1966 – 1968
Continental Coach Tours was one of two Camping Tour Operator’s in Earls Court. This opportunity certainly got me off and running, on the beginning of my travel career.
During my days guiding camping tours around Europe, I cant help but recall one of history’s biggest “news items”. While driving our 9 Week Greek Tour from Sofia in Bulgaria to the Hungarian border, I was met by armed military men, suggesting that I was unable to enter the country. As we were only passing through Hungary and Czechoslavakia, proceeding on to Vienna, I had a transit Visa, which would allow us to into the country. I was directed to see the Consulate office at the border post. When I asked why we were not permitted to enter the country, I was not given an answer. I explained to the Consulate officials, that our Tour Company, conducted Tours through Hungary and Czechoslavia , and would need to advise them of our predicament. I was advised that they were not in a position to help me. I had to make a detour to Zagreb and continue on to Vienna in Austria
Upon our arrival in Vienna, we received the shocking news. On the night of August 20/21, of 1968, 200,000 troops from the Warsaw Pact Countries of USSR, Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria, entered the territory of their defenceless ally, as tanks crushed the Liberal Reforms of the Prague Spring – The largest military operation in Europe since World War 11. Certainly a frightening experience for me, a 25 yearold South African, and all my young group of Australian and New Zealand passengers. Fortunately we were safe, and delighted to be in the Austrian capital of Vienna! A historic moment, that could have turned out differently!
These were the three summer tours I was assigned to for my three year tenure with the company:
4 Week Spanish / North Africa Tour
- London – Paris – San Sebastian – Madrid – Lisbon – Porto – Algerceras – Gibraltar – Tangier – Malaga – Seville – Granada – Alicante – Benidorm – Barcelona – Andorra – Avignon – Lausanne – Amsterdam – Brussels – Ostend – Dover – London.
8 Week Central European Tour:
- London – Brugge – Brussels – Amsterdam – Berlin (East & West)Cologne – Rhine Cruise (Bingen to Boppard) – Munich – Lindau – Baden Baden – Lake Constance – Lucern – St Gotthard Pass – Verona Venice – Florence – Rome – Amalfi Coast – Pisa – Lerichi – San Remo Monte Carlo / Monaco – Nice – Cannes – Antibes – Grassse – Barcelona – San Sebastian – Lourdes – Versailles – Paris – Calais – Dover – London.
9 Week Greek Tour:
- London – Paris – Lucerne – St Gotthard Pass – Lake Como – Venice – Rejika – Split – Dubrovnik – Salonika – Athens – Greek Islands (Hydra Delos – Mykonos ) Istanbul – Sofia – Prague – Vienna – Salzburg – Tirol (Company’s Winter Ski Destination) Munich – Amsterdam – Brussels – Brugge – Dover – London.
The company also offered summer camping tours to: Scandinavia and Russia. Continental Coach Tours of London Ltd, also provided Ski Tours at a Ski Lodge in the Austrian Tirol.
Two Week – All inclusive Ski Package included:
Flights from London to Munich, Luxury Motor Coach transportation from Munich to the Village of Kirchberg. My duties as Activities Director at the Resort was to provide “meet & greet ‘ to all 50 guests on arrival. Passengers were provided with upcoming events for their two week stay. Along with orientation on arrival in the village, assigned their rooms, ski rental equipment and ski passes. I was also responsible for overseeing all necessary evening entertainment at the Lodge, as well as in the village for their two week stay.
Arranged weekly excursion from Kirchberg to Salzburg, as well as shopping outings down through the Brenner Pass (Italy) These were an additional expense, over and above, their two week package. Throughout the Winter, the Ski Tour Program, operated back to back. As one Tour would depart for Munich, the next group would arrive.