60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 20 June 1952:

Around 6:15 a.m. or thereabouts we put our swimming suits on first and then our clothes. I went down the street for breakfast and had two little bananas and one orange for 66 francs. The French children were just going to school.

Then we were back on the road again. We came to Arles, an ancient Roman city in France, which had an arena that seats 26,000. After that we saw an obelisk, a Cathedral of St. Trophine, a cloisters, and an Alaede Tombs (once Roman cemetery). Honoring at church was one of the principal activities in the town.

The next town we came to turned out to be Arles. Andre had got off on the wrong road and we had to go back to Nimes. We found a blind priest with a dog along the way. Andre decided to keep the latecomers roll in order to get the kids back to the bus on time.

While on the bus I was learning to count in Italian. This part of the country looks about like Cedar City to me. We went back past the Maison Temple, white house hotel, and plaza. It ‘s 10:30 a.m. and we’re off again. Well this country looks a little richer. We came to the Le Petit Rhone tributary. We had to get out and walk across the bridge because it could only hold eight tons and we weighed twelve tons. The bus was eight tons, and we were four tons. That’s a lot of weight!
Then we crossed the big Rhone again in Arles. There was a former ancient palace, Museon Arlaten,which was established as a museum in 1876. Afterwards we saw a statue of St. Christopher, an old carriage, and a statue of Neptune that was made in the 17th century for Louis XIV. I noticed oleander was growing out of the rocks. The Venus de Arles sculpture in the Louvre probably came from these ruins.

We were given 10 minutes and it was 30 minutes before we left. How can we keep a late roll when almost everybody is late? Herr Watkins and Henry were the last ones to come back. On the road again there was a field covered with piles of rocks like it was trying to reclaim the land. I slept through Salon Aix en Provence which is a region with beautiful statues and fountains. Then the landscape changed to mountainous roads. It looked a lot like Utah.

We stopped at a Shield service station for a little exercise. We were grateful for a nice rest room. Now we were seeing red soil as we discovered a grey streamlined train and our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea.

Frejus, a seaside region with a medieval city as well, was a popular seaside resort. There were ruins of an old Roman aqueduct, barbed wire entanglements around some kind of military base, white buildings with orange trim, chocolate guards at the gate, cement mixers, and winding mountainous roads going into Cannes. The kids started putting on their bathing suits in the back of the bus.

Finally the beach. What a sight! There were boats and people with a beautiful white hotel along the waterfront. We walked along the beach front admiring the suntans of the bathers. The beach was lined with umbrellas and lounging chairs. The water was buoyant and we rode the waves and walked down along the beach to a pier. Carol and I laid down on the pier in the sun. The mob had gone back to the bus, so we followed them. I had my picture taken with Andre. We piled back into the bus with wet bathing suits and all.

It’s about 7 p.m. now. On the road out, Andre tried to get through an underpass that we didn’t quite fit in. It ended up scraping the baggage on the top of the bus. So Andre had everyone pile to the front so he could back up the bus without fouling things up any worse.

We took the Oleander lined road going out of Cannes toward Nice. It seemed to have the bluest water in the world. It was a city of comparisons with the old and new. There were beautiful new Spanish style homes with palm trees. Nice seemed like a continuation of Cannes with beautiful waterfront hotels.

Our Hotel Cecil was farther downtown, but it was not bad looking. There were bathrooms in every room which was almost too good to be true. Elders Waite and Valentine had met us at the hotel.
Back in the room I jumped in the tub and then had a delicious dinner for 360 francs at the restaurant down the street. I had potage jambon (ham), beans and fruit. I tried to write a letter to Bud, but fell asleep in the middle of it.

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