60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 8 August 1952:

Sadly for breakfast we had cheese and dry bread that we had left from Vienna. With my new suitcase I packed with two suitcases instead of one. Whatta change! I even got my coat in at the last minute.

I stopped in a shop across from the Hotel Gruner Kranz and drooled over the Hummel figurines. I succumbed and bought 2 for 6.60 and 8.80. Gee! The crowd certainly had collected a lot of stuff mostly in way of figurines. We got a clue that this might be a good place to shop in view of the fact that this town wasn’t loaded with tourists. So we really went hog wild and the fruits of our labor were much apparent today.

Carol showed up carrying a big box with Dresden china inside. We hurried over to American Express only to wait for 45 minutes for the mail to come in. I mailed off a letter to Lori, but sadly after the long wait there was no mail for me.

We got back on the road again. With all our acquisitions we were having baggage problems again. Somehow we made it all fit but every available space was filled. We went over the programs and schedules planned for Nuremberg, Hidelberg, Frankfurt, and Cologne. Wow! It was going to be busy the next two days. Our time was going to be spent in the middle ages and in medieval cities.
I spotted a Ludwig I shrine, German king of Bavaria, in the distance. There were fields of vines that hung from poles. Someone conjectured that they were hops, which was fermented to make beer. Germans were thrashing the grain just like we did at home. We noticed the mate to Walhalla which we had passed on the road to Regensburg. This temple had 365 steps, one for each day of the year. The winding tree-lined roads had white strips.

Huge detour! We were too heavy for the bridge and we had to get out and walk over the bridge. Andre had quite an experience as the bus just made it through the archway to the town. We asked a man the name of the town and he said Vohburg by the Danube River. On the other side of town we had to get out and walk across another bridge. A barefooted lady with dirty feet followed the bus across. Everyone watched the bridge sag as Andre drove slowly across. I could see some old stone pillars from a bridge that had once crossed the river there. The architecture of that bridge was a little bit different than I had seen before.

We passed through another gateway in the next little village. Wow! What a tight squeeze. Then another gateway going out of the village. The road to Dinkelsbuhl took us through beautiful woods and fields along a dirt gravel road. It was kinda dusty but pleasant surroundings anyway. Some of the woods looked planted like the Schwarzwald-Baar district in the Black Forest. Their crops were planted right up to the edge of the forest. Other areas looked like the Island Park territory back home in Idaho. There was a lot of diversity in the landscapes.

We stopped in a little town en route for a rest and snack stop. It seemed we were getting to Dinkelsbuhl a different way than we had planned. I spied a horse and cow hitched together and the kids on the bus were knocking each other down to get a picture of this unusual scene. I spotted another archway to the city square that looked kind of medieval. The army drove through while we were loitering. Comically one vehicle almost ran into a building and another went the wrong way. A jeep with three fellows stopped to talk to us and we found out they were on their way to Nuremberg. Lots of thrilled little kids gathered around us as we handed out candy and gum.

On our way again it seemed every little town had a big church or cathedral as its center. One small village had a huge cathedral in the center with stables, animals, and hay in the street next to it. We were certainly off the beaten tourist trail wandering through the countryside. We stopped to take a picture of a lady at the plow. The mob crowded down the road and when we got back Dr. Rogers asked if we had almost caused a traffic jam.

Another shower of rain burst upon us as it had been threatening all day long. On the highway to Dinkelsbuhl there was a romantic road and an old medieval castle on a hill overlooking a little village. Kids in the bus were practicing for our program en route to our destination. Dinkelsbuhl was having its 1000 year anniversary and housed one of Germany’s national monuments.

The 13th century town of Dinkelsbuhl, had survived with all of its original atmosphere to modern times. I noticed some similarity between architecture in Dinkelsbuhl and Strasbourg, France. An old city wall and watch towers were still standing. In the city dyed yarn rugs hung from the fences and a violin player was on the street in front of the café. We passed the cathedral and a red house on the square where Kaiser Karl V, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, had lived. Martin Luther had refused to recant his beliefs before the Catholic Church and Kaiser Karl V, and it resulted in Martin Luther’s excommunication. Karl V had so many troubles with his empire that he finally resigned and went to live in a monastery.

Bev had an accident so I loaned her my skirt. Then I got to run around town taking pictures in my shorts. Since the bags were down in the bus, I took my bags with me in order to pack my Hummel figurines properly. Our German-style inn, Gasthaus Soldene Traube, was 500 meters from the square. Our little guide helped me carry my big bag and Lucy my little one to the inn. At almost the end of the main drag we turned down a small side street that looked kind of neglected and run down. Yet the hotel actually turned out to be fairly nice. The room had a big comforter and cold running water.

After getting settled in, we hurried over to the St. Aurelius Cathedral where 15th century paintings hung from the walls and the old bones were decorated with jewels. As I looked around I could see that there were only a few stained glass windows left. When we finished in the cathedral we browsed around in the surrounding shops. Florence bought a new skirt with an elastic kind of band around the waist.

Since we were too hungry to go back to the hotel street, we stopped in a restaurant which was approved by the German travel agency. With radio music in the background and flowers at each table, a cute little boy, Carl, who spoke some English, took our order. Our first course turned out to be a really hot soup with a raw egg in a half shell. The egg went into the soup when the shell was taken out and the hot soup cooked the egg. The second course, sauerkraut and wienies. Only the sauerkraut tasted much different than the U.S. variety. The wienies were pretty tough shelled and quite rich and unrefined.

Back out on the streets, I caught sight of a beautiful lifelike doll in the window. The door to the shop was locked, but one of the ladies heard us trying to open the door. So she hurried over to unlock the door and let us in. We looked at everything and the ladies were getting pretty perturbed at us. They thought we were the typical tourists who were just going to look and end up not buying anything. Then one of them brought out a darling little doll for 3.5 marks that wound up and swept the floor. That did it. We each bought one.

Then all of us stopped at a little store for some oranges and grapes. Meanwhile as my back was turned Alice was on the ground demonstrating the doll to some of the kids. Next was the EES Parlor where we ordered takeout but the lady must not have understood us, because she brought our food to us in dishes. So we stayed there to eat. I didn’t order anything, but I had a taste of everybody else’s meals.

And now back home again at the hotel we had to show off our loot. Quickly we ran down to Herr Watkins room to show him our dollies. Disappointedly for us he wasn’t home. There was a gab fest for awhile and then we got ready for bed. I repacked my suitcases to make room for my souvenirs. Blue striped feather ticks greeted us on the beds and Irene put up my bangs.

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