The Lost Journals of the Original Surf Explorer
By Peter Troy OAM, Edited by Brendan McAloon
Peter Troy’s travels are the stuff of surf legend. An original and influential figure in the early days at Bells Beach, Troy left Australia in 1963 and traveled through 140 counties. He roamed the planet with surfboard under arm, from Europe to Hawaii, South America to Africa, introducing surfing to Brazil and discovering untold perfect waves, like Nias off the coast of Sumatra. He was a pioneer, comparing lugging his balsa longboard around the globe to travelling with a grand piano. But his surfboard was his letter of introduction and his trail-blazing adventures etched his name into surfing folklore, inspiring a generation to look beyond their local beach. He documented every step of his remarkable journey in letters home, which were rediscovered after his untimely death in 2008. This is his story.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I decided to leave Jersey on 24th August for Biarritz and I thought hiring a little fishing boat and shouting the boys to a trip to a little place called Carteret near Cherbourg would be a novel idea. There were approx 20 of us going and the group included John Bennett and his jazz band. Could you imagine a drinking party leaving the small fishing harbour in Jersey to the tune of ‘When the Saints Go Marching in’? Well, this trip didn’t eventuate because on the Thursday prior to leaving I had notice from Michel Barland (French boat builder) that the European Surfing Championships were to be held on Sunday 25th August.
Great commotion – the fishing trip did not take place and I really said goodbye to nobody; just packed and left. To relate details; 4.30pm heard the above news and went to the airport terminal to see whether they would take a surfboard on a passenger flight, packed everything and then realised I was still in jeans and T shirt so, rather than unpack everything, one of the boys gave me his socks (these socks have since been washed in 1 foot of rain water in a gravel pit near the beach at La Bane, Biarritz, and are at present still in use – much appreciated as only a true friend would give up his socks). This was exactly the confusion that took place because, due to all the holiday makers on the island, there were no available seats on any of the three flights to the French mainland that evening, so one merely had to wait there at the terminal and hope for a cancellation. Well, eventually I boarded a flight at 7.35pm (the trip takes 20 minutes and the price £2.50) and ended up back in Jersey at 8.55pm – the weather was too bad to land at Dinard so after circling the airport waiting for a break in the weather for almost an hour, we returned. I managed a safe exit next morning at 8am and these flights were quite an experience, because from what I can remember, the only other air voyages I have had have been from Hamilton to Melbourne, which I can’t remember.
Now in France where many people do not speak English and one small traveller who does not speak French (that’s for sure). I had to wait several hours in Dinard as the train left at 4pm and decided this was the best way as the fare was 81F and my board freight for 4.80F, to arrive at Biarritz at approx 10.30am on the Saturday. This was just as well because immediately after I arrived in the town (after virtually 40 hours travelling) I made my way to the Grand Plage beach and asked for Joel de Rosnay, the top person here. He wasn’t at the beach but some others were, so I introduced myself and we subsequently made our way to their clubhouse at the Côte des Basques. Here we met others and we went to La Barre to surf (near Bayonne).
To put the record straight my first surf in France was 6 foot peak surf, offshore wind, with a continuous left slide towards a breakwater, where within 15 yards the wave completely dies out due to the very strong run out. Boy, this was great surf (for the information of the surf boys the place strongly resembles Southside at Bells with the rock reef being the stone pier and the lefts being comparable but the ride three times the length at La Barre). It then happened that the organisers of the contest decided to hold the surfing championships on the same afternoon instead of Sunday (only 5 hours after I had arrived on the scene and after one surf of the area – also no sleep from Wednesday). There were some very good surfers here and I didn’t fancy my chances very much, but I seemed to have gained a reputation from my morning surfing (also the name TROY – Captain Troy on TV is a favourite in France with the children and naturally the gremmies also). The stage was set – Fox Movietone cameras in attendance, people, spectators, fishermen etc. crowded on the pier and families, girls, and others on the beach. Bill Davis did not get back here and at present have lost him, but Gaylord Wilcox was here after having been via Singapore, South Africa, Italy and Spain. The surf was 8 foot for the contest and great conditions. European Surfing Champion – P. Troy.
Per the cuttings and the position of last year’s winner, Mike Hickey (he went to Hawaii and was the fellow who, with John Severson, George Downing and Bob Pike, visited Peru), and the position of Gaylord Wilcox (he made the final 10 in our contest at Bells Beach). The competition was hot and I personally felt I rode well as all the waves I rode were lefts and therefore “goofy”. The whole contest was recorded by Fox Movietone and this evening we are all going to the cinema to see the contest on the newsreel. Also film taken on the beach with close-ups, etc. – a little embarrassing, but I like it.
I am writing a few letters, with the help of Mick Hickey, to see if I can make Peru next Feb/March for their Championships. He thinks there may be a chance of me going down with Severson again and if not at least Severson would know of those who were intending to make the trip, and he was lucky enough to have a passage back from Peru to Europe for £20 and is confident that a similar arrangement may be made if I can get to Lima, Peru. Would be great to see some of South America as well, I think, so have my fingers crossed.
I am reading ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding. The first couple of chapters were rather hard to understand but as the price on the book showed $1.25 I kept on reading as I reasoned a book this expensive must be good. It is, but a little too intellectual as the author uses a story about children isolated on a desert island to bring out his theme and conclusions concerning human frailty and the force of sin in society in the form of a harrowing allegory.
Brian Cole (W.Aust) and myself were invited to dine with Joel de Rosnay and his wife (the family has sugar plantations on Mauritius). They are Parisians and take this home in the country for the summer months – an extremely comfortable home where we took over 3 hours eating dinner, which incidentally was brought by a maid. Joel is 26 with one child and whilst we casually ate we looked out over the surrounding countryside and up to the Pyrenees and the Spanish border. The whole setting was terrific and backed by a fantastic meal, like I haven’t eaten in France, when we left to return to our little room in the hotel I could barely make the distance to the car (full stomach). Firstly, wine or Scotch etc. nuts, appetisers and then fish soup followed by rice, chicken and ever so many extras which I have never seen, eaten or heard of before, but ate all the same and asked no questions. The main course was followed by Cantaloupe (melon in France) and fruit. Bread and wine was eaten all the time throughout – afterward black coffee, chocolates, cake, etc. But no liquors!
We followed this night up with luncheon in a restaurant at the next seaside town towards the border called St Jean de Luz the next day. We go to this place because when the seas are too big around the open beaches at Biarritz, in the sheltered harbour in this place the rides can be up to ½ mile inside the harbour, but only sections are of good shape. Other surfing places to note here are Guethary (which the French surfers say will be the next surfing area) and on the French-Spanish border, near Hendaye. I am told this is quite dangerous for surfing as a small river is the border between the two countries and the surfing areas are in the river at the immediate mouth and down the side of the stone pier on the French side; not dangerous because of the currents caused by the river, but because the Spanish border guards dislike illegal entry into Spain, and the surfer if on a wave on the Spanish half of the river finds it rather hard to carry his passport (seriously though, surfers have been fired on by the Spanish here, consequently, I didn’t enter the water – surf great too, not big but excellent shapes).
I will now mention the last things of interest concerning Biarritz – the day before I left, Sunday, was the presentation day and I received a new shiny cup from the mayor of Biarritz; there was wine and food and general festivity. And I’ve been offered a free haircut in the most exclusive “coiffure” in Biarritz (only because it is owned by one of the surfers, Plumcoq). Don’t think, at this stage, I can write another page so will say goodbye for now. Haven’t heard how Geelong is faring!
Lots of love,
Dear Mum and Dad,
With the initial sightseeing over and this next day a Sunday I thought a day lazing on the beach at Copacabana eyeing the local talent and taking a dip now and then between sunbaking would be a good way to spend the day. Until now, I did not realise that there was surf or that surfboard riding was known here, and as I sauntered across the road and to the beach, I was somewhat startled to see two young Brazilians there on the beach with surfboards. These boards were more or less an extended version of our “ironing boards” that the “peasants’ use with the turned up nose, except that they were 9ft and had a skeg and also some thickness and definition of shape. So, of course, I approached these guys with the idea of “conning” the use of one of these boards, and after a difficult conversation they managed to explain that here at this part of the beach, they could not surf – the waves were about 6ft but dumping badly and closing out in long sections. We then walked the length of this beach, down main streets, through a shopping centre and a military barracks (rather Manly, Sydney style – bare feet, shorts, no shirt, etc.) and then around a corner and behold, a rocky point nestled at a sheltered end of a long beach with great activity – cars, boys and girls, surfboards by the dozen, hot dog stands, fisherman on the rock headland, Coca-Cola stands, fairy floss, beach guards, ambulance, motor launch sea patrol, and surf. Discovery!
Within minutes I had changed, waxed up on one of these boards with a candle I had bought over the street, and after clambering over the rocks and past clusters of people lounging on the rocks, launched myself. Now came the problems. These boards didn’t float and sure behaved in a different manner and every one of these Brazilians was wearing large flippers whilst I wasn’t and the answer soon became evident. They caught the waves here as it exploded over a huge boulder at the end of the point by lying on the end of the boards and then propelling themselves kicking with these large fins onto the wave. Once having negotiated the difficult drop down the face of the wave, here greatly aided by the severe turn up in the nose of the surfboard, they clambered to their feet and now standing rode across the face of the wave in a corner until they were wiped-out in the shorebreak down the beach. Now back to myself – without fins I had little success, but managed to take-off on one wave and successfully rode this strange board to the beach, and so I came in due partly to failure at mastering this sport and due partly to extremely tired muscles and the cold.
Within minutes many of the local surfers had gathered around and had begun to ask questions about me, for I was the first stranger they had met who had ever surfed their style of board as successfully in a first attempt, and now this day, by chance, I had encountered a race of humans who thought, acted, lived and behaved as I have grown up with in my life, although these Brazilians had developed in an isolated area, and yet with completely similar characteristics.
At present these fellows here are in the process of discovering the Malibu board, with all the characteristics of what we went through in Australia around 1957-58 after being shown the possibilities of the board by the Hawaiians who came to the Quay in ‘56 for the Olympic Surf Carnival. So, after surfing, I was transported to one of the surfer’s houses to give my opinion on the surfboard he was presently constructing of foam with wood stringers and fibreglass, and so perhaps clear up a few of the many problems he was confronted with, especially as this was a new material, a new shape, a new concept of the art of surfing for the boys here. His name, was Iryencyr Belträo and whilst in his house this first day I had a hot shower (great), a home prepared meal (great), rested an hour on a soft spring mattress (great), and so also had free medical advice. Apparently, in the Rio San Francisco area I contracted the amoeba due to drinking unfiltered water, and since then, the results have been quite drastic. In the three weeks since, my weight has dropped from 12½ stone to under 10 stone, and with diarrhoea and visiting the toilet more or less six times a day, I have become very weak and emaciated. But luckily Iryencyr’s father happened to be a doctor. Until reaching Rio de Janeiro it was difficult to stay in the one place for sufficient time, find a doctor who spoke English so I could explain my troubles, and nurse myself back to health. But now I had an immediate examination, free medicine, vitamin tablets and was taken into their home with open arms and looked after (the surfing group said I should call her “Mae Brazil” – Mother Brazilian). Looked after is in this case a great understatement, with absolutely everything done for me and all food prepared to a special diet. In one week I have rid myself of the diarrhoea and my digestion problem, and gained over 26lbs in weight.
Thus, from the Monday morning when I came with my luggage, my life was moulded for the rest of my stay here in Rio, and to relate all my experiences here in this letter is nigh impossible.
The whole sporting fraternity of Rio de Janeiro have feted me with honours, invitations, hospitality, acceptance and sacrifice (probably a lot more meaning in this last word). I have been interviewed for magazines, newspapers, filmed for TV and film newsreels, asked for autographs, photos, etc., introduced to leading personalities and requested to table opinions on life saving techniques, drawn crowds of spectators to the beach, children, parents, grandparents, etc., implored to give an exhibition of surfing, and in general awarded the recognition one would expect of a Stirling Moss or a Roy Emerson. The newspapers credit me as “Campeäs Mundial” (world champion), give me front page coverage with Miss Brazil, President De Gaulle and football, and in general exaggerate to colour up my dull achievements. I experience little things like when a small child comes up to me and asks in faltering English “Is your name Peter Troy?” I say that it is and he then mentions that he saw my photo in the papers and that he has come with his parents to see me surf, then rather proudly steps forward and shakes my hand and runs off.
But here I am amongst champions of another sport – skin diving! One of the surfers, Bruno Hermanny, is current world champion (twice holding this title), Irencyr is 1963 champion of South America and a member of the Brazilian three man team, another Leopoldo Correia was emergency and Arduino Colassanti (of Italian origin) was a Brazil team member and went with Bruno Hermanny to France, Spain, Malta, etc. and has placed in a world competition on more than one occasion. At the house here I often run into photographs, mention of their names, etc. in magazines from France, England and Italy. These divers all placed ahead of our well-known spear fisherman, Ben Cropp, so must be “pretty good”.
I’ve also experienced the fascination of Rio “alive at night” – a most enjoyable evening in the panoramic club room of the Marimbäo Club (yachting, water-skiing and spear fishing club) with a small group, just sitting back relaxing, sipping Scotches and Tom Collins and taking in the magnificent breathtaking view of the 6kms long Copacabana beach, floodlit by the lights of nightclubs, expensive modern skyscraper hotels, luxurious apartment buildings and the ever-continuous stream of the night-time traffic crawling to and fro along this promenade flanking the most famous Latin American playground. The whole picture is then projected onto the mirror surface of the serene waters of the bay – extremely satisfying with an attractive Brazilian senorita at your side, a full stomach and no mental worries. I just wonder how long this kind of life can last? The answer is probably as long as my money does!
During the week that I’ve been at “little belly’s” house, I’ve slept, been to many parties, surfed, ate, been a tourist, etc. The home is just one big boarding house, for all day and night people drop in and stay a few hours chatting, browsing through magazines and discussing items of the day. Why, poor Mrs Belträo – housekeeping for her must be a problem.
Now for the second week in Rio – I was invited one day to be taken on a sightseeing tour of the places where I had not been and would like to see. My host was the first woman in the world to swim the butterfly stoke in competition and she won the 1932 and 1936 Olympics in that event. Another day was spent octopus fishing with Irencyr and Leopoldo in Leo’s boat at the nearby islands to Ipanema Beach. We caught 35lbs of octopus @ 400 Cruzeiros a lb (considered a small catch for 1½ hrs fishing). I must mention that I did not fish and merely went to sleep in the motor launch as I basked in the warm winter sunshine.
I was taken on a tour of the State of Guanabara’s rescue services at the invitation of its head, a Dr Durvell. Chauffeur driven in an official car and accompanied by the Life Guard Chief, Victor Wellish (who incidentally is Secretary of the Brazilian Underwater Spear Fishing Federation), I was taken to the downtown office for an appointment with the doctor to discuss life saving techniques currently employed in Australia. In return he gave me a brief run down on the services under his control – from the air water rescue squad, which is schooled to act in airplane sea crash landings and shipping emergencies, to the ambulance first aid service in cooperation with the life guard posts.
These events were broken by the design and partial manufacture of Irencyr’s foam board, and a surfing trip down the coast to a beach called Macumbá where the locals practice unusual pagan rites (I saw evidence of their religion on this safari – these people worship a Goddess of the Sea and to please her they hold night long ceremonies culminating in a sacrificial offering of food and wine garlanded in white flowers and laid out on the sand beside burning candles for the incoming tide to encroach upon and eventually wash out into the sea and so by accepting these sacrifices, these people believe the Goddess will so guide the fortunes of the fishermen and the sea life in a favourable manner). Then off to more parties and more meal invitations.
Up until now these Brazilian surfers had only my words about surfing, but when two locals returned from a trip to the States with several copies of the latest surfing magazines, and they saw my photos in them and my name in the results of the Peruvian International Surfing Contest along with names they already knew of, I was elevated by a new height among them. One of the magazines, Surf Guide (July edition) had a photo showing the damage to my face after the encounter with the coral on the bottom of Banzai Pipeline. Then, in Severson’s Surfer, the front to the magazine was devoted to each of the 20 surfers voted the best in the World in 1964 by readers of the magazine. Australia’s Midget Farrelly was voted 4th, and Phil Edwards took first place. The fellows here noticed that I had placed ahead of Phil Edwards in on event in Peru, so accepted my ability on this account.
My plans were to leave Rio on the Monday (3rd August), but I certainly didn’t want to leave, and apparently they didn’t want me to go so soon for they offered to pay my fare by plane to São Paulo if I’d stay a few days more (really not possible as my 90 day tourist visa is nearly expired). Anyway, as I drove away from the Beltrao home, I felt tears in my eyes and had difficulty in not crying – I think the others in the car noticed it, and then at the railway station I thought I saw the same situation in Irencyr’s eyes. Sadness! And as the train drew silently away from the platform, we were saying farewell, knowing full well that probably we would never see each other again, but also aware that here was a friendship that would long be remembered by us all.
So goodbye Rio; a city which is a haunting blend of mosaic sidewalks, dark narrow shopping streets, modern functional architecture, and broad park-like avenues in one of the most magnificent harbour settings on the face of the earth, and also a city which opened its heart to a lonely traveller... me!
Dear Mum and Dad,
Boy, have I been moving these last couple of weeks – so fast I’ve had little time to do anything. I don’t recall up to where I’ve got to, so will go back to Paris. I left the same day as I spoke with you all on the telephone. With Joel’s younger brother Arnaud we made Biarritz in around 9½ hrs through Chartres, Tours, Poitiers and Bordeaux and stayed in his grandparents’ home. We did little but surf and at the weekend met many old faces and Joel also came down to be with me, and to my surprise there was just for the coming week a big gathering of internationals, amongst whom some surfing names from ‘down under’ in ‘Wheels’ Williams, Ron Parrott and Rodney Sumpter. We were a big clan of English speaking surfies; South Africans, New Zealanders, Canadian, English, Americans, Channel Islands and Australians (18 surfers and trying to ride one beak at a rather pleasant surfing spot called Guetheray). Towards the end of the following week everyone was preparing to ‘up-tracks’.
Easiest way to explain this is that I hitched form Biarritz to San Sebastian (Spain) and then headed inland through grape groves in full season, so there were my meals for the taking, to Pamplona. From Pamplona went on to Tudela and here was taken up into the family of an Englishman. He was touring in a large factory built camp tourer with his wife and seven children, and was out to show the family some of the continent before leaving as an immigrant to Adelaide, Australia in February. I in a way, paid for my travel, by acting as interpreter and by being Australian, so I made a three-day journey with them through Zaragoza, Tereue, Utiel to Valencia. Unknowingly, between Tereue and Utiel we took roads (because we were lost) that not even the locals travelled often, and found some stupendous scenery which was by far the most interesting I’ve seen in Spain.
In Valencia, I hung around the port and docks for two days waiting for the once a week sailing between Valencia and Ibiza. (Valencia > Ibiza, 124.30 Pesos, 3rd class, sailed at 2200 and arrived at 0730 the following morning).
The Balearic Islands: These islands in their lovely Mediterranean setting are justly famous. Majorca is known for its serenity, Ibiza its personality, and Formentera for solitude. I arrived in the island of Ibiza and within hours was camped down in a rock cave overlooking the sea with two German beatniks. We lived two days here fishing for our meals and living a completely idle life under the protective walls of the ancient city itself. Then, fortunately for me, I stumbled onto Formentera – whilst sitting at a footpath cafe table and whilst drinking coffee and making idle chatter saw a rather striking girl saunter past. When I enquired who she was, everybody said that’s Ronnie from Greenwich Village, New York, so I introduced myself. After a while she said that both her girlfriend and herself were going over to Formentera for the day, and that made up my mind to go too! So at 3pm the next afternoon we were all on the quay – the three of us, an English boy I came to know, and about 80 locals from the island returning with groceries and other miscellaneous items of purchase? The English boy and I came to talking tales as we were both involved in the same endeavour – evading the ticket collector and this proved to be good fortune for me.
After the 1½ hr journey we all climbed aboard the local bus, Ronnie and her girlfriend, the English boy, myself and most of the 80 locals and away we ‘sauntered’. I describe it thus, not because the bus was bad, but because the driver just stopped when he felt like it to chat to Tom, Dick and Joe for as long as they had something to talk about. It was whilst we took a coffee in the bar at Los Rocas that we unknowingly made a free bus trip as well, for he came out a side door and took off without us. Anyway, we only had two kms to walk to the English boy’s house. Here it all came out in the wash – I had a mattress and food at their place free and the girls were staying there as well and of course you’ve guessed it, Ronnie and I became friendly. I stayed two days and in this short time got right into the unknown life of this island, saw it tourist wise and had an insight into people I’ve never before encountered – for unknowingly I had found ‘something’ in Formentera. These two girls were part of this known secret too, for Formentera was to the foreigners a rather special little island. Here was home to people who wanted freedom, people who read, wrote, painted, sculptured; and primarily the haven of a world of drug addicts where drugs from Morocco, Turkey, Africa and the Far East could be used without fear of police detection and without disgrace to the users. As in all my life this is now the first time I’ve really been on the ‘in’ with such things I should like to write now word for word two passages of notes that I scribbled whilst living out on Formentera.
The inhabitants are farmers toiling in the best climate and clear air available to all of Europe. They work in stony fields with stone walls dividing all the little farmlets: the women are eternally dressed in black with straw hats held down by cloth bands tied under the chin, floral edged shawls and the customary plump stature of the middle-aged Spanish woman – there is simply no hustle and bustle and remarkably completely oblivious to outside environs except for summer day tourists who come over to see the quaintness for themselves, yet don’t become an integral part of the island as day and night here are as surely different as Nature intended them to be.
Maybe unfortunately, yet I should not judge, on this island there is a small group of people endeavouring to understand their mind and their inner self through ‘hash’, ‘weed’, heroin, marijuana, and lysergic acid amongst others. Here were odd fragments of humanity – Danes, Swedes, English, Australians, Americans and others not to my way of thinking, knowing what they seek, what their makeup is or how to handle their emotions, their faults or how to live to the rules of modern society. Maybe it’s interesting and enlightening to be thrown against this environment, for then if personal willpower of the emotions is sufficiently strong, one can stand back and learn! The appearance is tragic, the actions frightening, the inner body of the addict such an unknown quantity – a shrieking madness – this paragraph was written under candle lights whilst watching the two girls and an English boy under the effect of LSD.
The second notation was made when I was invited to a party and surely the strangest I’ve ever been to yet.
Tom toms! Clippity, clip, bong clap – it’s Trinidad, Dadeo!! No man, play slow for that there white man, he no understand; for we’re here, and here is a small plastered room in white staccato with natural wood beams, Spanish shutters, wooden pegs protruding from the walls, axe edged doors, plain wooden forms, hand constructed chairs of local materials with hemp bound seats and a table with a pressure lamp, candles, tea strainer, ‘vins tinto’, unsalted Spanish bread, chocolate, earthenware pots, cigarettes, matches, knife, orange peel and honey and a jagged torn condensed milk can; but oh yes, people. That’s what makes this gathering – our leading drummer is a dark skinned American clad in gold-rimmed dark glasses with a black straw hat completely warped into a character of its own; beneath this is sincere, deep penetrating eyes which from deep down inside, projected rhythm; an unkempt beard and improbably to say the least, yet clasped between his front teeth, a fragile pink flower! His vestments are an Afghanistan sheepskin jacket, t-shirt and crumpled jeans with yesteryear’s tennis shoes cast off onto feet that could only belong to one such as he (Roger). But now to others; there is no smoke, no haze, the air is clear but the atmosphere is intense; rhythm vibrating from the walls and off the people’s faces yet still no sound emitted from those silent players, also chess men formed into life’s stale mate; these were our German host, a serene French ‘quaqan type’ girl, five bearded and long haired boys of unknown nationality, an outwardly normal girl, and a white faced blonde out of New York clad discretely in a Tahitian necklace and other clothing.
Yet outwardly Formentera is an island where windmills can easily keep pace in this peaceful atmosphere with the local inhabitants for I visited a graveyard on my bicycling tourist jaunt from tip to tip and of the 50 odd graves only three headstones remarked ‘murio’ with an age of less than 50 years old with most around the 80 to 85 years mark – maybe because the locals do little that they live long – yet that has not necessarily proved true over the ages! Thus in two days I knew two American girls, then after four days on Ibiza took the boat on to Mallorca and Palma (Ibiza > Palma, 108 Pesatos, midnight to 8.10am, 3rd class). After Ibiza and Formentera I was rudely shocked back into reality on my arrival in this now sleeping tourist city of tranquility so close to this tourist playground (maybe Breamlea to Torquay in summer time would be a good comparison). So after little more than the time it took me to walk out of the city, was gone. Palma > Soller > Puerto Soller >Monastery of Lluc > Cap S Vincente > Puerto Pollensa > Alcudia (Port).
I hitched over to Mahon and with my final ride ended up with the brother of a commercial artist and slept the night in his studio. Here in a rather great tavern which these two brothers invited me to, I was interviewed by the editor of the local newspaper and everything was accomplished in Spanish believe it or not.
We saw the harbour at night, drank wine from glass funnelled flasks at arm’s length skillfully guiding a fine stream of wine into the gaping captive cavity of the mouth, met a yacht captain who invited me to sail with him on a most fantastic voyage for two years (nearly accepted same). Used Vespa scooter to tour around the town and just had it, great.
So the next evening at 7pm I was again on my way (Mahon > Barcelona, ship 3rd class ,with bed, $2.30, 7pm to 8.15am).
Well my letter writing is still well behind, and alas I fear to not improve, for now that time is short I want to cram as much as possible into the time available. Still, although this letter is to Barcelona I have to the writing of this travelled thus: Barcelona > Solsona > Seo de Urgel > Andorra > Perpignan > Beziers > Montpellier > Nimes > Marseilles > the Cote d’Águl through Toulon, St Raphael, Antibes, Cannes, Nice, Monaco to Italy > San Remo > Genoa > L Spezia > Pisa > Livorno > Cirtovecchia > Rome > Vatican City > Tivoli > Aveyano > Pescara > Ancona >San Mariuo, Cesena > Forli > Bologha > Florence > Pisa > Piombino > Isla d’Élba > Livorno > Bastia (Corsica).
So you see I’m well behind, but I’ve achieved all since leaving London on the 27th July (fares only) for $45.90 or £20 Aust to 22nd Nov, rather a fantastic achievement I feel.
Well that’s it, sorry again about this small writing but postage you know.
All my very best, love and look after yourselves over this season especially,
Your loving son,