60 Years Ago Today

Tuesday, 2 September 1952:

4:40 a.m. comes really quickly after midnight. We made so much noise trying to wake up people that the people next door pounded on walls. We were still packing at 5:20 deadline, hurried out and rolled downstairs just as last of gang went through the door. An American Express man and 4 taxis were waiting. They really have taken good care of us here. There were few people on streets. We passed the Tivoli on the way and I admired the clock in front of station. Margaret had a loaf of bread that she shared while our suitcases were unloaded onto the sidewalk. At this early hour we had the place mostly to ourselves. The American Express man counted us off as we went through, lots easier than showing our tickets.

The train headed off across the same Danish countryside that we saw coming in, mostly flat and agricultural. I particularly noticed a red windmill and white churches. There was a moment of panic when a ticket was lost on the floor. But we recovered it. Out the window I saw more grain shocks, along with planted forests. Most of the houses had what I called international red tile roofs but there were a few thatched roofs intermingled with red.

At Korsor we boarded a ferry and had breakfast of milk, rolls and butter for 1.65 kr. We moved to the rear of the boat and watched other boats out on the water. Warm sunshine felt so good. I talked to a fellow from the Hague, Holland.

We transferred back to a train again. I felt restless. I spent my time eating, talking, reading, and writing. There was a man from the boat still around. He seemed to listen to us whenever we started talking. We sat in the first class car for a while. I watched landscape some more. I realized that most Danish cows are red, while German are usually the black and white variety. It grew cloudy and started raining, but not for long. Back in our luxurious 2nd class car, I watched the scenery roll by again. I had a conversation with a Dane from Copenhagen. He was going just over the border of Germany to see his sister. He spoke English very well. We spent some time comparing Swedish and Danish. We passed through a strawberry patch and a grove of apple trees.

The Dane told me strawberry season was very short here and that they grow the best apples in Europe. The man from the boat told us how to say apple in Swedish. He turned out to be a Swede from Varberg, a small town up the western coast.

For lunch I bought 2 open faced sandwiches and the Dane bought us bananas just before we left Denmark. They continued my lesson in Danish and Swedish. The man from Sweden was on his way to London to study English for 2 months. He was a conductor on a train. We talked about Sweden and Denmark and America plus Swedish, Danish and English as the Denmark countryside flew by.

Finally we made it to customs for German border at a small town. They noticed that I had no signature on my Visa for Germany. Our new Danish friend almost forgot to get off the train here. At dinner call, we ate bread and cheese. Dr. Rogers came back with a piece of fish in gelatin. Ugh. By the time we got to Hamburg, the train was getting very crowded. I got off to look for a drink of water. Wow, this station was huge. The Swedish fellow continued my lesson in Swedish as we galloped through the German countryside. At Bremen they had another dinner call, so I had more cheese and dry bread.

There were two girls with baggage in the aisle, sleeping bags, 2 big suitcases and more. They needed to learn a lesson in traveling light. It was so crowded that there were people in the aisles. We cross the German border again. They noticed that there was no signature on my visa too. They are really efficient today. After being in and out of Germany so much, I finally got caught for the third time. Both customs officials today said I would have to get it signed before coming back into Germany. We had to have our passports out every 5 minutes it seemed. Betty tried to change Danish for US money.

There were now 8 in our compartment: Betty Lou, Virginia, Carol, Margaret Brown, Eloise, Dr. and Mrs. Rogers and me. Earlier a lady with her baby wandered back and forth trying to find a seat. Dr. Watkins helped her. Dr. Rogers gave his seat to grandmother of family sitting in aisle by our compartment. A boy taught us a German song. Interesting experience talking to him and singing. He wanted us to teach him Ghost Riders in the Sky. Carol promised to write and send him the words.

We arrived in the suburbs of Rotterdam about 11:20 p.m. American Express was on hand with taxis. Some places they were really on the beam. We were back at the Atlanta Hotel. Same rugs again and the shower straight over head. They had separate rooms for double sink basins and shower. At first Mrs. Hansen and Mae were without rooms. At the mail stop, I got two letters. I got to bed late after washing my hair, and my clothes and me.


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