An Alphabet Of My Life: H

H=Holidays

Some of my earliest memories are of going on our annual summer holidays when I was a child. They were always in Britain, and usually by the coast, or an easy drive to the sea. I was constantly car sick as a child, and with no motoways then, the trips from London to Cornwall took so long, we stayed overnight on the way. Cornwall was favoured, as we could stay with one of my dad’s relatives in Penryn, a man I called ‘Uncle John’ who was in fact my dad’s oldest cousin.

It always seemed to be sunny and hot in those days, and our two week holiday consisted of sand castles, ice cream, and huge beaches like Praa Sands, and Newquay. Evening meals would often be fish and chips, or the famous Cornish Pasties.

Then when I was 11 years old, I went on a school trip to France. That gave me the bug for foreign travel, and I eagerly went back on more organised trips to places further south in France, like Biarritz and Royan. Those trips were always by sea ferry followed by train-travel, and I loved how everything seemed so different to England, and more exotic.

By the time I was 14, I considered myself far too old to go on holiday with my parents, and they travelled without me. But as my mum had no desire to leave the UK, they continued to holiday there. As a result, I spent a considerable time not going anywhere on holday, and just stayed at home.

When I met my first wife, she was incredibly well-travelled and had already been to every continent except Antarctica. She was eager to introduce me to places she knew, as well as those she had not yet visited. I went on an aeroplane for the first time at the age of 23, to travel to Tunisia. Once we were married two years later, we could afford to take two holidays every year, and my travels really began. We went to Greece, Crete, Turkey, the Soviet Union, (Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev) France, (three times) East Germany, West Germany, (Berlin) and Kenya.

After we split up, I lived with a much younger woman for a time. She was also interested in travel, and we took a long trip to Soviet Central Asia and a part of Mongolia, including Tashkent, Samarkand, Dushanbe, Ulan Bhator, and Alma-Ata. With the holiday starting and ending in Leningrad, I got to go back there too. We also visited the WW1 battlefields in Belgium and France, staying in Ypres and Arras.

Then I married again, and with my second wife I visited Egypt, taking a Nile cruise. We also had a long weekend in Amsterdam, and a week in Paris. Other holidays were closer, including the Cotswolds and Pembrokeshire. We also went back to Cornwall, but had a rain-soaked holiday in Looe. One highlight was a trip to Northumberland, taking in Seahouses, Alnwick, Holy Island, and Bamburgh. Whitby provided another holiday location, and we explored North Yorkshire from there.

Following a second break up, I travelled with a girlfriend to Bruges, Normandy, and Edinburgh. Then I went to China alone, to visit a friend who was living and working there. He lived in central Beijing, and that offered me a memorable stay in and around the capital of China, where I finally got to see The Great Wall.

Once I met Julie, we had to consider her children. We took two of them (the younger girls) on enjoyable holidays to Somerset, Bulgaria, and Turkey when they were still at school. But we were also able to get away alone later, going to France, (Carcassonne) Morrocco, Singapore, Malaysia, Barcelona, Ghent, Rome, and Prague.

That trip to Prague in 2011 was the last time I left England. I retired the following year, moved to Norfolk, and we got Ollie. Holidays were now something to also accommodate our beloved dog, and since then we have returned every year to the Lincolnshire coast, save for one year when we rented a cottage in Kent.

I had finally lost the urge to travel abroad, and allowed my passport to expire in 2016. We didn’t want the hassle of airports any longer, and the problems of car parking and dog-kennels. We had seen some great places, and were now content to stay in England.

My holidays had finally turned full circle.

49 thoughts on “An Alphabet Of My Life: H

  1. You’ve seen a lot of the world Pete. I’m just beginning to see some bits and pieces. I hope to travel to Sweden someday, I still have some distant relatives there. So much I still want to explore. I hope our health holds up and our economy stays strong. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t face the airports, to be honest. But I might consider flying from Norwich once they expand the destinations. That depends on how long we still have Ollie, and available finances too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s lovely to look back on your travels as you get older and so far I’m not ready to call it a day quite yet… our summer holidays were spent in Walton on the Naze or Yarmouth and then as we got a bit older(I)was the one who got travel sick and the Kwells it was Devon and Cornwell…my parents didn’t travel abroad until we were grown up and then started their travels abroad…whereas we started going abroad when our kids were fairly young…I must admit I am not airports now but see them as a necessity if I still wish to travel overseas x

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  3. World Traveler! Very cool. I read one of those lines as a rain soaked holiday in a loo and had to back up. The tricks your mind plays. It’s possible… I spent a year one week in a trailer outside Arkadelphia.

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  4. So much traveling! I’ve only been to a handful of places you mentioned: Greece (Athens), Berlin, Paris, Carcassonne, Rome, Barcelona. I’ve visited a few places you either haven’t or neglected to mention: Naples (also: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri), Lisbon (also Santarém, Fátima, Óbidos, Sintra), Geneva (also: Interlaken, Zermatt), Monaco, Nice (also: Toulon, Chartres, Amboise, Le Puy-en-Velay, Les Eyzies, etc.). I’ve never been to the British Isles. And I’ve never been to Africa or Asia or Australia or Antarctica or the Americas south of the border. (notably, all “A” places!). Of course, living in the U.S., I’ve done some traveling here. But not nearly as much as I’d like to…

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    1. I have been to Nice and Cannes, and various other French towns and cities, including Marseille, Toulon, Brest, Caen, Limoges, Amiens, Lyon, Bordeaux, and La Rochelle, among others. I have only ever been to Rome in Italy, and never visited Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Denmark, Portugal, or any Scandinavian countries.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. I remember one vacation (holiday) in particular when my parents and I went to Rehobeth Beach in Delaware (US) when I was a youngster. It was a week when the weather was perfect throughout, the water and air were both clean, and there was lots of mini-golf, shopping, eating, and sun-taning. All the holidays since have been great, but this one sticks with me even after all these years.

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  6. Holidays here are vacations. When I was a child, my mother used to complan that we never took vacations because we always had to visit relatives. As a child I enjoyed the visits to grandparents, uncles and aunts. Were they still alive, I would still enjoy visiting them. Warmest regards, Ed

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  7. I’ve never had the urge to travel. As a kid I also visited Praa sands for a holiday with my parents. I remember going to Switzerland with them when aged 11, where Dad drove through France. With Sam I’ve been to the Balearic Islands, Rio, the Caribbean and New Orleans, but I’ve always looked forward to going home again. I’m never happier than when I’m on the IOW at my caravan – don’t want to go abroad anymore.

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  8. Hello, I would love to know, if you had ever traveled to the US…where would be one or perhaps a few places that you would of liked to have visited? PS. I love your headliner photo, just beautiful..is that in England?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Chris. I have never been to either north or south America. I would have loved to have seen the US Civil War battlefields, and some natural wonders like the Grand Canyon. Other countries or places I would like to have seen include Japan, Brazil, Hawaii, and India.
      The header photo is in England, but I have no idea where it was taken. (It was a standard photo, an old HTC phone screensaver. ) It is not where I live, as we have no hills or mountains here in the east, so is likely to be in the north of this country. However, the view in the foreground is very similar to a place just across the road from my house, which is why I chose to use it in 2012.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Even though I am an American, I like the word holiday too instead of vacation. Vacation just sounds so..American! 🙂 And yes, the Grand Canyon is truly just that..Grand. All the National Parks here are spectacular sights of natural and wondrous beauty. Something the world has less and less of as time goes by.

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        1. I am something of a traditionalist when it comes to English, Christina. I often think that because there are so many different uses and spellings in America, it should be called ‘American’.
          That also applies to the use of the word ‘Movies’, which is now common in England. I refuse to say that, and insist on speaking or writing ‘Films’. 🙂
          Best wishes, Pete.

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  9. You went to so many places I never got to. One thinks working for an airline, you could cover the world, but travelling on standby makes it not that easy and you still need cash when you get there. I did manage to cover every continent including Antarctica which was one of the highlights. The other was Tibet. I always said if I managed to get there I would be happy to stop travelling, and that’s exactly what happened. Found love instead which changed everything. Then I got to see afew bits of Britain but not nearly enough. Like you, I won’t do airports anymore!

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  10. It’s possibly coincidental, but since the pandemic I am loath to travel abroad, unless it’s for a decent acting job: that’s the only reason I renewed my passport this year. The idea of airports fills me with dread, though. I might take the Eurostar next year, but I’m not in a panic…….. 😉 Cheers, Jon.

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