My dad was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1929. He's not around so that I can garner further information on some of his travels, but I do know some of the history.
The first instance of recorded travel was when he went for a bike ride. He was 14 years old in 1943 when he rode his single speed bicycle from Saskatchewan to British Columbia. Alone. I don't remember the details of why he did this at the time, in fact I'm going to have to remember to ask one of my relatives the story behind this.
In the 1950's, my dad accepted a job as a radio operator working on the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line in the Arctic Circle. He said that if you weren't a drinker or a smoker or a gambler that there was nothing to spend your money on. He was neither a drinker or a smoker, but he was a pretty good card player, so he may have taken part in a number of poker games. Either way, when he finished his six months up in the Arctic he had enough money to head to Europe.
He made his way to New York City where he hopped on a ship bound for Europe.
New York City. March 17, 1954.
He traveled Europe for a full year in 1954, hitch hiking his way around the continent. Again, he did this alone, although there were some relatives he visited in Germany. His mother was originally born in Czechoslovakia, but to a family of German origin.
He said he was once picked up by an old man driving a very expensive Bentley. But most of his rides were with families or couples.
Selling flowers in Copenhagen, Denmark.
He took boxes of slide photographs. Ruth spent days scanning all of these slides onto the laptop and that's why we have all of these photographs with us. Each slide was numbered, dated, and with written details as to where it was and even included the camera info with f-stop and shutter speed. Dad was a detail kind of a guy!
Old Town of Amsterdam. "Like Venice but not as dirty." Holland.
Children in Marken, Holland.
He spent a lot of time in Switzerland. He loved the mountains and obviously did a lot of hiking in that area.
Kapelle Bricke (72 paintings of Early Luzern history) with Mt. Pilatus behind Lucerne, Luzern, Switzerland.
Airolo at the beginning of Gotthards Road Pass and railway tunnel, looking south towards Lugano, Italy.
When he came back from Europe, he went to school in Toronto. While there, he entered a contest, something to do with geography, and he won a substantial amount of money. He decided to take his mother back to Europe for a holiday because she hadn't been there since moving to Canada in 1925. They spent most of their time in Germany, visiting relatives.
Down Elbe from Hamburg at Sullberg, Germany. June 9, 1957.
He met my mother and married in 1958. Mom and Dad did quite a bit of traveling, but longer family vacations were always to visit relatives in British Columbia. They did do several trips to the United Kingdom because my mother's family was from Scotland and England.
Dad passed away in the fall of 2010. I asked him that year what countries he had wanted to visit in his life, but had never made it to. His answer was "I always wanted to see the fjords of Norway. Oh, and the mountains of New Zealand. But I figured if I went to New Zealand, I might never come back!".
So, one day we will go to visit the fjords of Norway, and the mountains of New Zealand and I will think of my Dad.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.