Andrew Martin: You always remember the first time

The thing is...

Share
Related Topics

The thing is, according to research just published, children are taking their first foreign holidays aged, on average, three, whereas their parents first went abroad when they were 13. My teenage son is not going abroad this year, and is feeling aggrieved. "But you've been to France, Greece, Italy and Canada," I point out. "Too young to remember," he says flatly.

I first went abroad when I was 13: a package holiday to Lido di Jesolo with the British Rail Touring Club, and I do remember. My dad was experienced at "abroad", and I quizzed him about it for weeks beforehand. "What will we have for breakfast in Italy, Dad?" "Continental breakfast," he'd say. "Probably bread and jam." Bread and jam... on the face of it not wildly exciting, but this would be Italian jam. "You'll probably have fresh orange juice," he added, and that was wildly exciting. We never had fresh orange juice in York in the Seventies – I don't think it was actually available. "Remember," my dad would say, "it's a cocktail. You sip it."

We crossed the channel by Sealink ferry, and those were not the floating car parks of today but proper boats, by which I mean that everyone on them was violently seasick in the toilets. But I wasn't! So I was able to order a sandwich, or should I say, a baguette, because the ferry was slightly tainted with Frenchness. I prefaced my order by asking, "Do you take sterling?" and was disappointed that the steward just handed over the funny-looking bread and said, "35 pence, son".

The Gare de Lyon had palm trees in tubs on the platform, and every man seemed to be a secret service agent, and they would all insist on talking French. They seemed so much better at it than me that I began to feel a fraud for having been consistently near the top of the French set in my Secondary Modern. At midnight on the train, I opened the blind from my couchette bunk and saw a log cabin, a mountain and a man in a strange hat. "What's that?" I asked my dad. "Switzerland," he said. "Now go to sleep." Fat chance of that.

Lido Di Jesolo turned out to be a place I should have been living in all my life. Nobody laughed at my Bermuda shorts (which they had done when I'd road-tested them in Rowntree's Baths, York), and the breakfast jam did not disappoint. It was apricot, and I have never dared eat it since, just in case it is not the ambrosia of my recollection.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Queen Elizabeth II with members of the Order of Merit  

Either the Queen thinks that only one in 24 Britons are women, or her Order of Merit is appallingly backward

Janet Street-Porter
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...