50 years on.

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martyn94
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50 years on.

Post by martyn94 »

I keep forgetting to do this post, but it doesn’t matter. It’s fifty years, plus a few weeks, since I first entered France, under my own steam, over the Pont de l’Europe at Strasbourg.

I’ve never had occasion to regret it.

The thing that strikes me in retrospect is how I came out alive. No mobile, no credit card, not much folding money (though enough, as it turned out - I arrived home with exactly 3d left in the old money). And the kindness of strangers to a witless sixteen-year-old with GCE French.
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Kate
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Post by Kate »

Where does the time go? I worked in Roscoff for Brittany Ferries, then St Malo Tourist Office as a stagaire, on to university in Strasbourg for a few years, back to England to teach french, then went on to teach in Surgeres near La Rochelle and finally Paris where I met Le usband. It’s all seems just around the corner of my past yet spans most of my life. Argggghhhhhh. Slow down a bit please life.
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russell
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Re: 50 years on.

Post by russell »

martyn94 wrote: It’s fifty years, plus a few weeks, since I first entered France,

Same here, just over fifty years ago myself and a couple of friends decided to spend the summer vac from university touring Europe. Bought an old banger and a few phrase books for different languages and headed off. Ferry to Calais, then Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and on to Greece. We returned through Yugoslavia, Italy, along the South of France, and up the west coast to Cherbourg for the ferry. Only one breakdown, and one robbery!

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Re: 50 years on.

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martyn94
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Re: 50 years on.

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russell wrote:
martyn94 wrote: It’s fifty years, plus a few weeks, since I first entered France,

Same here, just over fifty years ago myself and a couple of friends decided to spend the summer vac from university touring Europe. Bought an old banger and a few phrase books for different languages and headed off. Ferry to Calais, then Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and on to Greece. We returned through Yugoslavia, Italy, along the South of France, and up the west coast to Cherbourg for the ferry. Only one breakdown, and one robbery!

Russell
I did roughly the same trip the following year, outbound, though mostly by train and bus and thumb, and eventually to Istanbul. I am still not sure whether I have ever been to Bulgaria, but I think I must have done, given the geograpy. I was asleep, so probably it doesn’t count anyway.

I came back through Corfu to Brindisi on the ferry, and then got from Rome to Paris in one hitch. I’ve always been irrationally proud of that.
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Post by Helen »

And almost 50 years for me since I stepped off a train in Montelimar in the middle of the night and was 'paired' with my French penpal before heading off into the night with her family.

That two week stay started my love affair with France and encouraged me to ramp up my French studies. I realised French was actually a language that it was useful to speak.

It's where I learned the word 'ivre' (thank you penpal's Papa for the wine we drank on Easter day) and 'au secours' when I nearly fell into the Rhone, mucking about by the river. Words I've never forgotten since!
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Loving hearing about people's past. Adds a bit of depth to a name.
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Gus Morris
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Post by Gus Morris »

1962. Run down towns and villages in Northern France. Rats runnning around the streets in broad daylight. The scars of war everywhere. Crossed the Rhine to see what Germany loooked like. Cities such as Cologne reduced to rubble.

Lesson learned? Millions of Europeans, soldiers and civilians, died in the period 1914 to 1945. Wholesale suffering on an almost unimaginable scale. It must never happen again.

Result. Ultimately the EU. Now under attack from inside by those who never experienced the terrors of war or even remember the aftermath.

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Gus Morris wrote:1962. Run down towns and villages in Northern France. Rats runnning around the streets in broad daylight. The scars of war everywhere. Crossed the Rhine to see what Germany loooked like. Cities such as Cologne reduced to rubble.

Lesson learned? Millions of Europeans, soldiers and civilians, died in the period 1914 to 1945. Wholesale suffering on an almost unimaginable scale. It must never happen again.

Result. Ultimately the EU. Now under attack from inside by those who never experienced the terrors of war or even remember the aftermath.

Gus
The interesting thing in Northern France, or at least the part of Normandy that I know, is that most of the damage was done by the Allies in 1944. Even quite trivial-seeming road junctions (mostly, in the nature of things, in the middle of small towns) were bombed to rubble. Apart from the material damage, a lot of French people were killed. It is to their credit that they haven’t resented it more.
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Post by jethro »

As a prissy little ten-year-old altar-boy of the Catholic persuasion, I was invited to take part in a visit to Lourdes, where the organising teacher prayed, I suppose, for the miracle of becoming attractive. I remember crossing a bridge on an excursion into the Basque country and suddenly feeling the strongest déja-vu of my life up till now. It was only many years later that I discovered the DNA link between the Irish and Western Scots and the Basque fishermen who got lost in Ireland. I have always had this link to France ever since and married a Frenchwoman and settled in the Albères and love it viscerally. Those of you who have read "The Grapes of Wrath" know the great symbolic moment of union between the narrator and the earth. I haven't gone that far, but I sometimes walk the dog in the plain below the Albères and look up to the hills and tears prick my eyes at their great beauty and their enormous fragility, given the actions of Man. I now await the arrival of Martyn 94 with a sardonic take-down of my mushiness, which will be well-deserved, I agree.
an' the wun' cried Mary.
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jethro wrote: I haven't gone that far, but I sometimes walk the dog in the plain below the Albères and look up to the hills and tears prick my eyes at their great beauty and their enormous fragility, given the actions of Man. I now await the arrival of Martyn 94 with a sardonic take-down of my mushiness, which will be well-deserved, I agree.
I let this go by for a few days because I couldn’t work out what I had ever done to deserve it.

In the event, I still can’t work it out. If you scroll right up to the top of the thread, you will find that I started it with a post which is mawkish by my standards, though certainly less florid than yours. But at bottom written in a quite similar spirit.

We both of us seem to have found a nice place to live, and to enjoy (I guess) a sufficient income to profit by it. Which makes us inordinately fortunate. Next time you have one of these transcendescant moments when the tears prick your eyes, go and update your standing order to Oxfam.
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Post by Gus Morris »

[quote="martyn94"][quote="jethro"] I

I let this go by for a few days because I couldn’t work out what I had ever done to deserve it.

If you don't know now you never will.

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