Ken & John do Europe

In Sept 1978 Ken was 24 yrs old and joined me on a trip to Europe, the first for both. I was relocating to Frankfurt for a job, bringing a car, '72 Volvo. He had spare time between photography freelancing. Ken was an easy-going traveler, sometimes complaining of my fast driving, but appreciating the sights.


We spent a few days in Earl's Court London, observing punk fashion and doing the museums, then drove to the Dover ferry, crossed to Calais and reached Amiens for 1 night before driving into Paris.Here we stayed a few days being tourists, plus he had an appointment to contribute some of his art to a photography museum.


We rarely paid for the privilege of restaurants, but snacked on bread and cheese, which did smell up the car until we gave up that habit. We visited Lyon, then crossed the mountains into Turin, Italy where we both wanted to see the famous Shroud of Turin. (but was it closed?)


Next was Milan, for Leonardo's Last Supper. I tried driving on the sidewalk, like the Italians, which Ken thought was significant, and liked to remind me of it. Also I had a fender bender, scraping past some delivery truck. The victim and I had no common language, so I paid him whatever lira was in my wallet, which didn't satisfy him, but we got away without a police complaint. Exciting!


We stopped in Genoa, talked jobs with a university professor, then drove to Fienza where we bought leather coats and a "Fienza" plate that Ken packed to bring home to Mom. Next was Venice. We parked outside and boated in. We talked with some Italian kids, and expected to meet them to see The Last Waltz, but didn't find them again. Leaving Venice, someone had stolen my Virginia license plate, presumably a valuable souvenir, so I filed a police report, but one license plate remained.


We drove back to Milan then north to Lake Garda, where Tennyson wrote "Row us out from Desenzano, to your Sirmione row!" whom I think we confused with Keats. After a night in Sirmione it was back to Milan where we split up, saying goodbye at the station where he took a train to Barcelona and enjoyed a more leisurely pace. I drove back up into the mountains and through Switzerland into my new job in Germany.


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