Wednesday, August 21, 2013

1971 European Odyssey - Overview of Adventures in the UK and Europe

The author of this blog, Tom Weaver, in 1971, Sombor, Serbia, Jugoslavia by John Kristoforovic. 
(see below - I drove to Sombor from the Adriatic Coast in a VW Bug to visit the family of Myra Kristoforovic who was a pen pal for me in the 1960's.  She was married in  to a Miroslav (no last name on her writing, and she gave birth to  a son named Peter on the 24th of June, 1974, the last time I heard from her.  Would be great if she searched for me on line and found me.  I have tried through  and they have no records. sign

Remembering 1971, Travels and Connections in Europe - By a first time European Traveler after my Spring trip to Spain and Morocco with Keith Kubasch, founder of the Anglo-American Society

Tony Hellenberg and Kevin Kubasch At the Desk, Times Square Motel Hotel June 1971
The "Trippers" as Keith Kubasch referred to those who signed up for the European Odyssey Experience found their own way to New York   So we met them face to face for the first time here at the Times Square Motor Hotel. Back in the day!!! 
 Setting up to greet the European Odyssey "trippers" as founder and visionary Keith M Kubasch called the participants.  I remember having to memorize the head shots of each person, so I would recognize them at the door, you are __________!  Here is Tony Hellenberg, Kevin Kubasch and Keith M Kubasch preparing for the entry, as we first meet face to face for our journey to the UK and Europe in 1971.  Keith had done is undergraduate work at St John's Collegeville and met Tony Hellenberg and Zach Williams there who I learned on the trip they were monks from St John's Abbey.  Always learning on my life's journey..

New Boeing 747 BOAC from New York to Heathrow London. 

 One of the iconic visits at the beginning of our UK is Windsor Castle. Here is Queen Elizabeth heading out for the Ascot in a big black limo.  
 Another iconic visit to Parliament in London,  in front in the coat and tie, is Kevin Kubasch with the Makedonskis, Jan Nelson, from Rochester MN and Linda Manilla according to my records.   Tony Hellenberg with the mustache is the tall fellow in the background.

Zachary Williams in the white hat with Maggie West Tearle, sunglasses at the Tower of London, home of the Crown Jewels as it were.

Here I am, Tom Weaver, the tall bearded tourist with a Tower of London Guard with the tall hat and a Beef eater as well. Pesky obnoxious American tourist!

A view of Wales and the mountains when our two coaches (buses) stopped on our way north to the Irish Sea. 

We stayed at a Holiday Village on the Irish Sea, in either Ryhl or Prestatyn Wales, and here are Jo Eisenhauer and Karen Halliday enjoying the low tide.

At the end of the UK Portion of the trip, which was about 10 days, all the trippers went their own way. Keith and Kevin picked up the VW Camper in Germany while I visited the Olssons in Sweden .
Here, at the end of the summer we visited with Rod and Maggie Tearle. 

After the 10 days or so in the UK, England and Wales with the EO, I flew to Sweden in 1971 to visit the family of Faribault High School Exchange Student Lars Olsson.  (More will be added)

The Olsson Family on Lungo Island on the Baltic. Mr O, daughter, Mrs O, Ole, Malin and Lars.

Ole with a kazoo I gifted as a world trade item.

Malin, Lars (with the Faribault High School Jacket - Green and White) with Ole..Lungo Island

Somewhere along the way, I picked up a Shell map.   I worked at a Shell Station in Faribault MN and have always loved maps and was somehow loyal then to the Yellow and Red colors of the brand. A real cartophile, lover of maps.  Here is the cover of the well used map where I filled in the lines where I traveled on my first five trips to Europe 1971, 1972, 1977,1980 and 1983.  The first two are with the Anglo-American Society and the last three with Sue Weaver, in 1983 with our 2 year old first son, Nathan.

In 1971, I flew to East Berlin from Stockholm.

On A Soviet Union Built, Bulgarian Airways plane into East Berlin.

I  met Keith and Kevin Kubasch from Winsted who had picked up a new VW Van Camper with pop top sleep in Wolfsburg Germany.

My photo of Check Point Charlie in June 1971

We arranged to meet up at Check Point Charlie, then a landmark between the two Berlins.
For an overview today visit

Here is the bridge over the Oder River, at Frankfurt am Oder with Poland on the other side.

From there we traveled East through the "Iron Curtain" countries of Poland and at that time the USSR including Belorus, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, then Romania, Hungary, and back into Austria.  

Not for into Poland we was a steam engine pulling a train.  No longer common in America and exciting to see in Eastern Europe on the other side of the cold war "Iron Curtain".

We were invited an apartment of a U professor we had met in Poznan. She was a tour guide and stayed at the same cheaper housing we found.  We had to have an Orbis travel agent as I recall the equal of Intourist in the Soviet Union. We have the tour guide a ride to Warsaw and then during our 3 day stay there we had mushrooms fresh picked as part of our meal.

This building was much disliked by the Polish people. It dominated the skyline and was build after WWII by the Russian occupation, called the Palace of Science and Technology.
For more info

I more friendly reminder was the Winnie the Pooh with Piglet sign, here I took with Keith and Kevin Kubasch, my traveling companions into the Soviet Union.
On the other side of Warsaw the cobble stone road was the main road to Smolensk in Belarus,White Russia, the first state of the Soviet Union we entered.

Keith Kubasch, a fellow U of MN medical student, from Winsted rural Minnesota modeling the VW pop up camper at a site in Belorus.

Kremlin Wall Moscow with line for Lenin's Tomb.

Red square in central Moscow with St Basils Cathedral, the one with the onion like towers.

  St Basils, Red Square summer 1971.

Kiev in the Ukraine with light rail mass transit.
Kiev mass transit in 1971.

Gate to our camping place in Kharkov .  We were given a travel plan by the state travel agency Intourist and had to carry papers from the Soviet Government who checked up at various points along the way.

 Turn around spot near Kharkov when the Kubasch brothers decided they did not want to drive all the way to Tbilisi on the Black Sea, and we made our way to Moldova and Romania. 

Here is a European map of the time with the blue line showing our basic route from Romania, where a truck crashed into our VW camper in Bacau...Driver asleep at the wheel and crashed into the van as I was driving..

The blue line goes west from Romania through Budapest Hungary to Vienna where we had the van repaired. We then took a rented VW Bug down into the provences of Jugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, and while Keith, Kevin, Tony and Zachary stayed on the coast, I drove up by Mostar, Sarajevo, up to Sombor (see the little loop) on the map


Pages from my passport with Visas of the time.

Downtown Bacau Romania, scene of the crash, where the truck drove into the side of our VW Camper Van  -----as the door was not functional for our planned trip to Istanbul, Turkey, we decided to head to Wien, Vienna Austria, where there was a VW Repair shop, so Keith Kubasch the owner could keep it on warranty back in the US  - Detour West through Transylvania and Hungary
Here a very helpful man, Robert Ciseovschi of Uniri 39 Bulevardy Bacau, Romania,  the man in dark blue, spoke with the authorities and mechanics, after I spoke in German with him.  Keith M Kubasch, the owner of the van, at left, has his arms a kimbo waiting for a resolution.  To keep the warranty, he decided that we drive over the Carpathian Alps through Hungary to have the Volkswagen people in Wein, Vienna fix his Van.  Thus our goal of Istanbul was exchanged for a trip to Greece via Jugoslavia.  Ah the flexibility learn through travel!   My stories and Rick Steve's stories are not so different! 

Down town Budapest in Hungary. 
Sunset in a rural Hungarian village.
Border at Austrian-Hungarian border. 
When we reached the Adriatic, Dalmatian Coast I was excited to see the cypress trees.  Being a botanist I often wee the world through the plants and trees.  They are very agreeable and don't argue like some of the 2 leggeds in my experience. 
Then real figs on real fig trees as seen on art from Europe and the Mediterranean. 

I decided to leave the other guys on the Adriatic and drive the VW bug we rented in Wein, to visit the home of my pen pal, Myra Kristoforovic in Sombor Serbia. Jugoslavia. Here is a train I saw head toward the Danube.   It went ahead of me on the bridge..
Danube Bridge Crossing.  Followed after the train!! 
VW Bug in Sombor with John Kristoforovic. 
John Kristoforovic, Myras father who mentioned he had been a journalist in Belgrade before the Communists and Tito took over.  Never met Myra as she like me was a medical student.  Perhaps someone on line in Serbia will find this photo and connect with Myra or her relative to contact me. would love to visit the new Serbia and other Balkan states if it works out in a year or two.
Photo John took of me in his Sombor garden. 
Sunflowers and Jugoslavian factory in the background.

I view from the Acropolis I think .
 We made a side trip to the Oracle at Delphi...amazing ruins and scenery.

On the main highway in Jugoslavia, ran out of gas.  Zachary Williams, Kevin Kubasch, Keith Kubasch and Tony Hellenberg pushing the VW Bug into a petrol station.

Visiting some of Father Tony and Zachary's priest friends in Oberems Switzerland, we toast everyones health.  Tony Hellenberg, Kevin Kubasch, Zachary Williams, Tom Weaver, Keith M Kubasch.
 The van being washed and ready to ship to America at the West home in, Kings Langsley, UK outside of London.  Uncle John Peel, Corrected by Margaret West Tearle now Cameron in Aug 2013 , Tom Weaver, Tony Hellenberg, Rod Tearle, Mrs West, Zachary Williams, Maggie West Tearle, Keith and Kevin Kubasch. Grateful for the reconnection with Margaret (Maggie) who could update me on specifics of this photo.. Like the recent little thing I got in an Asian restaurant ("fortune cookie" )  "You will reconnect with old friends", when I went to Pittsburgh this past week.  Thanks Margaret!! 

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