Our holiday turned out to be quite an experience

An unforgettable childhood holiday in Italy.
An unforgettable childhood holiday in Italy.

I’m sure we all have precious holiday memories from childhood, and there’s one that left a huge impression on me.

August 1974, we were on a two-centred package holiday from Rimini to Rome that turned out to be quite an experience.

Rimini was your typical ‘70s holiday resort, equipped with legions of hotels by the beach and even more sunbeds in neat rows.

I remember my father braving the pedalo with me whilst my mother lay glamorously on the beach.

The fashion for huge platform shoes was omnipresent on market stalls along with gorgeous leather handbags.

Although a little young for such things, I nonetheless enjoyed observing them with an eye to the future.

I also remember my first experience of garlic chicken in the hotel.

It was quite the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten, and not in my culinary 
experience to date, with mother being a down-to-earth Northern Irish 
woman who didn’t do fancy stuff.

I also recall how I nearly got abducted during an evening’s entertainment at the hotel, but was luckily spotted in the nick of time 
by some quick-witted guests.

To me it was all part of the adventure, though I shudder about it now.

The coach journey from Rimini to Rome was, to put it mildly, an endurance; a mere 104 degrees and rising at the time, in a vehicle without air conditioning, for eight long hours.

Alighting from the coach at the end of the journey was like peeling sellotape from cardboard.

The indignity of swinging feet above a set of steps didn’t help nor did my warmed and syrupy sugo di frutta!

Arriving at Hotel Giotto was interesting, to say the least.

It wasn’t the best part of town so our tour guide warned us to watch our bags; one unfortunate lady got hers whipped within five minutes!

More fortuitously, my father and I developed a good ruse for eliciting chocolate ice-cream in our hotel.

I would ‘do cute’ so the bambina got seconds, whilst my father eagerly gobbled it up.

We trod the sights in sweltering heat with Kodak cameras.

Unforgettable.