60 Years Ago Today

 

Wednesday, 30 July 1952:

As I rolled over in my bed in the honeymoon suite it felt so good that I couldn’t get out of my bed. After we arrived here last night most of us went dancing and Innsbruck lost.

I finally got up around 10 a.m. to a huge continental breakfast. There were four different kinds of jam we could choose from. We had sent out for more rolls and the waitress brought us warm toast to tide us over. We had two big pitchers of chocolate and hard-boiled eggs. All of this food was only 2.75 schillings which was about 10 cents for us. They didn’t rush us or scowl at us or anything. Alicia asked for ein glass wasser and they brought all of us water in wine goblets.

The hotel had a beautiful lobby and some sitting rooms. The window boxes along the outside looked like opera boxes which were filled with beautiful begonias and other flowers. Lawn furniture was provided for enjoying the sunshine.

At 11 a.m. part of the gang headed for town. I decided to throw off my procrastinating and get letters off to all three of my aunts. I spent the better part of the rest of the day seeping in the beauty of my surroundings which included the mountains, hotel and town.

Later I airmailed the letters home for 6.20 schillings and regular mail to Sweden for 2.40 schillings. Then I walked down thru Ingls, Austria, about 5 p.m. going in and out of several little shops. There were lots of pretty jewelry and trinkets. I contemplated taking a bus down to Innsbruck, but I reconsidered when it started raining.

I hurried back to the hotel and found a little writing room where Carmela and I discussed our experiences so far. After the rain subsided I went out and back to my room. I ran into Dr. Watkins who had been sightseeing today and here I was under the delusion there was nothing particular to see.

Dinner at the hotel was over at 6 p.m., so we caught the 6:30 bus downtown and to the operetta. I enjoyed the bus ride even though you did have to hang on for all you were worth. It was a beautiful view of the valley, Innsbruck, and mountains. I noticed a little wooden teepee by the roadside and cute little garden like a patchwork quilt. Oh, what a beautiful shot!

On the bus there were two men with red jackets on that looked like native costumes and had musical instruments. Dr. Watkins pointed out the palace, museum, and church where Emperor Maximilian was buried.

After getting off the bus, we stopped at the Museumkeller Restaurant where the kids had eaten earlier. It had loads of atmosphere as I ate wienerschnitzel, soup, and vegetables for 40 cents. For 50 cents more at another place I could have had the same meal with a cleaner table cover.

Here in Austria the restaurants didn’t charge for the table cover like in France. Each roll or piece of bread costs 45 Groschen, which was about 2 cents, or 8 francs in Strasbourg, which was about 4 cents.

When we had finished we dashed over to the Landes Theatre. The theatre was not real elaborate but interesting. I bought a ticket for 80 cents or 20 schillings. In the city the streets were fairly wide and I noticed shops didn’t pull iron blinds down on the windows here. So I could actually go window shopping. They had cute little round waste baskets that hung from the light posts like in Strasbourg. However, the baskets were not white.

When we finally scurried off to the theater for the operetta, a lady in a uniform rented to us opera glasses for 2 schillings and program for 20 schillings to us.

I found myself on the 7th row with a big aisle in front of us so we didn’t get stepped on. The circular auditorium had boxes five stories high directly above each other. At this operetta there was no dressing up. Everyone just came dressed as they were, I do believe. Local advertising flashed on the curtain while the orchestra played the introduction.

The Strauss operetta, Gypsy Baron, had three acts and three changes of scenery. Strangely when people clapped after one of the leads sang, the lead would sing another number. The crowd encored one Gypsy and Baron duet so they bowed and sang another song. Then there was another encore with a general and dancers. All of this was a new wrinkle to me.

There were such incredible costumes, but at the same time most of the male singers had a little too much tummy. Eloise and I slept on each others shoulders between the second and third acts. Alice poked at us to look up and there were people looking down at us with either curiosity or disgust.

When the operetta was over, we dashed down to the street car stop. At a little street side stand I grabbed two frankfurters and a piece of bread with mustard for 4.50 schillings. I just couldn’t resist. Herr Watkins got a Salzbourg for 3.80 schillings.

Eventually we realized Hermine and Cherie were not there. The doctors went looking to find them. Dr. Rogers went down to the bus stop. Soon after they casually strolled up just before the trolley arrived. We had a brisk walk from the trolley to the hotel up the winding road. “Mein bed where art thou?”

As I changed for bed I contemplated how the Austrian people seem to be a cross between the Italians and Germans. They seemed on first impression to be more openly curious and carefree than the Germans, but not as open or direct as the Italians.

 

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