1965 Lloret De Mar, Spain

Lloret De Mar
Thanks to Roy for the photo

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.

google maps London to Lloret De Mar
London to Lloret De Mar

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.

Lloret De Mar beach
Lloret beach

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!

Thanks again to Roy


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.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. I have a different version of the ‘truth’ but it will take a few days get my thoughts in order! Bur loved the ‘intents’ comment!

  2. Roy is having problems so am giving comments a bit of a test. Roy try replying to this

    1. The issue is that the Captur code expires if you take too long to compose your comment and there doesn’t appear to be a way of resetting it

      Reply from Philip will investigate

  3. So I copied it and it’s pasted below

    OK – so sitting in an Airbnb in rainy Budapest it’s time to set the Loretta De Mar record straight and to add a little more ‘flesh’ to the story.
    The idea to do the trip came from Keith Taylor – I last heard of him some 20 years ago and he was working in a casino in the Bahamas – he had spent a holiday the previous year with his family in Canet Plage France and that was to be the destination (more later).
    Little Phil’s (that is you – not so little but some of us knew a big Phil so that was how you were called at the time) Dad was in the TA so he provided each of us a 24hr survival pack to start the great adventure. The provisions lasted at least 2 days and included magical items such as tins of drink/food that had an onboard heating design! Light the fuse and the contents came out hot!
    The route shown in the blog might have been your route home (I wasn’t with you on the return journey) but it was not the outward route. On this leg we crossed over to the east (Lyon etc.) as our longest lift was a guy who was driving to Nimes or Montpellier. I clearly remember him doing a detour to show us the magnificent Pont Du Gard.
    The journey west to wards Spain was also memorable ( i.e I can remember it) we were given a lift by a couple of French guys who stopped for lunch on a beach and shared their tin of tuna with us – this being my first taste of tuna….and not my last..yum yum.
    At some point on this day we were hitchhiking at the side of the road when an English car stopped and out popped Keith and Martin to tell us that the destination had changed and that now we should head to Loretta De Mar. To this day I wonder what the chances were of them spotting us etc!
    Now back to your story…..the guy who gave us a lift over the border into Spain was an eccentric Argentinian and he did drop us off in some out of the way spot. At some point the next day I think we decided to split up (amicably of course) as lifts were hard to find. You took the tent and I took the backpack. It’s a bit vague but I think at some point I took a train to the nearest railway station to Lloret – Tossa? – and I remember sleeping out in the open that night (you had the tent of course) in a vineyard.
    The next day I set off to walk to Lloret but did get the odd lift on a tractor!
    On arrival in Lloret I walked onto the beach and there you, Keith and Martin were – as you said the beach was not crowded in those days!
    End of episode 1 – let me know if you want the next one!

    1. Super Roy thanks for the update. Forgot all about the TA rations. I will bow to your better memory and will put it in the main body of the post ! More welcome anytime

  4. So it stopped raining in Budapest and after a long walk through Margaret Island it’s time for episode 2 – maybe the final episode!
    So we met up on the beach and then moved back to the campsite which was just above the beach towards the north of the town. It was a time for meeting lots of new and interesting people – Dutch, French, Germans and Brits of course. There was a small group of Dutch body builders in the campsite who put us all to shame – bodily – but clearly did not have our terrific personalities of course. These boys would come in handy later in our story!
    As Phil has said, even as 16 yr olds we had no problem being served alcohol in bars and I think we’d even tried that dreadful Spanish tradition of drinking red wine that waiters poured from large vessels with the long spout – a porron. So when we bumped into 2 other lads from our school ( Willesden County Grammar) we invited them to join us for a night on the town but it came to pass that we were a lot more acclimatised to heavy drinking (2 pints without falling over) than they were!
    Now that fateful evening the 6 of us hit the town.
    The 2 new boys in our gang – sorry lads I’ve forgotten your names – had arranged to stay with us in the campsite and had assured their parents that they were in good company. Off we went into town and ended up in a bodega (Spanish wine shop/bar). After somewhile and mucho vino we left the bar and went out into the barmy evening to find that both these lads suddenly were feeling pretty ill. So we had no choice but to take them back to the campsite, hoping they would sleep it off overnight. Although it was not far it was becoming increasing difficult for one of these lads to even walk and we were having to carry him. Here the Dutch weightlifter came to the rescue! As we were approaching a bit of a hill 3 or 4 of these boys turned up going in our direction and one them popped the lad over his shoulder and carried him back to our tents.
    Our 2 new boys did not get up until late afternoon the next day and left to return to their parents and we didn’t see them again until we went back to school in the September – as lower 6th boys of course!
    So look back at Phil’s blog and the picture of him with the pretty blond girl. It’s my sad duty to point out that this photo was taken 3 years later and on Great Yarmouth beach and although she was there with her boyfriend Phil it was not our Phil the creator of this blog site. Keep dreaming young man!
    As Phil says we changed hitchhike partners for the way home, I travelled with Martin and Phil with Keith. Yet again hitchhiking became difficult and Martin and I had to split up (it’s easy to get a lift solo), this time I got the tent and he got the backpack.
    Even then it was really difficult to get a lift and it took days to get anywhere – maybe the fact that I didn’t have a change of clothes for a week might have had something to do with it. I was living on 2 bananas and half a loaf of French bread a day at this time. Finally I got the big lift I was waiting for, straight to the Paris suburbs – practically home it felt! I got the metro to Porte St Cloud which seemed to me the way north to the coast but it was getting late and it was Saturday night – not the best time to hitchhike. Having no other option I climbed over (well just stepped over really) a fence bordering a small wood and crawled inside the unerected tent for the night. If you do this type of thing then you should expect some serious ant bites!
    Next day I was lucky to get a lift to Calais (or was it Boulogne) and then a ferry to Newhaven. Things were looking up. From Newhaven I caught a bus to Brighton then a lift to Orpington and then in short order another lift to Hanger Lane (this is where the A40 crosses the North Circular and just a couple of miles from home in Stonebridge Park Willesden.
    At last it really was possible to finish the journey on foot and since I had to pass the famous Ace Cafe (or was it infamous?) in I went and spent my last few shillings on a meal.
    I was the last of our famous 4 to arrive home – I should add that the other guys had it easy and had been home quite some time – wimps!
    I didn’t stray far from home over the next few days as I felt constantly hungry. But my O Level results had arrived and I was into the 6th form in a couple of weeks!

    1. Oh yes Great Yarmouth and the caravan when was that?

      1. 1968

    2. And I repeated the 5th year ( sigh) got “O” level in Geography the next year I got English Lit. 2 “O” levels to my name and look at me now! Thanks for that Roy it brought memories flashing back. An adventure to be proud of fer sure!! Well done us!!!

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