Rick's World of Hashish, Part 3: 1972: Hitting The Road To Europe and Beyond

February 7, 2017

From the very beginning this trip had no set plan other than to get on a plane to somewhere in Europe and start finding my way to what I was searching for. It became quite evident from the start that it would be a good idea not to get too attached to any strict itinerary, when the non stop one way flight from L.A. to London couldn't land there and was diverted to Ayr, Scotland due to heavy fog.  So the adventure begins on a late December day in a small Scottish town waiting for the fog to lift way down south in London.  Well, it never lifted so that night we were bussed into Glasgow for a night train to London right out of an old British spy film, all in black and white.

 

So I've set the scene but we are here to get on the hashish trail and Amsterdam was a simple destination once I arrived in London and already in 1972, the hash capitol of Europe.  There were clubs there where once inside hash could be smoked freely but I just wanted to find some and smoke it back at my hotel.  I went to the front of the venue and there were vendors there with some Moroccan available so I got some and also met a Spanish guy who was happy to sit around and talk while we got started smoking on a park bench across the street from Club Paradiso.  Fernando filled me in on the drug scene in Spain and made it clear how dangerous it was to be caught with even the smallest amount of cannabis in Generalisimo Franco's Spain.  

 

I had thought of heading down there to get to Morocco but he made it sound like Morocco was too easy to get to and was being ruined by too many Americans and Europeans so the possibility of a true experience there was a thing of the past.  This was good advice and by the time we parted I was reassessing any idea I might  have had of going down there.  I did have an option to live on a farm in Norway so I headed north in the heart of winter to get the feel of Europe and ponder another route.

 

By April the snow was gone and my direction was set to head south for the Balkans, into Turkey and all points beyond for as long as my money would hold out.  I found some good Afghani in Munich but by my american idea of quantities had to buy way more than I could smoke in the couple of days I was there, so when I left to cross into Austria and Yugoslavia I smoked a little and took a bit to eat later and gave the rest away to someone at the hostel.  Right before crossing into Austria I ate what I had brought along and ended up after a crazy day, sleeping under a picnic table in a blizzard on top of a pass in the Austrian Alps.  I awoke the next morning in deep snow but bright sunshine and after being there nearly 24 hours got a ride from a couple of Turkish hash smugglers headed back to Turkey for another load.  They offered to take me all the way to Istanbul with them but even for my tastes they seemed a bit sketchy so I got out in Klagenfurt just to play it safe.  I would get to Turkey soon enough but unbeknownst to me I was headed for a month long drug free adventure out on the Greek Islands.

 

Once in Turkey, the road East was paved in hashish.  Things can't be done right out in the open, some discretion is required but hashish was very available.  It came in thin wafers sealed in cellophane and you could buy as little as a few grams at a time for such a low price that it wasn't really an issue.  The small quantities were good as it was best not to have too much in one's possession just in case you drew the attention of the authorities.  No matter where I was in Turkey I  never had any trouble getting hash.  

 

One time I was traveling in the back of a big truck with a group of 9 other young people from all over the world when the truck broke down.  We were camped for about a week outside a mechanics shop when one day the owner called me up to his office and without any English motioned me to sit at his desk where there was a nice wafer of hash and a pipe and matches.  He motioned for me to help myself and left the room.  By the time he returned, I was feeling pretty good and he suggested that I get in his car with his young son and we drove up into the mountains to an open air restaurant to drink tea and eat pudding.  Just father, son and myself sitting in the shade, a cool summer breeze in the mountains of Turkey.

 

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