“Travels to a Different Time” : July 16/17/20 1971: Pag, Yugoslavia:  Thank You Canadians as Liberators: German Diet Pills: Food Shortages

Letter from Margaret Mary Stephen to Daughter Barbara and son Andrew: We are now on the island of Pag. We left the beautiful island of Hvar then went to the island of Murter. A tiny island packed with German tourists. The people are packed like sardines on the beaches. We met a man from Holland as we were trudging along to the beach. He drove us to the beach and back. He took us for a drink after. If I’d been his wife I would have killed him!  He had been an interpreter for the Canadians when they invaded Holland. Tall as Dad. You don’t see many tall men here. He was grateful that “the Canadians liberated us”. The people here get up very early around 5:30. I have been in the sun so much my skin is black and like leather. I am having a beer in a café while Robert checks if we have any mail. Here he comes and we have none! July 17th: Went to the post office to check for mail but there was none. I was so disappointed I felt like crying. There is no bread left in the bakeries and we were lucky I bought half a loaf in a restaurant yesterday. Food shortages make our life difficult. Restaurants and stores are often out of many foods. On the way to the beach yesterday up in the mountains the scenery was spectacular. Unlike the Greek islands there is green everywhere. We will be in Germany soon and I can’t wait to get to civilization. Fritz lives in a company town near Basel Switzerland. I am not much fatter than when I left. I am getting anxious to get to Germany. July 20, 1971: Received a long letter from Fritz yesterday. He has all kinds of plans for us. He wants to show us Munich for two days and two nights. I hope we can go to a beer garden. Then to Cologne. Then to the Black Forest where he wants to take Robert hunting. When we go to West Berlin to see Heidi he can spend 4 days with us. He will probably see us in Frankfurt before we go home. We will be driving on the autobahn where they drive over 160 miles an hour. I hope I come back alive! There is no running water here in Pag and they fill up the bathtubs with water to flush the toilets. The bathrooms all stink! I am beginning to act like a native getting up early buying bread and meat for breakfast before the stores and bakeries run out of food. We are eating so much bread and meat if we can find it. I can’t stomach it anymore. I must stay slim for Germany even if I have to starve. Sitting in our room finishing off this delicious Pag wine as I don’t want to have to lug it on our trip. Barb, don’t forget to tell me the name of the weight reducing pills I can buy in Germany. The meals here are bad news. No one who has been to Yugoslavia will ever complain about my cooking. Very grim food all very starchy and so few vegetables. No wonder they are so huge here. I am on a diet trying to get rid of the flab. Fritz is so meticulous he might take a look at me and turn around. Rob just returned with two letters from Fritz.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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