Poses on the decks of the KEFALLINIA during the early years of her career. Lighthouse: a spot to remember. [PT2]

The pure white vessel, named KEFALLINIA, was laid down for Strintzis Lines in 1965 being the company’s first new built. She was one of the many ships constructed in the broader zone of Perama, an area with significant shipbuilding activity from the early 60s till the mid 80s. During that time the Perama zone was – in today’s terms – a huge hub of start uppers. The vessels built there facilitated a great variety of domestic routes while dozens of the successful open type of ferry boats have been built by shipbuilders of the Perama.

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01. Posing on the open deck of KEFALLINIA.

The later in blue livery KEFALLINIA was a fit for purpose vessel. Her size (L: 82m, B: 11,1m), her capacity (600 passengers, 70 vehicles) and her speed (15 knots) despite limited compared to a contemporary vessels’, proved ideal for the routes she served. In the very beginning of her career she was connecting the city of Patras and the Ionian island of Cephalonia and until the mid 90s she was mainly active in the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea. In 1993 she was sold to Katopoliani N.E., renamed EXPRESS PAROS, and for the next five years she has been employed in the intercycladic connection. Sold to Tanzania in 1999 – since according to the Greek law by the time ferries should be retired at the age of 35 – her career as ZAHARA in Africa was short. In 2001 she was laid up in Dar – Es – Salaam. She has been spotted abandoned and aground in a poor state and, according to some sources, she must have been scrapped sometime in the mid 00s.

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02. On the wooden decks of the KEFALLINIA

The passengers of the photos definitely sail on the KEFALLINIA. Many of her structural and secondary elements are depicted clearly on the pictures, as the characteristic and purely mid century style oval bridge, the wooden decks and the wooden benches and the windows of the main saloon located forward. The passengers enjoy their journey in the bow of the KEFALLINIA among the maneuvering machinery, an area strictly forbidden today. It was easy for the passenger to reach that point, the only thing he/she had to do was to walk through the side corridors. In a way, the small KEFALLINIA had her own, very special, promenade deck.

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03. Many of the vessel’s structural and secondary elements are depicted clearly on the pictures found in the second hand book store.

Paradoxically, even by the end of her career in the Mediterranean, the bow of the vessel was still approachable. Taking into account this information we can be sure that the vessel was probably one of the very last in the Greek waters where the passenger could around walk her superstructure reaching the edge of the bow.

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04. Could it be the 1899 built lighthouse Oxia located on the Oxia Island?

Despite the fact that the identity of the mystery vessel has been reviled the lighthouse of the picture remains unidentified. Capturing the imagination of the travelers, the lighthouses are faithful companion during navigation and a symbol the maritime journey itself.  It’s probably the 1899 built lighthouse Oxia located on the Oxia Island of the Patras bay but we are not entirely sure. Can someone verify our hypothesis?

 

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One journey, a bunch of photographs: traces of the Sixties travelling to the present [PT.1]

In our very first post, we wrote that “the maritime youth travel experience has been captured and represented in photographs that those travelers took of themselves”, knowing already the difficulty of accessing this material. The pictures of a bygone time of maritime youth travel constitute for us a stunning treasure, but do the original holders feel the same? Have they kept such material and, if so, would they like to share it? It’s hard to guess whether they would view this as an intrusion of their privacy…

Dionysis Notarakis found himself a number photographs in a second hand book store in Athens, which have not only triggered some thoughts of ours on youth maritime travel, but have also given us a vivid sense of it. We are going to upload them all in two different posts during the summer. Today we are uploading the first four of them. Judging from the quality of the photographic paper and the clothes of the photographed youngsters, the pictures must have been taken most probably during the mid – late sixties. It should be either spring or autumn since the clothing is neither heavy nor light. In the first of them, the ferry boat is leaving the port. Was the departure a memorable moment?

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01. Was the departure a memorable moment?

In the second of the photographs, a bunch of youngsters are lying idle on the wooden deck of a passenger ship. The girl hugs a boy while a second person is lying on her. Three more young women are part of the scenery. This photograph raises a number of questions: Did all these youngsters come from the same country? Did they know one another before travelling?

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02. In the Sixties broadly understood the rules and regulations appeared to become looser.

Historian Axel Schildt has described the Sixties as the “golden era” of youth travel in West Germany, an era when the number of young West Germans of all genders engaging in travel skyrocketed. This was coupled with their advanced knowledge of foreign languages and their growing willingness to meet and mingle with other people.[1] Young men and women from Greece, especially university students, seem to have started travelling together from the early 1970s. In the Sixties broadly understood the rules and regulations appeared to become looser. The boy and the girl could be a couple as we could see in the third picture. It was the late 1960s and the young couples had already the right to express their feelings in public.

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03. It was the late 1960s and the young couples had already the right to express their feelings in public.

One more sign of what we nowadays perceive as “looseness” can be seen in the fourth picture. Passengers are spotted on the open deck around what looks like being the navigation bridge of the vessel. During the last few years entering the navigation bridge is not permitted to unauthorized personnel. In this last picture, two young passengers are hanging from the ship-rails of the deck. It seems that their action is improper for three older passengers staring from the deck above.

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04. Two young passengers are hanging from the ship-rails.

Since when placing yourself in certain ways on the public space became a statement? What do the youngsters want to say? Does their gender, social class, place of origin matter in how they behave and how? Why have these certain scenes from their journey been chosen to be pictured, taking into account that in similar photographs only what the photographer and the photographed construed as really precious moments were being captured? Hard to find a concrete answer as it is also hard to find out how those memories on black and white paper ended up in a basket of a second hand book store. However, the more difficult it is to reach a conclusion, the better it is to exchange ideas! Please share with us your thoughts, memories and any relevant material you would not like to keep private!

PS: Don’t miss our next post. Lighthouse: a spot to remember. Poses on the decks. Is the identity of the mysterious ferry going to be revealed?


[1] Axel Schildt, “Across the Border: West German Youth Travel to Western Europe”, in Schildt, Axel, Siegfried, Detlef, Between Marx and Coca-Cola. Youth Cultures in Changing European Societies, 1960-1980. New York, Oxford, 2006, p. 151.

Jean-Claude Izzo

Within a few paragraphs Jean-Claude Izzo (1945-2000) not only analyzes his main character’s connection to the sea by being by the sea but, more importantly, he defines how his generation perceived the maritime travel. The maritime journey even in its shortest and most approachable form – by a wooden boat near the coast – constitutes for the writer a way out. The sea is assigned various uses and representations. It is a provider, a place to calm, settings that help you think while traveling by a ship – or even listening to relevant stories, a gangway.

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Marseilles c. 1960 – L’ entree du Vieux Port et la Bassin de Joilette. Au premier plan le Monument aux Heros de la Mer. Editions “La Cigogne”. We have made every possible effort to find the copyright holder, but this has not been possible. If you can provide us with relevant information please do not hesitate to contact us. 

There’s nothing more pleasant, when you have nothing to do, than to have a snack in the morning and sit looking at the sea.

As a snack, Fonfon had made an anchovy purée, which he’d just taken out of the oven. I’d come back from fishing and was feeling happy. I’d caught a fine bass, four bream and a dozen mullet. The anchovy purée added to my happiness. I’ve been happy with simple things.

I opened a bottle of Saint-Cannat rosé. The quality of Provençal rosés was getting better every year. We drank, to our appetite. The wine, from the Commanderie de la Bargemone, was delicious. Beneath your tongue you could feel the warm sun on the low slopes of the Trevarese. Fonfon winked at me, and we started dipping slices of bread in the anchovy purée, seasoned with pepper and chopped garlic. My stomach was aroused at the first mouthful.
“God, that’s good!”
“You said it.”

I was all you could say. One more word would have been one word too many. We ate without talking. Gazing out over the surface of the sea. A beautiful autumn sea, dark blue, almost velvety. I never tired of it. I was constantly surprised by the attraction it had over me, the way it called me. I’d never been a sailor or a traveler. I’d had dreams, adolescent dreams, of sailing out there, beyond the horizon. But I’d never gone very far. Except once. To the Red Sea. A long time ago.

I was nearly forty-five, and like many people in Marseilles I liked stories of travel more than travel itself. I couldn’t see myself taking a plane to Mexico City, Saigon, or Buenos Aires. I belonged to a generation to which travel meant something very particular. Liners, freighters. Navigation. The rhythm of the sea. Ports. A gangway thrown on the quay, the intoxication of new smells, unknown faces.

I was content to take my boat, the Tremolino, with its pointed stern, out beyond Ile Maire and the Riou archipelago, and fish for a few hours, wrapped in the silence of the sea. I didn’t have anything else to do. Go fishing, when the mood took me. Or play belotebetween three and four. Or a game of pétanque with aperitifs as the stake.


Jean-Claude Izzo, Chourmo, New York: Europa Editions, 2006, trans. by Howard Curtis, pp. 23-24

 

From war torn land to tourist playground: Spain since the Sixties

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Barcelona c. 1970 POSTALES KOLORHAM BARCELONA We have made every possible effort to find the copyright holder, but this has not been bossible. If you can provide us with relevant information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

It was 1973, when the misogynistic sex comedy Manolo la nuit was screened in Spain, having been directed by a pro-dictatorship filmmaker. Foreign women appeared to be enjoying the sun at a Spanish coast. What they did not appreciate was the flirt from young men who were not natives. Suddenly, however, a local macho guy entered triumphantly the scene; his presence was a tonic that enthused those foreign tourists.[1] Around 35 years after the Francoist troops had stormed the area, tourists were rendering it their playground. The more moderate members of the Nationalist regime in Spain actively sought to attract them, in order to challenge the image of the country as an inwards-looking, ascetic one and to help integrate it into consumer capitalism. A “peaceful invasion”[2] had actually been evident coastal Spain since the 1960s, when hundreds of thousands of tourists from Northern Europe, soon to become millions, craved for a vacation there. Commercial travel agencies, such as Neckermann from West Germany, offered cheap charter holidays in Spain.[3] The youth figured prominently in the desirable clientele of such agencies: the 1971 brochure of the TUI branch that addressed youngsters, Twen Tours, featured colorful images of teenagers having fun at resorts, such as Benidorm and Torremolinos. Quite a few of those visitors from Britain and Germany, young and more elderly, seem to have fallen in love with the place, becoming lifestyle migrants: they have purchased a house there and, especially from the moment they become pensioners, they split their time between Spain and their country of origin.

In this context, the Spanish shipping company Trasmediterranea ordered in the mid-1960s the construction of four ferry boats to Spanish shipyards. Actually, the ferry boats in general appeared in the mid-1960s. Europeans began to afford paid vacations and they can also travel with their own car. Ferry boats quickly became the dominant type passenger ship replacing, in the vast majority of routes, the ‘pure’ passenger ships. From Dover – Calais to Patras – Brindisi routes the ferry boats took over. The transition was fast, probably following the pace of the rise of the living standards and the consuming trends but it didn’t happen overnight. The two different types of passenger vessels co-existed for a couple of years as someone can notice in this magnificent postcard.

Spain did not remain unaffected by the advent of the ferry boat. The first two sister ships, JUAN MARCH and LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA , were built by Union Naval de Levante S.A. (Valencia), while the following two sister ships, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE and CIUDAD DE COMPOSTELA were built by Sociedad Espanola de Construccion Naval (Bilbao). The four sister ships were facilitating the Balearic and Canaria routes and they remained under the ownership of Trasmediterranea until the mid 1980s. Being built during the period of transition , their garages proved to be small after a while; they could carry ‘only’ 100 cars and no freighters. The four sister ships had to be replaced.

Some of the ships owned by Trasmediterranea appear in the postcard, as manifest by their white livery and the yellow-red funnel. The identity of the smaller passenger vessel remains a mystery to us. We couldn’t find out, although we have tried hard! Can you?

Hint for ship enthusiasts: SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE was scrapped in 1987 after a fire in the engine room. Her career as SOL OlYMPIA II proved to be extremely short. CIUDAD DE COMPOSTELA caught fire and sank in 1994. She was operating between Greece and Italy under the name SARAY STAR. LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA was rebuilt as cruise ship. She sailed until 2005, when she capsized under the weight of water pumped in order to extinguish a fire on board. The accident took place in Taiwan. Her last name was ROYAL PACIFIC. JUAN MARCH was also rebuilt as cruise ship. In the age of 50, she still sails the sea. Her current name is OCEAN MAJESTY.

Salty Deck Question: Have you visited the Spanish coast as a youngster? Did you travel around by ship? Don’t hesitate to share your memories and any relevant material, such as photos, by responding to this post or by submitting a story.



[1]
Justin Crumbaugh, Destination Dictatorship. The Spectacle of Spain’s Tourist Boom and the Reinvention of Difference, New York 2009.

[2] Sasha Pack, Tourism and dictatorship: Europe’s peaceful invasion of Franco’s Spain, New York 2006.

[3] Christopher M. Kopper, ‘The Breakthrough of the Package Tour in Germany after 1945’, Journal of Tourism History, vol. 1, issue, 1, pp. 67-92.

 

M/V KOLOKOTRONIS – A war reparation vessel

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Advertising Pamphlet of the KOLOKOTRONIS (c. winter 1952-53). Credits: Bjorn Larsson Collection. Uploaded in timetable images. See also the introduction page, please.

It was around the late 1950s, when numerous youngsters in Europe danced wildly to rock ’n’ roll and fell in love with blue jeans. At that point, cliques of young people from Northern Europe also started travelling to Mediterranean coasts informally: parents were not usually welcome in such excursions. Those youngsters would not rush to Thomas Cook to buy a ticket: they preferred hitchhiking and, from 1972 on, Interrail. Travelling by ship was also a hobby horse of theirs: it was not atypical for them to travel from Italian to Greek ports. Simultaneously, people from Southern Europe increasingly migrated to the North. Numerous Greeks moved to Belgium and West Germany to get a job in the booming industry there. The two most common itineraries they followed were either by train from Greece to West Germany or by ship to Italy and then further to the North. While crossing the Adriatic Sea, migrants from the South and young tourists from the North met in ports and ships, such as in KOLOKOTRONIS.

By the end of the WWII the vast majority of Greece’s coastal fleet had been lost. Part of the war reparations to Greece, 4 + 2 Cargo/Passenger vessels were built in Italian shipyards during the early 1950s for Greek interests. The four sister ships were named after revolutionists of the Greek War of Independence and played a crucial role in the coastal shipping for more than three decades. They served numerous routes in the Aegean and Adriatic Sea. While the MIAOULIS, the KANARIS and the KARAISKAKIS were delivered to “Petros M. Nomikos Ltd” at Piraeus, the KOLOKOTRONIS was delivered to “The New Epirotiki Steamship Navigation – Petros Potamianos” at Piraeus. She was the only of the four sister ships in a dark livery while up to 1971 when she was sold two names were written at her bow: GEORGIOS POTAMIANOS and KOLOKOTRONIS. She sailed the Adriatic, the Aegean Sea while in 1967 she approached the ports of Limassol and Haifa. During her second period of her life the Italian built vessel sailed under the name ACHILEUS until 1984 when she was scrapped in Eleusis area. A few months later, her sister ship KANARIS was scrapped. Four years after MIAOULIS followed the fate of her sisters and she was scrapped in Pakistan. KARAISKAKIS enjoyed a long career. Converted to a cruise ship in 1971 she changed many ship owners and names until she was finally scrapped in early 2000s in India. The name of the four sister ships is still recalled in the islands of the Aegean, bringing up memories from the maritime journey of the first post-war decades.

Hint for ship enthusiasts: Seven minutes of 1959 footage from the exterior and interior of the long lived sister ship KARAISKAKIS, scenes from the movie “Gamílio Taxídi” can be found here thanks to the efforts of the You Tube user cptdx.

Salty Deck Question: Have you ever sailed on one of the Italian sister ships? Don’t hesitate to share your memories by responding to this post or by submitting a story.

 

 

Split c. 1970

Split c.1970 – turistkomerc, Zagreb.

It was around the early 1970s, when Yugoslav marketing experts depicted the southern Adriatic coast of Montenegro as the “Yugoslav Florida”.[1] This was part and parcel with the growing number of Western and Eastern European that Yugoslavia attracted and who mainly opted for the coasts of Croatia and Montenegro. Yugoslavia was indeed a particular Eastern European country: it broke ties with the USSR in 1948. Soon afterwards, it began to experiment with elements of both socialism and capitalism, becoming the most economically liberal and open to the West country in Eastern Europe. Tourism in Yugoslavia was no exception to this tendency: a tourist industry appeared which put emphasis on “sun, sea, youth, modernity, and good times”.[2] Similarly, Youth Labor Action (ORA) camps, which the regime introduced to regulate the vacation time of youngsters, shifted their focus from tough work to fun-centered activities from the 1960s on.[3] Against this background, ports at the Adriatic coast became growingly busy, bursting with pleasure-seeking local and foreign tourists, several of which were young.

During the first post WWII decades a notable number of passenger vessels were built in Yogoslav shipyards (e.g. Rijeka, Pula) in order to facilitate internal routes. It is rather hard to identify the vessel depicted in this post card, published by “turistkomerc – Zagreb”, however we are pretty sure that she belongs to the Vladimir Nazor class. The VLADIMIR NAZOR and her five sister ships were built by Uljanik shipyard (Pula) between 1952 and 1953 for the newly launched state owned company Jadrolinija (est. 1947). The majority of these sister ships, aka “the six poets”,[4] operated in the broader Adriatic for more than twenty five years on average.

Hint for ship enthusiasts: The VLADIMIR NAZOR still operates as a luxury yacht. Her current name is SEAGULL II. Refurbished between 2004-05 she is the only of her sister ships remaining.

Salty Deck Question: Have you ever sailed on a Jardolinjia ferry? Don’t hesitate to share your memories by responding to this post or by submitting a story.


[1] Karin Taylor, Hannes Grandits, “Tourism and the Making of Socialist Yugoslavia. An Introduction”, in Hannes Grandits, Karin Taylor (eds.), Yugoslavia’s Sunny Side. A History of Tourism in Socialism (1950s-1980s), Budapest, 2010, p. 11.

[2] Rory Yeomans, “From Comrades to Consumers: Holidays, Leisure Time, and Ideology in Communist Yugoslavia”, in Ibid

[3] Dragan Popovic, “Youth Labor Action (Omladinska radna akcija, ORA) as Ideological Holiday-Making”, in Ibid.

[4] Not only the VLADIMIR NAZOR but also the other sister ships were named after poets (NJEGOS, ALEKSAA SANTIC, IVAN CANKAR, VUK KARADZIC and KOSTA RACIN).

“Back Packs, Slow Ferries and Vivid Memories – Maritime Youth Travel in the Mediterranean since the 1960s”

“I am not used to sitting around while awaiting the ships at night. It was long ago when I had to rush late at night, carrying my tent and my sleeping bag, to catch the DALIANA, which was about to leave for Serifos island in the Aegean. My head had been leaning on my rucksack and I can’t even remember falling asleep. It was a magical coincidence that I opened my eyes as the last cars were embarking. While I still felt that distinct sweetness of sleep, I realised that this image did not emanate from an unexplored constellation in my subconscious, but that the DALIANA was indeed ‘ready to depart’. I ran really fast, which the sleepless observers on the deck must have found hilarious. I was around 20 years old at that point and, due to intense vacation activities, the tiredness didn’t really overwhelming for me. When you are 20, you don’t visit the Cycladic Islands to get some rest.”[1]

The young narrator was certainly not a weirdo for travelling on ships. While hitch-hiking and, from the early 70s to at least the 1980s, Interrail dominated the travel fantasies and experience of youngsters from Western Europe, Western European youth has also appreciated travelling by ship. While scholars have in general neglected the study of young tourists from Western European countries in the second half of the 20th century, they have particularly neglected to address its maritime component.[2] Given this lacuna, we wish to help stir an exchange of views from multiple perspectives on maritime youth travel in the Mediterranean since the 1960s. Due to the scarcity of relevant research, we aim to trigger such a discussion by elaborating on a number of hypotheses and speculations. From the 1960s, youngsters from Europe increasingly engaged in travel, which they generally arranged themselves. Young Britons and West Germans, for instance, began visiting places like Majorca, Crete and the Cyclades, destinations that they normally reached by travelling by ship from the nearest point on the mainland. Travelling by ship was also an integral part of some organised youth trips: the ones from West Germany to Israel, which gained momentum from the 1960s onwards, especially after the Six-Day War in 1967, are a case in point. One way or another, maritime youth travel in the Mediterranean apparently flourished at least until the 1990s, when low-cost air travel to and within regions around the Mediterranean began to gain momentum, also among youngsters, at the expense of travelling by ship.

Many ships on the horizon

It is useful at this point to try to define a number of concepts that feature prominently in our endeavours, beginning with the ships and their use by passengers: the average passenger definitively had very limited opportunities to sail on freighters.[3] Nevertheless, even what we broadly perceive as “passenger vessels” is still not a single category; there are noteworthy differences between ferry boats and coastal passenger ships, cruise ships and the ocean liners of times past. The vast majority of ferry boats and coastal passenger ships serve certain routes within certain – national or international – waters; therefore, such a ship is actually a link between two or more points (for example, Dover–Calais or Ancona–Corfu–Igoumenitsa–Patras). The passengers (tourists, locals, or even commuters on shorter routes) board the ships in order to reach their destination and, later on, reuse the same ship or a ship facilitating the same route in order to travel back to their port of embarkation. Cruise ships engage in a different travel concept. The routes are also predefined and usually cyclic; however, the port of embarkation and disembarkation is not always the same and, contrary to the ferries, the passengers have the opportunity to visit in-between ports. Last but not least, we need to mention an older type of passenger vessel: the ocean liner. Similar to the ferries and the coastal passenger ships, ocean liners served certain routes on a larger scale (such as, Rotterdam–La Havre–Southampton–New York). They also facilitated migration flows, meaning it was rather unusual for the passenger to re-embark on the same ship in order to sail back to the port of embarkation: the journey was pretty much one way. Although the above-mentioned types of ship had different uses, not all “passenger ships” cater for the same needs.

In addition, maritime youth travel did not gravitate around ships that addressed and attracted young customers only. It was not atypical for young tourists travelling by ship to bump into other types of people on the move. “I went there on the Kolokotronis (…), the ship that transported all migrants to Germany (…) There were also a few tourists there, playing the guitar,” recalls one Greek migrant who left for the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s.

Forever in blue jeans

When we refer to youth, we are interested in what various scholars have described as a phenomenon that emerged in the 20th century, namely “youth culture”. According to the historians Axel Schildt and Detlef Siegfried, this has “primarily [been] defined by the young age of its proponents and by their particular tastes in music, fashion, hairstyles, political practices etc.”[4] Several young people in West Germany, for example, in the 1960s indulged in listening and dancing to rock ‘n’ roll as well as reading specific magazines, such as Bravo. In this sense, it has mainly been a cultural rather than biological phenomenon: it is not just somebody’s age, but, mainly, her/his lifestyle that makes her/him partake in “youth culture”. In this vein, it is difficult to define the concrete age limits of those whose lifestyle revolves around “youth culture”: some relatively older people, aged around 40, may be keen on indulging in “youth pursuits”. What is important, in our view, is to research the practices that make someone feel “young” as well as the symbols s/he uses in this respect.

Bloggers with a cause

Since we believe that maritime youth travel in the Mediterranean since the 1960s has played an important role in the shaping of youth cultures, we have established this blog to facilitate the exchange of views among travellers, researchers, artists, businessmen, sailors and travel agents (commercial and not-for-profit) and, in general, anybody interested in maritime youth travel in the Mediterranean, regardless of her/his perspective. We are interested in two broad categories of topic:

  • The experience of maritime youth travel in the Mediterranean since the 1960s. What kind of maritime travel patterns do young people from northern and southern Europe as well as North America engage in? Apart from the informally arranged and the organised excursions that we mentioned above, has such travel figured prominently in the excursions of the final-year senior high school students in Europe, which, at least in Greece, are famous – or notorious – as an opportunity for teenagers to break free from the close supervision of their parents. If this is the case, have these trips served as yet another rite of passage to autonomy from them? And for what types of ships/boats have youngsters travelling in the Mediterranean opted for? Just large ships? What about their relationship to sailing, with or without a skipper? Moreover, what ramifications has youth travel, including its maritime component, had for youngsters of differing social class, gender and ethnicity from the 1960s onwards? For instance, upper-middle class youngsters from Greece who were inspired by the hippie counterculture in the early 1970s saw in free camping as well as travel on the deck of a ship to the Cyclades and Crete as a means of gaining autonomy from their parents. They consciously chose the cheapest travel and accommodation patterns, which they juxtaposed with the affluence of their family. Have, however, youngsters from different social backgrounds also appreciated such maritime travel patterns and, if so, how have they construed this? In addressing the maritime youth travel experience, we especially wish to address practices and relations that emerged or were reinforced during such journeys, such as flirting. Similarly, we welcome submissions that address the emotions that travelling by ship generated in youngsters from Western Europe. As has been the case, the ships that young travellers choose are not always the most technologically advanced. Has that stirred excitement, fear or both and is that an ingredient of a desirably adventurous trip? Finally, what has maritime youth travel meant for all senses of the young tourist? For instance, if they construe the decision to travel on the deck as a rite of passage to autonomy from parents, do they link this with particular sensorial experiences, such as the sound of the waves, the taste of salt as well as lying on the deck and looking up at the sky, experiences that travelling in a ship cabin could not provide?
  • Representations of maritime youth travel in the Mediterranean since the 1960s. A memorable experience for many youngsters from Western Europe, the maritime youth travel experience has been captured and represented in photographs that those travellers took of themselves – even well before the emergence of the digital selfie, but also in diaries they kept and letters they sent. This type of travel did not fail to attract the interest of the tourist industry. In the 1970s and 1980s, for instance, West German travel agencies aimed at young customers often included photos of young tourists relaxing while travelling by ship to Majorca. Thus, in discussing representations of maritime youth travel in the Mediterranean, we would be particularly interested in dealing with the following issues: How has it been presented in literature, film and music? How has it been captured in documents of the members of ship crews, such as their diaries? And how has it been recorded by the young travellers themselves in photographs, videos, diaries, letters, or even other memorabilia, such as tickets with notes written on them? For instance, it was common for shipping to print postcards depicting the ships of their fleet which they sold or gave away for free in the ship’s shops (which were mostly duty frees). Moreover – mainly in the cruise ships but also in the ferries – there is an amount of ship-related products available in the ship’s shop, such as cups, mugs, t-shirts, pins, ashtrays or even miniatures of the particular vessel. These items tend to sell well, proving popular not only with shipping enthusiasts but also the regular passengers.

Are you ready to embark?

Despite the fact that from the 2000s on the low cost airlines tend to attract more and more customers, the maritime journey in a variety of forms remains dominant in the Mediterranean. From the Strait of Gibraltar to the Islands of the Aegean, a diverse, multi-size and colorful fleet transfers goods, locals and visitors in numerous ports.

In many ways traveling by passenger ships remains a unique experience. Many of us, allow us to include ourselves, have lived the maritime journey with all our senses. We have had the opportunity to meet new people and sing along with the amateur musicians traveling to smaller islands. We took naps on uncomfortable “Pullman Seats” or even within our sleeping bags inside the lifeboats. We have felt sea sick when the weather was rough and we have spent time at the ports waiting for the usually delayed ferries. Due to the adventurous nature of the maritime journey we have disembarked on purpose at a wrong port.

Therefore we would do our best to maintain the core characteristics of the maritime journey in this blog. We want to keep it as open as the groups of friends formed in the public areas of the ferries, as fresh as the winds that blow during the summer in the Aegean, as adventurous as the “next ship to anywhere” choice we usually made in front of a travel agent’s desk. Don’t hesitate to share your stories with all of us. The maritime journey occupies a part of our hearts and definitely deserves to be shared.

Please unpack your stories from your back packs, re-embark on the slow ferries and spread your vivid memories with the rest of the world. Here, all of us, from the curious explorers of the 1960s to the wild partiers of the 2000s, have the opportunity to sail together in our virtual but still real salty decks.


[1] D. Notarakis, “Ο/Γ ΤΑΛΩΣ: Το «Ασανσέρ» του Αρχιπελάγους” (ro/ro TALOS: The “lift” of the archipelago). EFOPLISTIS, September 2014, 60-73.

[2] See, for instance: A. Schildt, ‘Across the border: West German Youth Travel to Western Europe’, in A. Schildt, D. Siegfried (eds.), Between Marx and Coca Cola: Youth Cultures in Changing European Societies, 1960–1980 (New York, Oxford 2006), 149-160; R.I. Jobs, ‘Youth Movements: Travel, Protest, and Europe in 1968’, The American Historical Review, 114, 2 (2009), 379.

[3] Against the main touristic stream freighter “cruises” have been introduced. Certain freighters have had extra cabins offered to a limited number of passengers. For more check here: http://www.freightervoyages.eu/   (last accessed: 3 October 2015)

[4] Axel Schildt, Detlef Siegfried, ‘Introduction. Youth, Consumption, and Politics in the Age of Radical Change’, in: Axel Schildt and Detlef Siegfried (eds.), Between Marx and Coca-Cola: Youth Cultures in Changing European Societies, 1960–1980, New York and Oxford, 2007, p. 5