|On my original 1969 Triumph somewhere in Yugoslavia|
I ran across an old photo of my International Drivers License and another of my 1969 Triumph motorcycle and me while touring
Yugoslavia. Of course, it’s not Yugoslavia anymore, but this
picture was taken in 1969 when the country was still under Tito, who was
considered a “benevolent dictator” until his death in 1980. Yugoslavia was dissolved in 1992,
but I will admit that when I traveled there in ’69, it was one of the most
interesting places I visited.
|Part of my International Drivers License|
After riding through
where people wore the old fashioned styles of lederhosen and colorful dresses, I was struck by the fact that everyone wore black when I crossed into Yugoslavia. It was a dramatic contrast.
There were no cars on the road where I traveled, but there were ox carts and people walking. There were also men and women working in fields, stacking hay on wagons pulled by horses or oxen. As I recall, there were more women forking hay onto wagons than men.
I was also struck by the fact that stores only carried one make of each item, whether it was shoes or food. I guess shopping was easy. If you wanted shoes, you bought what the government provided. No ambiguity or confusion there.
There were nine countries I visited on my motorcycle, including
Spain, Switzerland, France,
Germany, Denmark, Sweden,
Austria and Yugoslavia. Since my friend, who had planned to meet me
at the Hofbrau House in Munich,
couldn’t leave his new German girlfriend, I ended up traveling alone for weeks
on end. I traveled through interesting countries back when each was unique with their own
currency and customs. Sadly, it’s not
like that anymore.
It should be added that I bought my motorcycle in
, where their tax was 100%
on purchases for the Danes under socialism. Imagine paying 100% sales tax in this country. Since I was exporting the bike, I could avoid the tax and I paid half-price
for a 1969 Triumph 650 motorcycle. If
you look in my garage there is a 1969 Triumph 650 bike sitting next to its
progeny, a newer Triumph, more recently purchased in Copenhagen, Denmark . Reno, Nevada
I could write a book on that trip, but I’ll spare you. The photos I found were just reminders of a great adventure a very long time ago.