A memory of a vacation – Prague Daily

I first went to what was then Yugoslavia when I was in high school. I was celebrating my eighteenth birthday and my parents knew my desire to travel, which in pre-revolutionary times was almost from the category of unfulfillable dreams, so they bought me a trip to the island of Lopud near Dubrovnik at the Youth Travel Agency.

Alena Mornštajnová
she is a writer

Such a purchase was not easy. It was necessary to act quickly. As soon as the CKM catalog appeared with a very limited range of tours, it was necessary to block a place immediately – preferably on the same day – and if you were lucky and got a place on the tour, you had to hope that someone more suitable (meaning an acquaintance, relative or with parents with red identification cards), which could kick you out of the tour.

About the evil in us, or Lessons from the swimming lane

If it didn’t happen, the wheel started, which in my case you had half a year to turn around. You got a passport – at that time specially issued only for Yugoslavia -, you scraped together a few dinars or marks, you provided a recommendation from the SSM, which had to guarantee for you that you would not stay in that distant Yugoslavia. And before you left, they called you to the director’s office, where Comrade Director explained to you how you should behave in a treacherous foreign country, that you must not talk to anyone, and that, if unavoidable, the content of the conversation should be memorized and reported upon your return.

The tour was led by a CKM employee. He was constantly counting us and at every stop he circled around and made sure we didn’t run into anything. And he counted us when we arrived on the island, when we stayed in a hotel where perhaps no one had lived in the past for several years, because there was not a single light bulb in the rooms or in the corridors, the glass in the windows was broken and the doors could not be closed. In the corners of the dirty rooms there were several years’ worth of cobwebs and the only furniture was the beds. We slept three in the bedrooms, the toilet was in the corridor and the showers were a kilometer away from the beach.

Still, we were excited. That beautiful island! Beautiful sea and beautiful swimming, although the comfortable beach was only for guests of the big hotel, we had to be content with lying on the sharp stones. We had full board and I have to admit that the food was excellent in contrast to the accommodation, but we could forget about sitting in a cafe or having an ice cream at the stand. We had a full pension, so we were not entitled to any dinars. In the evening we walked along the promenade, envied the carefree spending of Western tourists and pretended that we could easily have a drink or buy souvenirs, pay entrance to a disco, sit in a restaurant if we wanted to…

About the beauty behind humny, or tourism as our national treasure

On Saturday, the Dalmatian night and the election of the island’s beauty queen took place in a large hotel. Anyone could sign up – entry and consumption were free for participants. Three girls signed up despite the loud protests of the tour leader. The poor man had to pay an entrance fee to look after his sheep.

Source: DiaryAnd he was unlucky. One girl won the second prize and with her a one-day trip to Dubrovnik. No matter how he persuaded her, she was determined to use the prize. The boy then walked around as if he had no body all day and in the evening he sat on the pier and looked out for the ship that the girl was supposed to return to. “He must be in love with her,” I said to my roommate over dinner. She looked at me indulgently and smiled at my naive and romantic soul. “More like he was afraid he’d slip.”

She didn’t flinch. And no one left our tour at that time. When we crossed the border in full, the tour leader got so drunk that he staggered off the bus in Prague, and happily hiccupped when he said goodbye to us. “Everybody, everybody’s back. That probably hasn’t happened yet.”

Yes you are right. Croatia is not what it used to be.

The opinions published here bring different views of publicists and personalities, but do not express the position of the Journal.

The article is in Czech

Tags: memory vacation Prague Daily

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