Overland 1972 - first day


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February 13th 1972
Published: February 14th 2013
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Sunday February 13th - day 1. It is 7am on Sunday morning and I am too nervous to eat much breakfast. It is time to pack the rucksack with the final items and to use this opportunity to leave a few more items behind. Arrived at London Victoria train station at 9.15am which means it is only 45 minutes before the train leaves. Three of us are starting this journey - Michael (an old school friend from Bournemouth), Heather (his girlfriend) and myself. There are about 10 people standing on the platform to wave us goodbye - relatives and friends - who knows when we will see them again? We have reserved seats and in 12 hours time we will have arrived at our first destination Koblenz which is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle in Germany. The journey is fairly uneventful and no doubt we are slightly quiet as we wait for the adventure to unfold. The intial train journey takes us to Dover where we catch the ferry to Ostende. During the ferry journey we meet Steve Burt an old schoolfriend from Bournemouth en route to his job in Brussels and this unexpected meeting helps to pass the time. Then it is back on the train which passes through Cologne and Bonn and we are provided with several excellent views with Cologne Cathedral especially stunning.

We arrive on time in Koblenz and now to find our hotel - Zur Goldenen Rose - which we booked in advance. There seems to be a festival as the streets are extremely busy. Children are dressed up mainly as cowboys and indians and you can hear lots of oompah bands playing. We trudge our way to the hotel with the extremely heavy rucksacks weighing us down and 45 minutes later arrive at the Golden Rose. Not good news though as the owners have no record of our booking but amazingly bearing in the mind the festival, they do have spare rooms. Exhausted it is straight to bed. My room is excellent albeit by the road which at festival time means no sleep until 3am! My bed has a nice warm duvet which is just as well as it is very cold outside.

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