We were 16 and for all of us it was the first holiday on our own Me, Martin Jennings, Roy Clayton and Keith Taylor, all working class boys, well Keith was a bit middle class. (All grammar school boys so we were quite bright). We decided to go to Lloret De Mar just north of Barcelona. Can’t remember how we decided, one of us must have heard about it. Google maps just about shows our route.
Spain in August 1965, it was the year before it was discovered by tourists, virgin territory! We were all practically broke I had a few quid saved up so we thought we would hitchhike how difficult would it be? I had £30 I had saved from my job as a delivery boy and we planned to stay for a month. (School summer holidays were 6 weeks). We would camp. We had a couple of tents. So we all piled into my dads estate car and he drove us to Dover to get the ferry to Calais. I hate Calais 😆 . We decided to split up into twos as four hitchhiking would be daft. I went with Roy and Keith and Martin went separately. We planned our route avoiding Paris and took reasonably good A roads avoiding motorways (couldn’t hitch on them)
Getting out of Calais was a nightmare. We tried and tried and ended up walking out of town. We were off the main road. I remember it was a dark and stormy night and we hitched for nearly 8 hours without a lift. BUT we wouldn’t give up and return home, failures, we would bloody well walk there if we had to. Then we got a few lifts and made it to Rouen, not too far but it was a start….. We lived on bread and cheese from local patisseries
A few names linger in my memory Clement Ferrand, Limoges, Toulouse, Carcassonne the walled city, we glimpsed them but didn’t linger. Our school boy French worked surprisingly well. We made it to Perpignan and got a bit stuck but just outside we got a lift from a Spanish priest who was going to Portbou just across the border. He had an old 2CV van full of apples he was taking home. Portbou was on the coast and out of our way but ” Senors you must come it is fiesta” so we went for the night of partying and I had my first taste of paella. We slept for a bit and then someone gave us a lift to Gerona the following morning. OMG we were nearly there…But lifts were a bit hard to come by, dribs and drabs on side roads until we were a few miles from Lloret. F**k it we would walk, so we did. I can remember arriving at the campsite and there were Martin and Keith waiting for us, they had had a much easier time. It had taken Roy and me 3 days to travel over a thousand miles!
Lloret De Mar
This was the time before the tourist invasion and the beach was practically empty…..sometimes there were 10 people. No hotels had been built, it was unspoilt.
It was absolutely brilliant. The camp site , which was on the beach practically, the bar served us alcohol and we drank……a lot. A Coubralibre rum and coke cost a shilling, we were a bit drunk most of the time and whooped it up in the practically deserted camp site. We could afford to eat out, Spain in those days was dirt cheap, but we did a bit of cooking. Hot dogs and stuff. The Med was gorgeous. We stayed for three weeks. Aww but I fell in love three days before we were due to leave with Marcella De Geode a sixteen year old Dutch girl. Blonde blue eyed a drop dead gorgeous figure . *Sigh* . She was camping too and the excitement was intents!
I left in tears and Marcella waved us off. It was decided we would change partners I went home with Keith. I was totally broke. Keith still had some money. We did ok hitching but found ourselves stuck just out side Paris. We were pretty exhausted so Keith suggested we go into Paris and get a train to Calais ( we all had return tickets for the ferry) . Keith would pay and I would pay him back once I got home. One of the dads picked us up from Dover from what I remember. We had been gone a month.
What an adventure! We returned to school heroes!
The following year I went back to Lloret, Mum Dad and girlfriend. The beach was so packed you could barely move.
To come later: my tour of Italy when I was 11 and Malta when I was 12 but these involved the Rev Millins of Kensal Green who sexually abused me when I was 10. I’ll blog about that one day. It still hurts. But I’m a survivor!! I hitchhiked to Spain when I was 16!!!!
Here’s a hit from 1965. I can rememberr most of the top ten in 1965 when I looked them up. Here is a tune close to my heart,
Coming soon to a blog near you ” 1971 six months in Torremolinos coz I bought a land rover instead of a boat “
If you liked this or your name is Roy Clayton please leave a comment.