This passport was issued on August 7th, 1962 in London. At that time I was 17, about to enter my last year at school in Northampton.The passport's validity was extended August 9th, 1968 in Liverpool.
The stamps in it cover three trips abroad, all in school or college summer vacations:
- Austria: In the 1963 summer vacation, between leaving Northampton Boys' School and beginning at University College,
London, I joined a party of coevals organized by the Anglo-Austrian Society. We crossed
the Channel by ferry (there was no tunnel yet), then Europe by rail to Vienna. After a short spell in Vienna we went up to
Altaussee in the Austrian Alps.
- The Black Sea: The fashion for British college students in the mid-1960s was to hitch-hike across Europe, with
Spain, Italy, and Greece as destinations. Ever the contrarian, I decided to go east; so I hitch-hiked across Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and
Romania to the Black Sea, sleeping in a bivvy tent I carried with
me. Then I hitch-hiked back.
- Spain: In August-September 1965 I spent 24 days in Spain with a friend. We flew from London to Barcelona (the first time I ever flew anywhere), then took a train down the coast to Oropesa del Mar, where we lived in a tent at a campground near the beach.
The passport has some pages of front matter showing date of issue, my picture, and so on: here, here, and here. There is also a page at the back showing money taken out of the country, a thing British governments were fussy about at the time. The rest of the pages are stamps of visas and entry/exit permits.
I have listed these stamps below in chronological order. That's not necessarily the order they appear in if you just flip through the passport's pages. A later stamp may be on an earlier page. The location of a stamp is entirely at the whim of the stamping official. Clicking on the date at left will bring up the page with the stamp.
|8/8/1963||Entering Belgium. There are no other stamps in my passport for this trip. Because I was in an organized party, I assume our chaperons took care of all the paperwork on a group basis. But then, why do I have this one stamp for entering Belgium? I don't know.|
|The Black Sea|
|8/21/1964||Hungarian visas: one for entering from Austria, one for the return trip, entering from Romania.|
Crossing from Austria into Hungary was a real Cold War experience. All along the Hungarian side was a high border fence punctuated with watch-towers. In my recollection, fence and towers were all black … but that may be a false memory. If they weren't black, they should have been.
|9/11/1964||Entering Romania. This wasn't as dramatic as entering Hungary from Austria, but more tiring. My last ride in Hungary was in
the back of a truck full of workers heading for a collective farm near the Romanian border. They dropped me off at the farm, indicating the direction
I should head along the road to the border.
I set off. It was miles. There was no traffic; at any rate, none that wanted to give a ride to a scruffy young guy with a large backpack. As the border post came in sight, the personnel all came out to watch in amazement as I approached. They didn't get many pedestrians, I guess.