Page 6-Sunday, April 11, 1982-The Michigan Daily
Seein France and dEngnd
The Michig6n Daily-Sun
European traveling requires a kee
By George A dams
Just off High Steet in Bath, England, on the side of a
warehouse there is a stairway that leads underground.
Following this stairway down and going through.the door at
the bottom leaves you in what appears to be a cave, peering
at a light at the far end of a tunnel that seems to lead under
If you duck your head and follow the tunnel, you'll arrive.
in a cavernous room with tiffany lamps, an antique oak bar
and beautiful hardwood floors. The place is Sweeney Todd's,
one of the best and most interesting pizza parlors in existen-
ce. Amidst the wonderful decor, you'll listen to music
ranging from Haydn to Hendrix, and be served your drinks
and food by what appear to be elves.
BUT HOW WOULD you ever find the place if you
didn't already know it was there? There are no signs
outside and even if you had the address it would be
difficult to find.
You simply have to look. And if you are going to
England or Europe, and want to meet people, and
learn about their culture that is the best way to do it.
Stay away from the tourist attractions and head to
where the natives hang out. The Eiffel Tower and
Buckingham Palace are great for a day, but you'll
seldom if ever find a Frenchman or a true.English-
man at either of these places.
I spent three months in Europe and Great Britain
during the summer. About one month of this time was
spent taking trains through England and Scotland,-
and two weeks were spent bicycling through the Bor-
companion once found ourselves in Glasgow,
Scotland, which we found to be a perfectly awful
place, and the rail pass allowed us to leave within
miuntes. By all means purchase one of these little
lifesavers before you leave the U.S. They can't be
purchased in England.
ONCE YOU HAVE this, you're ready for your ad-
venture. You'll undoubtedly arrive in London, and I
suggest you see the major sights and then leave as
soon as possible for the more interesting, and less ex-
pensive cities outside of the capitol.
Don't confine yourself to any particular itinerary.
You are now a full-fledged wayfarer, a vagabond
with money, and to enjoy yourself you can't be held to
a time schedule. Wander around the country at your
own pace. Pick out places you'd like to see, but don't
try to see them all. If you like a particular city or
village, stay for a few days and soak it up..
While you are trying to get the feel of the life in the
country, sleeping in the street is uncomfortable and
unhealthy. The best thing to do in Great Britain is to
stay at what is called a "Bed-and-Breakfast." These
are homes of private citizens, so you'll be staying
with the natives, and you'll get a room and a good
breakfast for a reasonable price. My companion and
I stayed each night in one of these establishments, for
an average of about twelve to fifteen dollars a night.
GREAT BRITAIN IS endowed with an excellent
network of tourist centers, and these should be your
first stop when you arrive in any city. They can
reserve a room for you, and give you any other in-
formation that you'll need.
Where should you go? I shouldn't say, because the
can afford it, buy a sweater or jacket from one of the
local merchants; the wool is the best in the world, and
once you see what they make you'll kill yourself if you
don't buy something.,
Also in Scotland is a perfectly delightful, slightly
larger city named Edinburgh. This should not be
missed, especially if you're around for the Summer
festival. This month-long extravaganza is one of the
most spectacular, though at the same time friendly
and quaint events you'll find anywhere. Also, take the
famous one mile walk to the castle, which is
beautifully preserved, and hear the story of the
numerous Scotch queens and what happened to them
Some places to see in England include Oxford,
Cambridge, Bath, and, especially for Shakespeare
fans, Stratford upon Avon. In Ba'th, you'll see the un-
covered ruins of the Roman city, preserved almost
intact, and the Baths they built there in the year 10
A.D. Stratford will treat you to the Royal
Shakespeare Company, one of the world's premier
theatre companies. You'll also see the birthplace,
and different dwellings that were inhabited by Strat-
ford's most famous citizen, William Shakespeare.
The whole town just breathes with the legacy of the
WHEREVER YOU ARE in England, Scotland,
Wales or Ireland, the most important thing to do is to
talk to the people. As a rule, the natives of these coun-
tries are very friendly and equally helpful. Don't be
afraid to start a conversation with someone you see
just sitting in the park, although if you do this in Lon-
don, the person is bound to ask you for money. Ask
them questions and ask-if you can join them for a few
hours, just to see what's going on. I know this sounds
kind of crazy, but it works, and you'll never see those
peopleagain in your life anyway, so why betimid?
If you cross the English Channel to France, a com-
pletely different world awaits you.
O.K., I'll say it now and get it out of the way: Go to
Paris and spend at least a week there. See Versailles,
the Louvre, Montmartre, the Champs Elysees, and
all the rest. But remember, the worst thing about
Paris is that you can't possibly see it all, even if you
live there, so you'll have to choose what you'll want to
IF YOU CAN arrange to stay with a family while
you're in France, it is an excellent (and inexpensive)
way to live. The addresses and names of families who
might be willing to open their homes are available
from the French Consulate in America, but
hurry-most Frenchmen have the annoying habit of
making their summer plans well in advance.
See EUROPEAN, Page 15
(Continued from Page 6)
Remember that there are as many
things to see outside of Paris as there
are inside, though they are on a smaller
scale. If you have the time, the.energy,
and a well seasoned rear end, I suggest
a bicycle trip through the French coun-
tryside to anyone who wants to see.
France from the ground up.
Unless you've unreasonably wealthy,
you'll camp out during this trip. Every
mood) and dinner was something like a
can of beans and bread.
But don't worry-you get used to it!
The bread is great no matter where you
eat it, and drinking wine all day long
puts you in such an agreeable mood
(sometimes a stupor) that you'll be.
receptive to almost anything.
AND RECEPTIVITY IS the key to
enjoying yourself in France. Most of the
towns you'll encounter are delightful,
with a mix of the rustic past and their
have tours and allow visitors in their
vineyards and in the cellars where
they keep the wine. Chateau Lafitte-
Rothschild is an example. They offer
tours, a move on wine-making, and
samples of their work.
So much for the particulars. It
doesn't matter where in Europe, Great
Britain, or any other country you
travel. The important thing to remem-
ber is that traveling is more of an at-
titude than it is "what you saw." Keep
your eyes, ears, and above all your
mind open to new experiences. You're
bound to have them.
Ifyou are going to England or Europe,
about their culture, the best way to do
it is to simply look. Stay away, from the
tourist attractions and head to where
the natives hang out.
Don't confine yourself to any particular itinerary. You are now a
full-fledged wayfarer, -a vagabond with money, and to enjoy
yourself, you can't be held to a time schedule. Wander about the .
country at your own pace.
deaux region of France. The rest of the time was
spent at the tourist attractions in each country, which
I now regret. While these do offer something, and
every vacationer should at least see them, by com-
parison the people are much more interesting, and to
find them, you'll have to look.
One absolute necessity for travel in England is a
Brit-rail pass. A Eurail pass can also be purchased
for travel through Europe. The Brit-rail pass allows
you unlimited travel in England, Scotland and Wales
for a specified period of time. I and my traveling
best part is finding the places yourself. However, let
me suggest a few places that I loved.
If your travel plans include Scotland, definitely see
Inverness. You can take a sleeper train in the
evening,- and arrive in Inverness the next morning
refreshed from a good night's sleep. Once you're
there, go on a boat tour/monster hunt on Loch Ness,
take an excursion to the Isle of Skye, and visit the
castle Macbeth (of William Shakespeare fame).
OTHER THAN THAT, just hang around the town
and see what there is to see. Visit the shops, and if you
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town; no matter how small, seems to
have a campsite somewhere close to
the center of town. These places are
delightfully dirty, and full of the most
interesting (and strange) people you'll
YOU CAN RENT a bicycle and cam-
ping equipment in Paris or somewhere
near. It doesn't really matter where
you go, you can't help but see the coun-
try. You're forced to see it. Again I was
lucky to have a native guide to read the
maps and order our food, but don't let it
stop you if you don't.
With all the talk about how seriously
the French take their food, I was
amazed at how my guide could abuse
his intestinal tract while camping.
Breakfast consisted of coffee: Lunch
was a bottle (or two) of red wine and a
piece of bread (perhaps some chocolate
if he was in a particularly benevolent
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seeming escape from the present that
in some cases will make you want to
stay forever. The pace is slow and easy,
and if you do anything but relax and en-
joy in these towns and villages, you are
definitely missing the idea.
At the risk of sounding repetitive,
please don't hurry. Once you hit Bor-
deaux and especially the region of the
Gironde, take as much time as you
want and then double it. This region is
peppered with wine vineyards, and
there are numbers of Chateaux that
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