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April 15, 1978 - Image 17

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Michigan Daily, 1978-04-15
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Page 10-Saturday, April 15, 1978-The Michigan Daily Travel Supplement

The Michigan Daily Travel Supplement--Sat

By Tom O'Connell
down onto the tarmac at Lonidon's
Heathrow Airport, drifting out of a
warm and clear August sky. The deep
green fields that edged the runway
were a startling contrast to the arid
Spanish plains outside Madrid, which
we had left only a short while before.
At the time, I was still going through
the hippie stage of my life, and I knew
that the prototypical regalia in which I
was costumed would guarantee me
some extra hassles at the Customs
counters. Shoulder length hair, Air
Force surplus sunglasses, sandals,
decrepit blue jeans and three days
worth of beard stubble all combined to
make me look like I had to be
smuggling something. Of course, the
fact that I have a thoroughly Irish sur-
name and I was arriving in Britain at
the height of an Irish Republican Army
bombing campaign didn't help matters
very much.
I was not disappoipnted. The lads at
Customs made a complete check of
every pair of dirty socks for possible
caches of gelignite and carefully
squeezed my toothpaste tube in hopes of
finding a hidden chunk of hashish. Alas,
they were disappointed.
My unwelcoming welcome to Britain
didn't really bother me, though, for I
knew from past encounters that the
people of the island are really quite
friendly, particularly towards
Americans. And, more importantly,
several reliable sources had informed
me that England' and especially
Scotland have the best pubs in the
world. I had arrived determined to
ascertain the validity of this infor-
mation, and perhaps do a little touring
as well.
M Y PLAN WAS simple. I would
visit some relatives in town, do
the usual first-time tourist sightseeing
(Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park,
etc.), take in a few nights of highly-
rated London theatre, and then in-
vestigate the pub scene. After that
would come a long day of hitch-hiking
northward into Scotland, and two weeks
of camping. As it turned out, things did
not go exactly according to plan, but
this British vacation was at least, well,
Everything went well for a few days.
I gawked along with all the other
American tourists at the changing of
the guard at the palace (feeling a bit
superior though, because I wasn't
clicking away with an Instamatic like
everyone else); I did the Tower of Lon-
don - Westminster Abbey - Houses of
Parliament - double decker bus ride
tour which is required of every first-
time visitor; and I even allowed myself
to be conned into going to a disco, my
main impression being that the English

discoids are as irritatingly overdressed
as their American counterparts.
I finally felt ready for a little relaxed
pub crawling, and roped Michael, a
British cousin of mipe, into acting as
guide. We hit a few spots in his home
town of Putney, a pretty little burg on
the outskirts of London that is cut in
half by the Thames River. As Michael
and I wandered through a few of his
favorite working class ale houses, I
began to discern the fact that the
English in general, and Michael and his

Dickens and Eliot, and all those other
poets and novelists' whose names I
could remember if I hadn't drunk so
much. Ah comfort, ah relaxation, ah
life, yes indeed.
Just then a man walked by with his
entire neck swathed in bandages.
Michael noticed me looking at him.
The man was the manager, he infor-
med me, who had been cut with a bottle
in a brawl the previous night.
"Usually have a bit of a punch-up in
here most every night," he continued,

thern coasts, and the isolated peace of
the Western Isles; at the same time it
contains cities of historic and artistic
importance like Edinburgh and Aber-
It also has many other features that
make it especially attractive to im-
poverished student travellers like
myself. The police, unlike their
American counterparts, take a fairly
enlightened view towards hitch-hikers,
and one is seldom bothered. When rides
are scarce an excellent bus and rail

What not
to- see
when you
visit D. C.

Here 's to


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By Richard Berke
and Dan Oberdorfer


friends in particular, seem to be
prodigious drinkers. Although I con-
sider myself to be no slouch in hoisting
a mug, I soon found myself several
rounds behind in consumption, and was
forced to imbibe furiously in order to
defend the reputation of the United
As closing time approached, Michael
walked and I weaved into our last stop
of the night, a beautiful, centuries-old
pub in the classic tradition, the ceiling
criss-crossed by heavy wooden beams
and the walls and floor paneled in oak.
We were soon rubbing elbows with a
crowd of locals, who seemed to exude
good cheer. The place was to provide
my strongest memory of England.
"AH, THIS IS the life," I thought.
AM Slightly drunk in an ancient
tavern whose walls seemed to breathe
history, surrounded by inebriated
Englishmen who all wanted to shake
my hand and buy me a drink as soon as
they hear my American accent, the
smoky air and the alcohol taking the
harsh edges off everything I saw in the
dim light - this was the London of

warming to his subject. "Had some
very good ones. Surprised there hasn't
been one tonight," he concluded,
looking around hopefully.
IBEGAN TO feel a bit apprehensive.
Broken bottles and punch-ups were
certainly not part of the London of
Dickens and Eliot. Besides, I told
myself, you're a pacifist at heart, even
if you do like Clint Eastwood movies.
Then Michael interrupted my thoughts.
"Fellow was killed here just last
December," he said laconicilly, as he
began working on yet another mug of
I left for Scotland the next morning,
bidding London a rather nervous
I only had two weeks worth of time
and about two days worth of money to
spend there, neither of which was really
enough. However, by putting in a lot of
early mornings on the road and eating
innumerable cheese sandwiches I was
able to cover quite a bit of territory on a
generally full stomach.
ly, Scotland is probably the most
diverse part of the British Isles, en-
compassing the pastoral settings of
small farms in the lowlands, the harsh
and desolate beauty of the Grampian
mountains, the jagged cliffs of the nor-

system can take you just about
anywhere. Youth hostels and cheap
hotels are bountiful in the major citie-
and in the countryside farmers can c
ten be persuaded to let you camp in oue
of their fields, although sometimes a
small amount of cash is needed to
enhance your persuasive techniques.:
Camping haphazardly can result in
some odd experiences, however. Late
one evening I fell asleep in an apparen-
tly deserted field, and woke up
surrounded by half a dozen cows who
appeared to be considering the
possibility of having my tent for break-
fast. On another occasion, I slept
peacefully on a beach miles from the
nearest point of civilization, only to be
awakened shortly after dawn by the
arrival of about a hundred shouting Boy
Scouts who had decided to pitch their
tents in the same spot.,
In general, the Scottish people are
quite friendly towards Americans,
although some have rather strange
ideas about the U.S. I thumbed a ride
one day with a tour bus driver, who en-
joyed maneuvering his vehicle like
Mario Andretti, and whose views of
America were apparently based on
Hollywood gangster movies. When in
response to his questions I informed
him that I lived in a town near Detroit,
he nodded knowingly.
See HERE'S, Page 14

P LANNING THAT pilgrimage to Washington,
D.C.? Wondering what to pack?
Don't make the same mistakes we did. Trash that
official guide to the nation's capital-you know, the
one you bought at the corner drugstore.
If it's your first trip to the District of Columbia,
don't go anywhere you feel you simply cannot miss.
We went and we wish we hadn't.
It was a muggy August morning when the Capitol
Express finally chugged into the Union Station
compound. Dan was anxious to flee the stuffy
second class compartment we had been riding since
sundown the previous night. But when he hopped
onto the cement platform and took his first deep
breath of thick, clammy Washington air, he nearly
slid through the perspiring crowd back onto our
D ESPITE DAN'S discontent with the weather,
Richard persuaded him to brave the 10-minute
hike to Capitol Hill.
"We've come all the way to Washington and after
licking all those envelopes for Senator Riegle, we're
going to meet him . . and I refuse to go alone," in-
sisted Richard.
"But it's too hot," complained Dan. "Besides, I
don't really know what to say to him anyway."
"If you don't come, I'll set you right back on a
train headed home. Do you really want that?"
Richard asked.
ND WE WERE off to the Dirksen Senate
Office, pounding on our senator's dooi. No
response. We must have pounded for 20 minutes
before a guard came over and informed us that

Congress was in recess and Riegle was
vacationing-back in Michigan.
From there, we proceeded to the nearest METRO
station-that's Washingtonian talk for the sub-
way-so we could head into town and find a hotel.
The sleek new subway system, we were told,
provides an impressive glimpse of what technology
can do for transportation. We were disappointed,
however, when the train stopped abruptly because a
leak had developed in the subway tunnel beneath the
Potomac River and the stations were flooding fast.
Anyway, we made it up to dry ground safely and
quickly and strolled around a while until we reached
a conspicuously inexpensive hotel near Thomas
Circle (Washington has such lovely cityscape).
Our roly-poly desk attendant told us the
Washington Monument was within walking distance
of the Hotel. Richard looked sharp in his khaki shor-
ts, Kodak Instamatic strapped around his neck, but
when it came to reading the tiny map our guidebook
had thoughtfully provided us, he seemed just as
ignorant as the hordes of tourists.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, we were lost in no time.
Our "I'm not a tourist-I live here" t-shirts
which we had cleverly purchased at Union Station
were dripping wet by the time we reached world-

famous Constitution A
the Washington Monur
The problem is, we
Maybe the pollution h
but it wasn't until we
soot-splattered monur
see the thing. Forget
always see it having or
Despite our disappoi
the monument just to b
wanted to walk up, but
would have to take th
people underestimate
weren't any more stre
daring enough to try.
like structure in disgi
elevator route.
Dan was upset and
proached within a feu
dark, so we asked o
leaning against a we
couldn't be of assistant
She said she'd be gl
and guided us to our
winked and pulled a I
Richard lunged for the
Unfortunately, it prc

The Jefferson Memoi

Pittsburgh toa:Is

" We Cater to Parties e"
f-- F ~e

EUROPE- $1 500
Fabulous 28 DAY tour of Western European countries, Exper-
ience their history and life!
Visit the major cities and enjoy the picturesque country side. Bilingual
American Guides as escorts. Two tours leaving Detroit June 14 & July 12.
Send for details, complete itinerary and reservations.
CALL (517) 321-78 977. Box.12269,In"

no longer
By Marty Levine
N SPITE OF its nickname, the city
of Pittsburgh is anything but "the
Pitts." It's actually a city full of vital-
ity, offering a lot to resident and tourist
The tall tales of the grime-encrusted
nightmare of "Pittsburgh now" most
often originate from 15-year-olds whose
"knowledge" echoes a reality that
faded 10 years before they were even
What epitomizes Pittsburgh today is

'the Pitts'
the Golden Triangle area where the
Monongahela and Allegeny Rivers con-
verge to form the Ohio River. In the
wake of the city's renaissance, the area
where the original Fort Pitt stood has
been transformed into a huge, grassy
park with a fountain at its head, a great
place for taking in the sun or flinging
frisbees after Pirate baseball games at
Three Rivers Stadium. The annual
Three Rivers Festival nearby is like a
gigantic street party, turning the city
into a colorful carnival.
Yes, the city's attractions are plen-
tiful. There's the H.J. Heniz plant tour,
See PITTStI.I", Rage 13 .


WINE and (
One of the

Specializing in MEDITERRANEA
Open LOAM-lAM Mon-Sat Sundays

211 S 4th Ave.

Ann Arb<

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