3 March 2018

Torbole

As boys, my three brothers and I were very lucky. Every summer my parents would pack up the caravan (American: trailer) and we'd be off for five or six weeks. At first we would bomb down to Cornwall or South Wales but by 1959 we were heading across The English Channel to something we referred to as "The Continent".

In those days you wouldn't see many British families touring Europe and continental campsites were often uncrowded. We travelled all over France, Belgium, The Netherlands, West Germany, Switzerland, Austria and even down into Italy.

One summer, I believe it was 1961, our principal destination was Lake Garda, There we met up with old family friends - a childless couple called John and Brenda. They are still in the land of the living. John is ninety and Brenda is eighty seven.
It was at the southern end of Lake Garda that John taught me to swim. He balanced me in his arms and then I took off in the silky warm Italian lake. Swimming freely was easier than I had imagined. That's just about the only thing I can remember from that holiday.

Just the other day, John sent my brother Robin a photograph that was taken that summer - probably in the form of a colour slide. I edited the picture to improve it and then set about discovering its location. It was taken at the north end of Lake Garda at Torbole. That was  fifty seven years ago.

There's my late brother Paul with his Elvis quiff. Then there's Robin who was a big lad at the age of ten. I am the next one in the photo - seven years old coming on eight and there's my younger brother Simon who was five. Yes, fifty seven years back - a long time ago with our entire lives ahead of us.
Torbole today

28 comments:

  1. To use my father's expression, you're a good-lookin' bunch! It's amazing you were able to figure out the location of the shot, and that it's so similar even today.

    There is something about photos that is so magical. If you examine the details you can be transported to a different time and place. I always wonder how the people in the picture actually felt at the moment of the open shutter, and what they did immediately after the moment. The photo freezes the very moment. I'm not explaining it well, but it feels like magic.

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    1. I do see what you mean O'Jenny. It's quite a poetic thought. An old photograph - it's like a prehistory caught in amber.

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  2. Good memories. Your parents gave you something that changed your lives forever. Travel just keeps on giving.

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    1. They made us all curious about the world and confident about travelling afar.

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  3. what lovely memories! it's no wonder you are so well travelled as an adult and it would seem your children are also citizens of the world in their own ways

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    1. They taught us to be curious and to see that travel was something to relish - not to feel apprehensive about.

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  4. I regognised the name in your heading but wasn't sure until I read the post. Lake Garda is beautiful and we take so much for grantes, to think people travel long distances to come visit it. I wonder if you visited Verona too then. Pity you came here 14 years too early as Gardaland was not open yet. You would've perhaps remembete9 more of that holiday.
    You and your brothers were lovely children Neil.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Sorry...
      Grantes = granted
      Remembete9 = remembered
      x

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    2. Perhaps we did visit Verona but I cannot ask my parents . Perhaps John will know. I shall ask him. I had never heard of Gardaland - oh, I see it's an American-style theme park.

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    3. I e-mailed John and he confirmed that we did visit Verona that summer. Apparently I pulled a little Italian girl's pigtails. She was called Maria.

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  5. I do so like looking at old family pictures, no matter whether I know the people on them or not! Lake Garda is beautiful and very diverse from the North to the South end. I don't remember whether you already read my blog when RJ and I spent a holiday there and I showed pictures, but it really has not changed much by the looks of it.
    So nice of John and Brenda to send the picture.
    I still remember where and when my sister and I learned to swim, and that our Mum treated us to a toy of our choice at Ludwigsburg's biggest toy shop afterwards. That was so unusual because we weren't rich and usually got new toys for birthdays and at Christmas, not during the year.

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    1. Yes I do remember reading about your time at Lake Garda with RJ. Has he got a new girlfriend now?

      Did you and Brunhilda learn to swim on the same day?

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    2. If by Brunhilda you mean my sister (who is nothing like that in name or character), yes, we learned to swim on the same day. She is a year older than I but was frequently ill between the age of 5 and 7, making it impossible for her to spend as much time at the public swimming pool with the other kids as she would have done otherwise.

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  6. Ahhhh..57 years ago...when I was young and you were younger. Sweet bird of youth...those were the days, my friend.

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    1. Those were the days my friend
      We thought they'd never end
      We'd sing and dance forever and a day
      We'd live the life we choose
      We'd fight and never lose
      Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
      La la la la...

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  7. What a lovely photo of you and your brothers. You were very lucky to have travelled so far as a child, my childhood travels and camping trips only covered the south coast of England.

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    1. Yes. We were lucky but England also has a wealth of lovely places to visit.

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  8. I too, was lucky enough to travel around the Continent, with my parents, from an early age. We began sometime in the early 1950's in the days of petrol coupons, traveller's cheques, and currency restrictions. Like your family, we covered most of Europe, and every year spent time in Italy, always renting an apartment on the coast at Diano Marina.
    The good thing about Italy is that it hasn't changed, or been spoiled, the way so many other places have. We even made it down into Spain on occasions - a very different country to today !

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    1. With my own children we once took a three week continental camping trip and our most southerly destination was Diano Marina. As my wife is a nurse it was impossible to book more than three weeks. By the way you were a bit ahead of me but I enjoyed the excitement of crossing all those borders and having to get your passport stamped.

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  9. What an amazing find! I love stuff like this -- little time capsules. It's remarkable that Torbole is still so similar that many of the buildings in your photo can still be seen in the modern one. (They've definitely discovered Sherwin-Williams in recent years, though, haven't they?)

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    1. Is Sherwin Williams Serena and Venus's little sister?

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  10. How very lucky you've been, to have traveled so much your whole life. I envy you. Great photo of you and your brothers!

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    1. I hope that you and Gregg might make it out of The States one day.

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    2. We've been wanting to take a trip somewhere, but right now buying a house is on our horizon. Once that's done, and we see what our finances look like after that, we're hoping to travel more. :)

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    3. One day... I hope you will be moved when that day comes.

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  11. That photo. The Von trap boys

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    1. You can be a lonely goatherd.

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  12. How very lucky you've been, to have traveled so much your whole life. I envy you. Great photo of you and your brothers!

    ** สมัคร D2BET**

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