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My father traveled

Following the passing of my grandmother this winter my aunts Elaine and Meg sent me a few boxes of my father’s possessions that my grandparents had kept in their care since his passing in 2004.

Going through all of this paperwork has been sad and I’ve learned more about my father than I knew growing up, but one thing I did know was that he traveled a lot in his youth. As a result, I’ve had the travel bug for as long as I can remember, but it’s only in the past few years that I’ve finally had the opportunity to do it. South America and Antarctica are the last two continents I have to cross off my list, plus various specific countries I want to visit.

A few boxes of slides that came along with the paperwork spoke to his travels, showing trips to Spain and a safari in Africa. I had 57 slides in total transferred into digital, which was an expensive endeavor at $2.25 each (need to look into their bulk deal next time!), but I’m really impressed with how clear they came out.

In the collection I found an article about a trip taken in what the photos indicate was 1967, making my father 15 or 16 at the time of the trip. The article describes that they did a touchdown in Lisbon and then spent a day in Madrid and Rome. From the slides from when he was in Spain, I learned that they go to see and go inside Las Ventas Bullring. From the article:

They also saw the bull ring (but no bull fight) and were interested in the fact that on fight days a complete hospital was set up right at the ring with surgeons, nurses, orderlies and everything else – a silent commentary on what a bull fight may be expected to produce.

My father and Uncle Paul outside Las Ventas (and inside too)

They also were able to visit the Royal Palace, where the article writes:

They went to the Royal Palace which they were told has somewhere around 2,800 rooms. “But we only saw about 50 of them” Carl says.

More photos from the trip here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157644678697471/

As a favorite of my father’s, Madrid is still in the top places I’d like to visit some time.

I also had a box of slides labeled “Extra Africa” which were dated 1973 and showed one of my father’s safari trips in Africa, including a rare photo of rhinos that I remember him being quite proud of:

And a hilarious photo of a large sleeping lion:

Now I’ve been to Africa, but never a safari (though feeding monkeys in Ghana was one of the best experiences of my life). Based on his passport stamps, I was able to determine that he went to Kenya and Tanzania during his travels. Doing a proper safari to see big wild animals in Africa is totally still on my list.

More photos from their time in Africa here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157644733378853/

Finally, there was also a post card from when my father visited Hong Kong – somewhere I actually have been!

On the back of the postcard my father writes that they visited Kowloon. Based on passport stamps it looks like he went to Hong Kong in 1973.

My father also had stories about traveling to Egypt that I remember slides from (Cairo is totally on my list once things settle down) and I know there are more Africa slides floating around. I’ll have to follow up with my relatives to see if I can borrow them to be processed to digital.


  • Don Crowder

    There’s a simple little gizmo which lets you convert slides to high quality digital images using a scanner. Of course you can make your own but I see them all the time in flea markets in my mostly rural corner of the planet. I expect they’d be virtually ubiquitous in your part of the world. I got a ton of hits on the search string…

    converting slides to digital DIY

    Of course you’re awfully busy but I bet you could ask around and find a nerdy friend who’d take on the project for a lot less than you paid for the first batch.

  • Audrey

    Thanks for sharing this family history! What a fascinating glimpse of details into their childhood. I too share the family wanderlust!


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