotland got the tax first but we all knew it was coming for us eventually.
Hillsborough happened on 15th of Apirl, one of the biggest tragedies in European football, claims the life of 96 Liverpool supporters. I'm sure we had the tv on that afternoon. I remember seeing the scenes that are so well known now as they occured, live on telly, but not knowing the level of the tragedy at that stage. I also have a vague idea I was in Plymouth that weekend.
Tiananmen Square started on April 21st - and rumbled on through.May, culiminating in a major massacre that west did its level best to play down.
News stories - propaganda essentially - gloating over increasing cracks in the Iron curtain seperating capitalist Europe from Hungary and East Germany.

That Summer I went inter-railing round Europe with Andy and Colin. I was keen to visit East Germany at least as I suspected that big changes were in the offing, but I was in the minority.
I think we all set off from my place at some point on Friday 30th June - or at least Colin did, Andy may have been in London anyway at that point.
There were comments about my food supplies at some point, cans of Heinz Baked Beans. Andy wasn't impressed. It was a shaky journey to whateve port it was we were ferrying from. My notes tell me we took a ferry direct to Holland, which implies an overnight journey.
On Saturday we travelled from Holland to Luxembourg via Belgium, and had a fraught time sorting out accomodation. There being three of us and most rooms being doubles at most it looked like one of us would have be on their own in a room and would end up paying double. That night it was Andy. The German landlady got wise to use trying to sneak andy in after we'd booked a room for two and went ape-shit. Threatened to call the police. we backed down and apologised. Lucky we didn't get thrown out. andy went off by himself to get a room. Not very supoportive of us, but I was knackered and I suppose Colin was too.
On Sunday 2nd had a look round the town and then had to catch a train to Zurich.
We saw a bit of the Tour de France which happened to be passing through Luzembourg on that day.
The train took us through fantastic scenery. Zurich was boring. everything was shut, clean, expensive and boring. did I mention boring? We had an expensive kebab and slept in an expensive pension.

Monday, 3rd, back on a train - southbound through the Swiss mountain scenery towards the alps. Getting sunnier all the way. In Italy we headed east - was this when we saw tremendous storms around Lake Garda. Can't remember if we had to make any changes. but we arrived just outside Venice where we found a decent pension above a pizza restaurant. that was when Colin told us he didn't like pizza.

I'd been there before. We stayed in the town - Messina? - just outside Venice proper but it was a very short train journey into Venice. Expensive but absolutely out of this world. Unlike any other city. Had a little bit of a to do with Colin in a supermarket. He was faffing about so I said sharp words. Thought he was not used to shopping - and probably was right.
Did notice the smell but it wasn;t too bad. The rubbish was piled up thanks to a refuse collecters' strike. We tried to get out to lesser explored bits of Venice. I liked the feral cats we saw there.
We had a whole day in Venice - two nights. And we did have pizza in the restaurant. It wa a revelation to me. thin and crispy. lovely.
Wednesday 5th Venice to Rome
Accomodation right opposite the station; spent all day thursday and Friday. there was lots in Rome to see.

In Rome we pretty much saw everything we needed to. this is me at the top of the wotsist in Vatican. It was very hot indeed and we did a lot of walking. The old Roman ruins were superb. We found excellent cheap accomodation with excellent cheap restaurant below, right opposite the fascist train station (built by Mussolini). I had a good line in music T shirts back then - see me above in my Wedding Present T shirt. Dicky tummy for me on first night from burger which was raw in the middle. Discovered Italian bread and proper coffee.
Then to Pisa - another night's stay - we got visted by a bat which i had to deal with. You could actually climb the tower in those days, though alarmingly it had no railings or any sort of barrier. It was leaning rather alarmingly too.
Saturday 8th Rome to Pisa - and Pisa was a disapointment. You'd think that there would be more to Pisa than just the tower, but there wasn't. We stayed the night in Pisa.
Sunday 9th Pisa to Monaco - the food there was also a revelation. I had a salad and tuna bap with vinegraitte dressing. It tasted like nothing I'd ever eaten before. I got taken for American and had the piss taken out of me by a French woman. Expensive.
Mon 10th Nice - felt like a fish out of water. the people were super-clean and glamorous. they excuded wealth and we excuded stale sweat and empty wallets. Feeling pretty skuzzy we walked along the beach and refused to strip as per the usual on the beach.
Tuesday 11th Nice to Cannes - i would have skipped the south of France almost entirely. It's upsetting to me now that I compromised so badly when I would much rather have gone to Marseilles via Berlin and Italy, we ended up in boring Zurich, tedious Pisa and unbearably upmarket Monaco, Cannes and Nice.
But the travelling was the thing. I loved being on the move, the going from one place to the next. Even the confrontation with the border guard coming into France was more fun than Monaco, Cannes and Nice put together.
Wednesday from Nice to Paris - now Paris was worth visiting.
Then Paris from Wed 12th to Saturday 15th
On Saturday we got train back to London via Calais.

Then came another superb train journey along the coast from just inside italy to Monaco and then Nice. fnally - we couldn't get onto the TGV - so normal train to Paris for our last few days. I chilled out. Not sure that I really liked Paris but found I could relax there as well as anywhere, and going up the tall building was fun
It was Bastille day - and not just any Bastille day but the 200th Bastille day and the E Tower was 100 years old: "100 ans" which was emblazoned in lights up the side of the tower. I wore my stripey onion seller T shirt in tribute...and donned my cool "Style council esque" shades - SC had performed Paris Match - so it all made sense to me.

and that was it. then it was back to England on the bumpy little train from dover, through Kent.

These are actual pages written by me back in the day, though this is actually me remembering events a year or two later - not a diary as such. Click on the image to make it larger: