Europe 1963

In August 1963 a school party from Kynaston visited Switzerland & Italy in the summer holidays (August) - see recollections at the bottom.

Gersau Youth Hostel  Hotel Tigullio in Lavagna    Hardy & Jordan

The Kynaston 1963 Swiss/Italian summer school trip was the start of the end for me – I loved travel then and still do. Train travel through Europe to the Youth Hostel in Gersau, on Lake Lucerne, which was VERY basic - with 9 in a room and simple fare. In Altdorf (of Wilhelm Tell fame), at one end of the lake,  I bought a Cuckoo-clock for my Mother and an elk horn handled sheath-knife for myself – which I still have to this day. At the other end of the lake was Lucerne, which was a lovely city. From there we went up Mount Pilatus – cable car up and cog railway down – fascinating. On the other side of the lake, up to the top of the Bergenstock in the lift (with the last section in open air).

Then an amazing coach trip through the mountains to Lavagna in Italy - hair-pin bends taken at what seemed ludicrous speed with half the coach hanging over the edge of a precipice. 

With hindsight the Hotel Tigullio was probably also basic, but after a week in a Swiss Youth Hostel in was paradise. Memories of playing soccer against the local kids on a cleared building (or was it bomb?) site – sure was hard on the knees! Having to walk miles to get across the railway which lay between the hotel and it’s own stretch of beach exactly opposite.

Coach trip into Pisa with it's amazing tower, but much more importantly my first (I think) pizza! That was back in the days when one could climb the tower (and we all did), although I believe it's been recently reopened after some major stabilisation work.

At the end of our stay there followed the ordeal of the train trip back home – after derailment of another train we got shunted off the main line prior to Milan. We were booked into dinner in Milan station, but by the time our delayed train got there everything was shut. Teacher Len Clark went off to find nourishment for the young folk who (after about 8 hours on a packet of chips) were convinced they were starving. He managed to organise a packed lunch in a brown paper bag for everyone, just in time before the train departed. Some kids didn’t like the 1/3 pint of “Ribena” which came with the lunch, but it appealed to me and I had mine and one or two others as well – Chianti never tasted so good!

Then of course we were late for all our connections including the Channel ferry. Again Mr Clark to the fore, and organised a meal in the First Class restaurant for we starving hordes. I’ll never forget it was a rough’ish crossing and some were put off by the “waves” forming on their Brown Windsor Soup! I was not deterred, and I guess I’ve always liked my food, and a glass of red.

NB: Unfortunately, I wasn't into taking shots of people at that time of my life, and hence there are only heaps of uninteresting photos of views and buildings!

Official details of the trip:

List of people who took part: