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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, May 01, 2006

KS - Lourdes

10- The next document of note in my military file is an international driver’s license with the validation date of 24 March 1962. This was obtained to be able to drive in several countries on a leave coming up in April. This “Permis International de Conduire” is of special note because it has my picture – back when I still had hair!!! A lot of hair has gone under the bridge (or down the drain) since then.

Also contained is the paperwork for a 15-day leave in the countries of France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. Applied for on 19 March 1962, the extent of the leave was from 0001 hrs 11 April 1962 until 2400 hrs 25 April 1962. Then there are individual papers to enter the different countries also dated 19 March 1962.

There is a stamped and signed approval form for a supplementary gasoline ration of 280 liters – this because without that, gas would have cost more than two dollars a gallon - with the ration it was about 30 cents per. It even lists the car – a 1962 Volkswagen sedan – that two other guys and I had rented for our sweeping, international tour of a large part of Southern Europe.

On 11 April 1962 the three of us piled our stuff into the little VW and headed south. We had obtained a map of Europe – which I still have – and I noticed that we marked our route as we went. Cities we went through in France were: Chartres, Tours, Poitiers, Limoges, Perigueux, Agen, Tarbes and Lourdes. This latter city was visited because of its importance to Catholics, which both of my companions were.

We spent the most of a day visiting the church there, the grotto and the Stations of the Cross nearby. Looking back, I think I subconsciously envied their devotion, as I had pretty much turned my back on my own religious training. We spent the night and started out next morning, passing through Pau and on to Bayonne and Biarritz, still in France. Crossing into Spain our first town was San Sebastian on the Atlantic coast. Then to Pamplona – no, the bulls were not running through the city that day – on through Zaragoza, Lerida and to Barcelona on the Mediterranean.

TBC - ec


Blogger Lis said...

My dream vacation would involve wandering around southern Europe for a few months, seeing all the places I have only read about. The sense of history must be simply amazing!

5/01/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

lis - It was amazing, just wondering how the folks lived back then and how many lived and died in those locations. Also if they were happy or not. ec

5/02/2006 12:33:00 AM  
Blogger Granny said...

Nice post and thanks for your comment.

Ray and I keep up with each other in the store as well. I used to have to page him when he'd wander off. He'd be walking up one aisle while I was walking down the other.


5/02/2006 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Mr Eddie ~~ Thanks for comment. I hope you get some rain soon for your vegies. Do you ever think of revisiting these places you were at
during the war? There would be a lot of changes by now. Cheers, Merle.

5/02/2006 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

granny - It's a terrible thing to lose a mate - especially in a large store. :)

merle - Maybe we will get some rain tomorrow - I had to sprinkle them with the hose just to keep the soil damp. And about Europe, I don't care to ever go back - once was enough. ec

5/02/2006 06:32:00 PM  

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