And so to America. One day, in a boat, kind of ran into another. We couldn’t seem to find too much in common with the characters on the boat. Perhaps it was our fault, not theirs. But they seemed to spend the majority of their time smoking, drinking and playing cards. I did have a few interesting conversations and enjoyed the lectures I attended and symphony music in the nursery and the plays and the picture shows. About the fourth day out, the vibrations or jiggles as we called it found some reason for stopping. It was a most welcome relief. The galloping I could put up with but the jiggles interfered with everything and were fast ruining my last vestiges of sight. We had a Dutch waiter who talked and looked like he is from Brooklyn.
Finally after almost ten days the boat docked on solid ground. It felt so good to be back in the good old US. What an amazing trip! I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to see so many things.
Impressions of Scandinavian Countries Given in Final Report on European Tour
The following are Mrs. George H. Hansen’s impressions of Denmark and Sweden, the last countries on their tour of Europe. Mrs. Hansen and other members of the party arrived home Monday morning. This is the 20th and final installment of Mrs. Hansen’s interesting and highly descriptive reports from abroad.
“Three kingdoms are welded together in unity and cooperation to form the charm of Scandinavia,” so said our guide book. But I heard a Dane say, “Oh those stupid Swedes.” And I heard a Swede say, “Oh, those stubborn Danes.” So even in the world’s most homogeneous group, there is likely a healthy competition and rivalry.
All three countries, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, boast of a democratic monarchy, cooperative enterprises and even distribution of the good things in life and social laws which are fair in conception and administration.
Because of a time limit, we had a taste of the hospitable friendliness of only Denmark and Sweden, where the sand and sea seem to be their only natural resources. The Folk Schools play a great part in the development and maturity of the people.
Seeing the cleanliness and orderliness of city and country, of shape and homes, we almost felt that the people live to be clean. With their passion for cleanliness comes also a deep spirituality and a pride in their Royal family.
Freed of Royalty
In Copenhagen, before going to the opening performance of their opera season, our hotel manager pridefully said to us, “You don’t have a King and Queen in America.” Aside from seeing and hearing Carmen sung in Danish we had the pleasure of seeing a King and Queen for the first time. The audience rose to their feet as King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid came to view in the Royal box, on the top of which was a huge gold colored crown. With a gentle smile and a bow they seated themselves and the performance began.
The king and queen are young and have three young daughter, which may necessitate the changing of laws, in order that one of them may someday rule, in leu of no prince in the Royal family.
Castles and estates in Scandinavia have a hominess and rustic beauty, most appropriate to the country. With white-washed walls and red tile roofs they are cosily nestled near lakes or surrounded by moats which reflect their color and charm.
At Svendborg Castle in Sweden, walking leisurely beside the clear water, over a wooden foot bridge, along a winding path, we heard the singing of birds in the trees, and saw a tiny frog leaping through the grass. It rested near a healthy patch of red clover, from which grew a proverbial spot of good luck, a four-leaf clover. Amid such peaceful beauty in such a lovely country, what better luck could I have than just being there, I pondered, as I put the leaf in my book.
The next day, alone on my way home, to the hotel, from Sunday School, I decided to go into a certain milk bar to eat lunch. Just inside, to my great surprise was Attache and Mrs. Oliver Peterson (Mrs. Ester Eggertson Peterson). They had come about 400 miles from Stockholm to be in that milk bar in Malmo when I walked in. Malmo is about the size of Salt Lake City. It was just one of those super magic situations which thrilled all three of us. It must have been the luck of that four-leaf clover. Of course the main reason for them being there was for Attache Peterson to talk at a meeting of the Swedish American Society. Would that I could have accepted their generous invitation to go home with them and partake further of their Swedish hospitality which is so enticing.
Going early to church one summer evening in the far north country offered another opportunity of quiet restfulness, on the green along the shore of the Baltic Sea. Sitting to watch a young boy toss sticks for his dog to catch, as the crimson sun slid slowly through the clouds, behind the ships which were so noiselessly sailing to and fro over the receding reflections in the water, what a most happy moment at the end of a long summer’s journey. The scene was worthy of the miles traveled.
The next day began a 19 hour journey over sea and rail to reach Rotterdam, and from there to America.
On the Groote Beer we counted the rolling and pitching days until we were home. These days were full of the usual interest on a student ship. Students and professors, cooperate in a program of education and entertainment. Stage shows, musical concerts, athletic contests and discussion forums, kept us well occupied. Professors from England, Netherlands, France, Canada and the U.S. have led in discussions on politics, history, philosophy, education and language, from a world-wide point of view.
Comments were most interesting from one group of students who had spent seven days in Yugoslavia.
The student travel project, begun in Holland and participated in by students from the world over, cannot help but result in a clearer understanding of our world neighbors, and a broader point of view for everyone concerned. The chief requisite for such an experience is an open mind.
It is interesting to note that a threat of removal of this opportunity hung over the students from South Africa, because it appeared that they were discriminating against students with dark skin. The few colored students on the Groote Beer seemed to be of the highest type.
A storm at sea was a new development. In order to avoid the center of the hurricane, we were off the regular course and on the way to Newfoundland. However, we arrived safely and believe me it is an experience we will long remember.