from Colin Rees
The ten-day trip to Rome was organised by Mr C.E.L. Morris (Charlie, Latin master), Mr Myrddin Morgan (Wuffles, Maths/Physics master) and Mr J. B. Davies (Curly, History/French master). The trip departed at 6:15 am on Monday, April 11th, 1960 from the Low Level station yard in Duke Street. Transport was by bus to Cardiff, train to Paddington, with a bus tour of London to fill a gap in the timetable. Then train from Victoria to Folkestone; a train that was completely full of school pupils who like us were going on trips abroad! A ferry across the Channel, then a train via Lille to Basel, where after a change early on Tuesday morning, we boarded another train to Milan, and finally another to Italy. We arrived at the railway station in Rome after our 42-hour trip just before midnight on the Tuesday. After two days of travel during which there was very little sleeping, I remember some of us fell asleep on our suitcases while we waited for the coach to go to from the station to the hotel.
On the following days, we saw the fountains of Rome, the Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, St Peters and the Pope being carried in his papal chair inside the cathedral. Later we saw the new Olympic stadium and other sights of Rome. Then, it was on the Friday that we went to Tivoli to see Hadrian’s Villa, where Charlie is seen in the photo talking to Lynn Thomas whilst pointing to an important feature of the building.
A highly cultural event finished off the first week when we were taken to see La Bohème at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome. Our seats were about as high up as you could get, and the singers were barely visible!
We left Rome on the Sunday, and took the train to Naples. Our hotel there was in a rather dodgy quarter of the city and our orders were not to leave the hotel unless we were in the official school group. The following day we took a boat across a very rough patch of water to Capri where it was rather wet. It was there that Charlie persuaded Gracie Fields to come out of her villa to say hello to us.
On the Tuesday we went to Pompeii, (infamous wall murals were out of bounds to us!), then on via the high twisting coast road to Amalfi and Sorrento.
At 3 a.m. on the Wednesday, we were turfed from our beds by Curly. We started our return journey from Naples, and by 8:30 the same morning, we were on the train from Rome. By 10:20 p.m. on the Thursday we were back at the station yard in Aberdare after a very memorable trip.
Although I can remember quite a few details of the outward trip, I
cannot recall anything of our trip home!