Europe 1979 – 5 – Dover to Denmark

White Cliffs of Dover

We left London and headed to Dover. There we boarded a ferry to cross the English Channel. The farther out in the English Channel the ferry got, the whiter the cliffs of Dover looked. It was beautiful.

I don’t remember how long it took us to cross the English Channel, but I do remember the ferry arriving on the other side. We seemed to wait a really long time in the harbor. The ferry needed permission to dock.

White cliffs of Dover with Townsend Thorseen ship in harbor.
Friends in front of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Me with my new friends, Jerry and Diane

Eventually our ferry was given the go ahead, we docked and disembarked. Our tour bus was waiting. We all climbed on board and headed out to see Europe.

After we had going along for awhile, our bus broke down. Whatever was wrong couldn’t be fixed, and we found ourselves waiting again. This time we were waiting for a new bus. Fortunately, it was a pretty day, and we got to be outside.

Tour group with broken down bus.
Somewhere in Europe

After a couple of hours, our new bus came. Back in business, we all got on board and started on our journey again. Then we drove. And drove. And drove. Eventually, it got dark. I remember our German tour guide, Christian, approaching our bus driver several times. There was only one problem.

They didn’t speak the same language, and we were lost.

That might be hard for the younger ones to fully appreciate, but these were the days before car phones, cell phones, electronic navigation devices and GPS. All we had were two Europeans who didn’t speak the same language. One was driving, and one was looking at a map. Ideally, those two functions do not operate independently.

Finally, we arrived at our hotel in Belgium. We marched inside without any idea of what the outside of the place looked like. It was midnight. Maybe even later. We were tired and hungry.

The wonderful staff at whatever hotel we stayed at had saved our dinner for us, waited for us and even served our dinner to us upon our very late arrival. We sat at a long table in an elaborate dining room.

First, we had soup. It was tomato soup, and believe it or not, I had never eaten tomato soup. I was a picky eater. However, with limited discretionary spending money and the deep pit in my stomach, I tried it. Nothing ever tasted so good, and tomato soup is still a favorite of mine.

Next, we had salad. Believe it or not, I had never eaten salad before. Like I said, I was a picky eater. Though I had soup, I was still famished, so I tried the salad. Nothing ever tasted so good, and salad is still a favorite of mine.

I don’t remember the rest of the meal, but soon it was off to bed. I do remember in this hotel, the bathrooms were down the hall. Hotels at home were not like that, but hey, if I can eat tomato soup and salad, I can go down the hall to use the bathroom.

The next morning, we were able to spend a few moments outside before boarding the bus again.

Whereever we were in Belgium was absolutely beautiful. The hotel was like an estate, a large beautiful building set in the countryside. The new day was bright and sunny with a touch of coolness which helped to wake us up. Even though we went to bed so late, we still had to get up early, so we could stay on schedule.

Me sitting on a fence in front of a field with an animal grazing in the background.
Our Hotel in Belgium
Anybody know this place?

Much sooner than I wanted, we were back on the bus. Christian announced that because of our troubles, we’d have to miss most of yesterday’s agenda.

So, we moved on to our next stop: Copenhagen, Denmark.

There, we saw the Legislative Building in Copenhagen. We were told Denmark had one of the highest tax rates – 30% as I recall. The human sculptures on the building were said to be writhing from the tax burden. We also saw a place I noted as “Christiania – Hippie Land.” I don’t remember much about “Hippie Land”, so if you know anything about it, please feel free to comment.

Legislative Building in Copenhagen
Hippie Land in Copenhagen

We saw The Little Mermaid statue in the harbor at Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid

Our next stop was Tivoli Gardens. We arrived in the afternoon and stayed long enough to see it all lit up.

Friends at Tivoli Gardens
Betty, Jerry, Diane and not sure, maybe Mark?
Tivoli Gardens at night
Tivoli Gardens

Next up – A new bus driver, and several short stops before heading to Berlin.


  1. Jam packed adventures to be sure. Sounds like a modern day RV trip. Breakdowns? Yup! Getting lost? For sure! Trying new food? Absolutely! But so much fun. I bet you didn’t know you were preparing yourself back then for your wandering lifestyle today. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha. Now, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you are absolutely right! I remember I just loved being outside in the country that morning at our hotel in Belgium. It was so open, so fresh. That’s what I love about traveling in our travel trailer, too. Being out in nature and enjoying the beauty of a new day and a new adventure. Thanks for your comment, and enjoy this day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tour and photos! The first major trip I took was in the mid 70’s with a friend. It was a 1900 mile trip in her car. No gps, no internet, no cell phones … just armed with paper maps, off we went. I loved the angle on your photo of the Danish legislative building.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, those were the days of relying on maps! Better for our brain, I think, but there was always a risk of getting lost. The picture of the Danish legislative building was taken from the bus – I believe. I decided not to edit my photos (except for lighting) because I think the characteristics – even the features which I would consider subpar – add to the story. For example, in this case, I believe we only saw this building from the bus. Also, at that crazy angle, there wouldn’t be much left if I corrected it. I bet you had fun on your 1900 mile trip! Have a great day!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I kept smiling throughout this post–what a lovely way to start the week this morning! I just love the beautiful smile and the expectant look on your face, clearly enjoying this experience. When I saw the mermaid photo, I was expecting to see Betty, with her back to the camera, looking pensively out to sea. I am already on the bus waiting for it to leave for Berlin!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Suz. I appreciate you telling me you were smiling throughout this post and that is was a lovely way to start the week. I treasure a comment like that! I am glad you are already on the bus. The good thing is we’ll have a driver who speaks the same language as our guide, so we won’t get lost any more! Hope you have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny, such and experience helps us change and try new things. It is a huge learnign experience. You do it beause you need and have others do the same, you are part of it. Glad you tried the tomato soup and salad.♥

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful photo of the Dover Cliffs! I have always wanted to go to England but never have. But now your trip is taking you to some of the places I have been to, although it sounds like you are spending a lot of time on buses. I’m especially sorry you missed all of your Belgium activities. You might have gotten to Bruges, a wonderful old city I have been to once (and there is a movie of the same name which highlights the town). I have also been to Copenhagen and I loved the water lights they had at Tivoli. We were there in 1998 and still have a poster on our wall of Tivoli.
    Can’t wait to see the next stop on our tour. Thanks for sharing your memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. I will have to look for the movie about Bruges; it sounds like a very quaint and charming city. We definitely were on the bus a long time that day. I think overall, since where we toured was fairly compact in region, we were not on the bus that much. But, you are right, it was not the same experience as traveling on your own. I was just so glad to be able to go, and it really was a fun time. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, this all sounds so familiar. Feeling lost, not understanding the language. I never had salad as a dish either, it was always served on the side -if you wanted one. Times surely haver changed. I enjoyed reading about your adventure and I am so glad you traveled. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Breaking down on the bus and then getting lost! Wow, losing valuable sightseeing time must have been a real bummer, but having the hotel staff serve after hour dinner must of felt special. I wonder if one could expect the same treatment today.

    I’m enjoying reading about you trip. Keep it coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! We were just so happy to eat and go to bed, the rest didn’t matter! Maslow’s hierarchy of needs I guess. 🙂 Hope you all are doing well, and I hope you have a great day!


  8. And the people on the bus had no way to inform the people at the hotel that you were delayed! Your trip sounds so wonderful. Different than mine in many ways, being my friend and I were on our own. But we would meet other young people at youth hostels. I can imagine doing an elder hostel trip now (or whatever the current name is) where someone else has made all the arrangements.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m not sure if a call was made to the hotel during a rest stop. If Dan and I were to go to Europe sometime, I would want it to be something like an elder hostel trip where everything is arranged, and someone else does all the driving. All we’d need is money! Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, yes. Young and carefree. Your bus breaks down. You lose a day of sightseeing. You still see many things and have many new experiences! How fun! Was crossing the Channel rough? I’ve read several biographies of Queen Victoria and they mention crossing the Channel and the water being very rough – of course, that was before modern ferries designed to glide on the water.

    Liked by 1 person

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