Old photos from Europe 20 years ago

Normally each month I post photos from ten years earlier.

I noticed that it’s twenty years since my 1998 trip to Europe. This was the first trip I blogged in excruciating unnecessary detail – and I’m glad I did, as I’ve been rereading the posts, reliving the trip.

I’ve taken the opportunity to re-scan some of the better photos and update the blog posts, and here they are in a post of their own.

2/9/1998: arriving in London for the first time, I suddenly felt like I was from some hick town. The place was just so busy. This is outside Victoria Station.
London Victoria, 2/9/1998

3/9/1998: Exploring Chichester near my grandparents’ place
Chichester, England, 3/9/1998

4/9/1998: Arundel Castle, which is probably not even in the top ten British castles… but frankly if you’ve never seen a castle before, is damn impressive.
Arundel Castle, England, 4/9/1998

6/9/1998: On a train from my grandparents’ place near Bognor Regis, heading towards London. The photo was taken using a timer and placing the camera on the window ledge opposite. Does that mean it was a selfie, before anybody called them selfies?
On a train from Bognor to London, 6/9/1998

Later the same day, in York.
Bootham Bar, York, 6/9/1998

York. Another selfie. Camera on a bollard.
Exploring York, 6/9/1998

7/9/1998: Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle, 7/9/1998

Edinburgh looking down at the railway station.
View from Edinburgh Castle, 8/9/1998

10/9/1998: Near Plockton, Scotland. Camera on a rock.
Plockton, Scotland, 10/9/1998

Plockton. It’s that kind of town.
Cow walking down the street in Plockton, Scotland, 10/9/1998

Near Plockton. Yes, there is a railway somewhere in there.
Near Plockton, Scotland, 10/9/1998

The view of Plockton from across the water. Pretty scenic!
Plockton, Scotland, 10/9/1998

11/9/1998: Doctor Who was on its long (1989 to 2005) hiatus back then, but so it was very nice to find this Police Box in Earls Court, London.
Police Box at Earls Court, London, 11/9/1998

12/9/1998: The most famous zebra crossing in the world at Abbey Road. Shame I glanced to my left just as my buddy Merlin took the photo… and wouldn’t know until weeks later thanks to it being a film camera.
Abbey Road, 12/9/1998

15/9/1998: We got to Bruges on our trip in 2017, but I’d also made it there with friends back in 1998. From what I saw, it hasn’t changed much!
Bruges, 15/9/1998

16/9/1998: Boarding a high speed train from Brussels to Amsterdam.
Boarding a Thalys train in Brussels, 16/9/1998

18/9/1998: Back in… where is this place again? Once again, the perils of film cameras meant that it would be weeks before noticing that a world famous landmark appeared to be coming out of the top of my head.
Tower Bridge, 18/9/1998

Finally, I’ve posted this before, but here are some video highlights from that trip.

Daniel’s 1998 Europe trip highlights from Daniel Bowen on Vimeo.

If you feel like wasting your time, you can read my twenty year old travel blog here.

Video from my trip to Europe in 1998

15 years ago I got back from my first trip to Europe. Here, finally, are the video highlights.

Daniel’s 1998 Europe trip highlights from Daniel Bowen on Vimeo.

Includes England (south-east, London, and York), Scotland (Edinburgh, Inverness, Plockton), Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam.

Worth noting…

  • The blog posts written at the time are available here: Europe 1998.
  • This was pre-Oyster. Most of the travel around London was old mag stripe travelcards.
  • I can’t help noticing how red my face got when walking in the wilderness of Scotland.
  • Sorry about the picture quality. This was filmed on Video 8, and has come via VHS. This edit excludes most of the footage from visiting my family in England.

I’m baaaaaack!

I’m baaaack! Actually I’m back a bit early. Just in time to put up with the dying gasps of the last few days of the election on Saturday (my local member really expects me to vote him back in with THAT beard and no moustache?!?), and no hot water or gas cooking because of a statewide gas shutdown. Okay Sydney, I’ll stop joking about your water now. No more jokes about Auckland’s electricity either.

As far as the election goes, I’ve heard so much for and against tax reform and the GST that I’m just about at the point where I don’t really care any more. But what I do remember which most people seem to have forgotten is the government’s position on greenhouse gases. Check out this diary entry if you need to refresh your mind.

And as for the gas, there’s a silver lining. Melbourne was subject to a minor (3.8) earthquake this morning. At least there was no possibility of fires due to ruptured gas pipes.

The fact that Australia absolutely blitzed the opposition in the Commonwealth Games makes up for the doom and gloom at home. This was something the British press managed to mostly gloss over while I was away. You could watch an hour of Games coverage on BBC1, and they’d manage to show every single Briton with even the remotest chance of winning bronze, but not once show you a medal count.

Home! Woo hoo!

From Singapore the plane continued south, symbolically inching its way across the map on the TV screens towards home, as well as actually inching its way across the planet towards home. When the map wasn’t on we got to see various movies and TV shows, but what caught my eye was news from home. I didn’t take much notice of what the news was, but it was nice to recognise a newsreader for the first time in weeks. (Cool, it’s Sharyn Ghidella!)

My long trek was coming to an end, but for the English blokes seated nearby, was just beginning. They’d fluked and would be landing in time for the biggest weekend in Australian football – both the AFL and ARL Grand Finals. I told them they’d have no chance in getting AFL Grand Final tickets, but they reckoned they’d try and scalp some, or if they had no luck, just head to a pub in St Kilda and watch the game there. I wished them good luck.

Mr Belt And Braces and his family appeared to be making a little bit of a nuisance of themselves to the thankfully unflappable cabin crew, but most of us, including the bloke sitting next to me, who was flying home from Portugal via London, were looking ever happier with every kilometre.

[It might have been horrendously early in the morning, but the family still gave me a warm welcome home.]I had a feeling of elation at getting home to my family when we finally touched down at Melbourne. I don’t know if I hopped and skipped through immigration and customs, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Not that I hadn’t enjoyed being away, you understand, but it was fantastic to be home.

I realised I’d forgotten one thing. When you come out of International Arrivals at Melbourne Airport, you can go left or right to get out. Either way you can be seen by everyone waiting behind the railings, but if they know which way you’re going to go, it’ll be easier for them to get to you. I had originally planned to let L and the kids know which way I would go, but I’d forgotten. I went left, and they found me anyway. To their credit, despite the early hour, they looked remarkably happy to be there to greet me. Jeremy seemed much bigger, and Isaac’s vocabulary had improved out of sight.

With my luggage perched on a baggage trolley, we walked back to the car, as the first rays of sunlight began to appear to slowly light up the glorious Australian sky.

That cool map thing

[Surely this alone makes it worth flying Qantas?]Finally flying home. The Qantas crew seemed just a bit more cheerful than any of the British Airways ones I’d had. Maybe it was just that kind of friendly barbecue atmosphere that can pop up anywhere when a bunch of Australians get together and there’s a good supply of alcohol.

After the late-night supper they offered some kids nearby a chance to see the cockpit, which left me wondering if I could successfully pretend to be 10 so I could tag along too.

The bloke in front of me kept fidgeting, trying to get to sleep, but he wasn’t as bad as the girl in front of a neighbour, who did that old trick of moving the seat back suddenly, causing a drink spillage. To the right of me was a bloke wearing a belt and braces, and behind him, some English blokes looking forward to their first Australian holiday.

We flew east, over Moscow, then south east over India and Malaysia towards Singapore. What I really liked was the position indicator. When there wasn’t a movie on, this would appear on the screen, showing where the plane was above the planet, the course it was following, and the vital statistics – speed, altitude, temperature outside, distance to landing, that sort of thing. No fancy 3D graphics, it looked more like a CGA display circa 1989, but it did the job.

At one stage to avoid turbulence we were at 11280 metres, doing a lazy 1000 kilometres per hour, and by golly, it was pretty cold outside at that height – about 48 degrees below zero. Seeing the map really made you think about all the places whizzing by underneath that you might never even visit. Well, okay, it made me think that – everyone else just seemed to be on the lookout for the steward with brunch.

Eventually we flew into Singapore, and everyone got out to stretch our legs, which after 12 hours in an aircraft seat, were in quite severe need of stretching.

[Hot and sticky in Singapore]Walking around the shiny new heavily air conditioned transit lounge, you couldn’t really tell what it was like outside, but watching the weather reports on TV it sounded pretty hot and sticky, which I’m told is pretty typical for Singapore. I picked up a free airport magazine (what an odd idea) and strolled around looking in the shops, seeing what various goodies the Singaporeans would use to try to convince me to part with what little cash I had left.

We flew out again at 8pm, and had another supper, having skipped lunch due to the time difference. As the plane sped on through the night, I tried to get some more sleep, wondering if home would be quite the same after three weeks away…