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Betty’s Mum was not happy with the idea of hostelling abroad so she suggested we book a package tour instead. We went with the Polytechnic, a company which ran the tours. We spent a week in Lucerne and a week in Ostend. We had tickets for the steamers on Lake Lucerne and the tram from France to Holland. Including all travel and meals the holiday cost ten pounds.  This was 1937 and I’d be 23. We took four pounds and spent most of the money in Lucerne.

Betty had to ask her mother to send more money. I wasn’t allowed to ask my parents. She lent me two pounds. I went youth hosteling abroad with my sister in 1938. We went across the channel by ferry to Ostend then to Achen and Cologne and down the Rhine to Heidelberg then Switzerland. We stayed in a chalet on Lake Lucerne. In the youth hostels in Germany you had to get up at half past six and do exercises with the Hitler Youth. When we were going down the Rhine, Hitler and Mussolini, were meeting in Germany and Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia. All the news vendors were shouting, ‘Czechoslovaki, Czechoslavaki!’ But we didn’t know what they were saying. My parents were in a terrible state worrying about us. However we got home alright and it was the next year war broke out.

Vi and Betty at St Gottard Pass, Switzerland