Analog Me

by wjw on March 10, 2015

DalmatiaI’m in search of lost time, as Proust might put it.  I’ve got a closet full of slide carousels documenting my various travels through the multiverse, and I’ve just bought a scanner/converter to bring them all into the digital age.  So for the last few days I have been soaking in nostalgia for the lost worlds of my youth.

Here I am, barely out of my teens, on the island of Hvar, trying to hitchhike down the Dalmatian coast, which is hard because there’s no road, and you have to flag down a boat.  (As I remember, I got picked up by a Yugoslavian LST.)  Those were the days! —when you could hitchhike, even behind the Iron Curtain, and not get murdered (mostly).

Good lord, that was a great trip.  Paris, Switzerland, Vienna, Dalmatia, Athens, Delphi, Crete, Epidavros, London, Oxford (where I went to college, briefly), Dublin, then home.   And I was so busy enjoying myself that it barely registered what an extraordinary time I was having.   I’ve never had a journey more diverse or more eye-opening.  I was quite a different person when I got back, or so I thought.

Note the original Perry Rodent tee, with the original artwork by Harry O Morris, Jr.  I was a fashion plate, even then.

John Appel March 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

Had Fermor’s “A Time of Gifts” come out by then and inspired you, or was this a more natural 1970s walkabout?

Anonymous March 10, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I never did a fraction of the traveling you’ve done, but I had that t-shirt too. (Wore it out, darn it.)

By the way, a book of Harry O. Morris’ art is out from Centipede Press:

Bruce Arthurs March 11, 2015 at 2:51 am

That last comment was from me. Not sure why my name. etc., wasn’t automatically entered in the comment form like usual.

wjw March 11, 2015 at 6:02 am

I hadn’t read “Time of Gifts,” otherwise I probably would have gone all the way through Bulgaria, and never been heard from again.

No, I was just aiming in the general direction of Greece, and was taking advantage of everything along the way.

Dave Bishop March 11, 2015 at 8:26 am

Did you ever get to go to Bulgaria, Walter? Highly recommended! I’ve been about five times. I usually get a cheap package holiday and then wander off into the landscape looking for plants (I’m an amateur botanist). I have, of course, been heard from again …

If you’ve never seen the Scarlet Paeony of Constantinople growing in a hornbeam thicket in the Strandzha Mountains, you’ve never lived!

wjw March 12, 2015 at 5:04 am

No, I never got to Bulgaria. My rail pass didn’t cover East Bloc countries, which is why I went by boat down the Adriatic coast instead of direct through the Balkans.

I’ll have to check the Scarlet Paeony some other time.

John Appel March 13, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Yes, Fermor is seductive in his writing. I know I was feeling the pull to chuck it all, hop a flight to Amsterdam and set off on his old route when I read “A Time of Gifts” a few years ago after you blogged about it.

The third book was recently published posthumously – it’s in the ever-growing “To be read” pile.

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