60 Years Ago Today

Saturday, 16 August 1952:

I woke to find soot from the ventilator on one of my pillows. Since my bottom sheet didn’t reach all around my straw tick bed, there was straw tick all over and half of Alene’s mattress hanging over my bed. I purchased breakfast for two marks. It consisted of three rolls with meat and watered chocolate. Then we stashed the suitcases in the bus. Whatta chore this baggage was!
On to one of the grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Cologne Cathedral which was started in 1248 a.d. Unlike those of Notre Dame the towers were completed. I observed a big hole in one of its walls though. It was damage from World War II.

One of the members showed us around. She was dressed in something like a nurse’s aide costume. She had been coming to this cathedral for 52 years and each time she came she saw new meaning in the surrounding symbols. I noticed the organ was damaged as well. As we were leaving Cologne I noticed block after block of buildings in ruins. Cologne was apparently one of the hardest hit cities in Germany.

Meanwhile, Betty told us about her trip up the Rhine River and meeting Duane and his companion in Dusseldorf. The missionaries go to Berlin for conferences and they told her many stories they had seen there. It was similar to our impressions in Vienna, Austria of empty cities with unfriendly people. About 1000 people came across from East Berlin every week after the war and they had to leave everything. Allies were trying to feed and cloth them even while utilizing Russian flags to make clothes for the children. She confirmed that there was practically no reconstruction in Russia controlled areas to speak of.

During a big youth conference, the people were tightly rationed with food for weeks so they could put on a good show. Scaffolding was put in front of buildings and flags hung all over to prepare for the conferences. Then we drove through an industrial section of Germany with many factories.
As we passed through the Ruhr district of Germany we saw many fields of flowers. I noticed “Rats” written on a building. We sighted our first windmill while we were still in Germany. Here we were racing toward Holland and already I could feel the Dutch influence.

At the border I spent my last pfennigs on two oranges and a roll of candy. Then Dr. Rogers came in and gave me a big scare. My German visa had never been signed by the official who had made it out. After all the times I’ve been in and out of Germany, the Germans caught it on my last time out. Thankfully the situation worked out and I was good to go.

Medieval, Royal Castles Are Big Attraction for Travelers

(Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of articles by Mrs. Afton A. Hansen of Provo on her impressions of a European tour she is making with a group of Utah Students)

Letter to the Editor

Dear Friends,
Castles and palaces in Europe are so numerous that they should come in for their share of mention.

Although the medieval kings and the emperors tried to outdo each other in buildings of splendor, it was Louis XIV of France who was the most imitated. His display of magnificence, splendor, wealth and beauty, at Versailles is oft repeated throughout Europe. Not many of those palaces are now occupied as living quarters, but are museums of treasure and art, owned by the government, and open to the public for a small admission fee.

The Royal Castle of Herrenchiemsee is a gigantic structure created by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He was called the “mad king.” It was unfinished, but the finished royal splendor surpasses the original at Versailles. Entering the richly decorated, gold and marble staircase, we see hanging from the ceiling a Viennese crystal chandelier with 125 candles, partly burned. On the walk are original masterpieces representing mythical characters — statues of Apollo, god of poetry and song, Flora, goddess of flowers, and Minerva, goddess of wisdom.

Fabled Richness
We proceed through a vast extension of rooms and apartments, gradually increasing in richness and brilliance. There are curtains (drapes) of lilac damask, silk, embroidered with gold thread. One pair of purple velvet drapes weighs 300 pounds. French Gobelin tapestry in exquisite design and color are on walls and bed canopy. Fireplaces are of marble with one of Meissen porcelain, which is unbelievable elaborate and beautiful. Hardwood floors are artistic in design with a variety of woods. The balustrade in the state bedroom is skillfully carved wood and gold leaf. A 300 year old clock within a gold case in the conference room is still keeping good time. Enormous mirrors on the walls in the reception room, 100 feet long, make the room seem infinitely larger as they reflect lights from 33 crystal chandeliers, and 44 candelabrums, hold 2300 candles which are lighted by 60 people every Saturday evening when a public concert is held. I hope that it is almost as breathtaking to read about as it was to see. The short boat ride to and from the castle added to the romance of the day.

Another castle built by Ludwig II is small but none the less a treasure of wealth and artistry. Poor fellow, he only lived here a few days, but it took nearly five years of strenuous work to build it. The formal gardens and terraces might have been more extensive and luxuriant had he lived longer than his 41 years.

History Made
Heidelberg Castle on the banks of the Neckar River in Germany has a somewhat different story—not so elaborate, but where intense history was made. The courtyard here is as highly commercialized as an American carnival, but we were glad for the milk bar and a cold glass of milk.

People of Heidelberg can also boast of their renowned university, as well as the famous representative of the human race—the Heidelberg jaw, a fossilized bone, belonging to the earliest known type of Paleolithic man. Many evidences of prehistoric man, dating back 1000 B.C. have been found in this area.

Castles Numerous
Medieval Fortresses, castles and cathedrals are also numerous on the banks of the Rhine River. A seven hour trip up the Rhine by river steamer from Mainz to Kein revealed a grand panorama of legend and reality, industry and commerce. No wonder the Rhine as well as the rich Ruhr valley is so desirable and strategic.
Though Germany’s wounds are deep, her efforts for the good and noble are persistent, as is shown in the Oberammergau Passion Play, the Wagner Music Festival in Bayreuth, and Kinderzeche in Dinkelsbuhl and the other community activities. This display of talent, with democratic cooperation will go a long way in proving that love and humaneness are superior to brutal force.

Afton A. Hansen

Then we went to exchange our money. It was 3.70 guilder to a dollar. Hofs Dutch Officials came in with our passports after the Germans had gotten through with them. The Dutch looked us over as the passports were passed back.

Now we’re off to see Holland. There was a flood on the road with isolated houses in ruins. We spotted our first big windmill in Holland. Everyone was clamoring for a picture. So, of course, Andre buzzes on. I recognized new kinds of architecture which kind of reminded me of Baltimore. We drove through a town with a cheese mill. Then back to woods, fields, hay in bunches, and our first man wearing wooden shoes! Next we hit a territory that looked just like those around sawmills at home. Darling houses were everywhere. Oh my kingdom for great pictures! Heather was growing in the open places.

A fruit stand stood by the roadside along with beautiful homes and flowers, cows in the meadows, and bridges. Everything was clean and neat. It was raining like it usually did when we entered a new country. We discovered canals, bicycle lanes, power lines, railroad cars and more houses. The autobahn was much smaller here than it was in Germany. LO was having a tizzy about the stunning sights she saw out the bus window.

We drove by a beautiful park with people on the grass and a basket of fruit all wrapped up with ribbons. The quite wide streets were filled with bikes but few autos. I identified a kind of square architecture which was repeated over and over again. As kids were fishing in a canal, I realized I hadn’t seen any ruins from World War II yet.

Dr. Watkins was asking for directions in German I guess. There were canals at every turn and a market place selling all kinds of odds and ends instead of food for a change. A boy on a bike showed us the way to Schiller Hotel which wasn’t bad looking from the outside. It was on a one way street with trees growing out of the sidewalk all along the canals. We had to go around the block to get on the right side of the street.

At the Schiller Hotel cab men were out front watching and smiling. A Rembrandt statue and park were across from the hotel and a sidewalk café was nearby. We checked in and I got room 33 on the 3rd floor. I walked the narrow carpeted stairs that went up half a floor at a time. It was a nice room that overlooked the square.

In the room there were two round basins, hot water, rugs, drapes, satin comforter, two tables, and lounging chairs. It was really cute.

As soon as we were settled we hit the streets. One shopping street was entirely turned over to pedestrians with no cars on the street at all. The shopping area had people walking down on the right side and back on the left side. There were tall people as well as short people, which was kinda nice for a change.

I looked around in a department store for various things to buy and then wandered into a small shop which directed me to an even bigger shop. By this time the gang had become separated. Shopping in groups always seemed to present a challenge.

A store called Gerzon had several shops on the same street. The first shop just had yard goods. Finally, I found the store with some linen and there was Alicia buying hankies. After much debate, I bought a large size pure linen cloth and a couple of hankies. I cashed my two five Swisse franc notes. The poor cashier showed me all the different kinds of money she had changed in one day. I received 4.31 francs for the 5 franc note.

My dinner was especially delicious as I enjoyed it with my two letters which miraculously appeared with the key to my room. I received news from Caroline and my old faithful letter writer, Twila.

Back to eating, I indulged in the most delectable soup since Italy or Swisse. The rest of the meal had peas, carrots, beans, french fries, bread, and roast beef. The bread and roast beef were particularly good. The meal was topped off with dessert and whipped cream. The restaurant gave such wonderful service.

Later I spent a little time after dinner in our darling room looking out at the city lights in Rembrandt Square and writing. At 9:30 p.m. I left for a movie. There were mobs of happy people thronging the streets of all nationalities. Amsterdam at night was really fascinating. It seemed everybody goes to the theater.

I caught sight of clean, delicious looking food in a stand-up café on the corner across from the square. The streets were wide and clean. Once again there were not too many cars, but a big trolley and lots of bikes. We were really excited about seeing I Lost My Heart In Heidelberg. However, we made a new discovery. If you want to see the movie in Amsterdam one must buy tickets in advance. Big sigh! “Geschlossen” on the box office! We coaxed and tried to persuade the doorman to let us stand or sit on the steps but no soap!

The only alternative was window shopping. So we caught the trolley 16 past Kursal where there was a concert that we didn’t go to. With the help of a kind man we got off and transferred to trolley 1 past the Latin Quarter, tenements, and residential area. Then on to the central station. From there we took trolley 5 back to the Rembrandt Plaza. This kind of made a triangle of the west portion of the city. It showed us what at least one section of Amsterdam looked like.
Now at the hotel again, we stopped to talk to LO and two missionaries. Bert and the other missionary told us about the plan to reclaim most of the Zuiderzee Bay from the sea in the next ten years, and also about Avery’s plunge into the canal.


60 Years Ago Today

Friday, 15 August 1952:

I woke to the ringing of the church bells. The day looked dreary, but maybe it was too early to tell. I dressed and hurried downstairs for a breakfast of ham and eggs with Mrs. Hansen. The cheaper rates for breakfast were good till 8:30 a.m.

There had been a big dance last night and Mrs. Hansen had stayed in Weisbaden till midnight. Many LDS servicemen were disappointed cause we couldn’t go. And so were we.

Everyone lugged their bags down at 9:30 a.m. to wait for the river boat down the Rhine. In the still dreary morning I bought a pastry and looked for some fruit. I sat in a street side hotel café writing till boat time. I noticed a bicycle brigade with boys and girls touring by bicycle. I talked to one of them down by the pier, who was from Baltimore. They were from all over the states and most of them were quite young looking. They were traveling with the SITA, a group that arranges international travel experiences for students.

As I got on the big river boat I discovered there were two decks. Lots of people were piling on the boat when we got on and lots more after us. It was smooth sailing with interesting people and sights. There were three languages being spoken at our table: German, English and French.

The waiter brought in delicious looking fruit sundaes. I asked one waiter where we could wash the fruit we had brought with us. He brought us a bowl of water and a napkin. There was a full menu for dinner downstairs. Meanwhile we ate our fruit, pastries, and a candy bar from Mrs. Hansen. I spied a Wiesbaden PX box on the boat.

The boat stopped at little towns along the way to let passengers off and take on more. It seemed there were castles at regular intervals and we heard about the Rhine River legends. We got a souvenir map that showed the details of what we saw.

It was almost 3:30 p.m. and my stomach couldn’t stand it any longer. So some of us went down to the foredeck dining room to eat. Since it was between meals, we were afraid we had lost our chance to eat. However, the waiter, who was friendly and sympathetic, found us some wieners, bread, and potatoes. We also had apple soft which was an alcohol free apple drink. LO and Alice succumbed and bought the tall dishes of fruit sundaes we saw earlier.

After eating I tried again to watch the scenery and write at the same time. The kids on the SITA tour were taking the opportunity to sleep on the deck.

In Cologne, the missionaries, Andre, Helen and Margaret met us. The latter came with Andre so they could visit the P.E. school. We dashed straight to church to give a program. We were changing clothes on the bus and in the church. It was quite an experience with both guys and girls changing at the same time.

Our program was quite similar to the Frankfurt program. Yet we had a smaller and more appreciative crowd. We used their organ but our chorus was rather stale. Poor Bev was still saying “Ick” during the program.

After the meeting, we talked to several of the members. One of the members we talked to was a little blonde girl of 16. She looked much older and gave us her address since she was coming to America in about a year. The branch president told us that they had tried to get a big hall for our program, but no soap. Boxing clubs can rent the hall, but not the Mormons, even after all they have done to help the people after World War II. As usual we had a rough time getting away.

Just like in Nuremberg the first sight of our hotel was quite a shock, but it wasn’t so bad inside. We ate while waiting for the confusion to subside over who went where. Seven of us were in a dormitory upstairs and down the hall. I just took a quick look in the room before I hurried downstairs to write. I ended up talking to the missionaries until 2 a.m. At 2:30 a.m. the manager at Hotel Deutzen Hof sent me off to bed.

Dear Folks,                                                                   15 August 1952:

Today we are sailing down the Rhine. It’s cloudy today, but beautiful nonetheless. This Rhine steamer is crowded with people of all nationalities, a group of American students touring on bicycles, and a group of little boys from England. We saw the room in the Frankfurt mission home where President McKay slept.

We gave a program to a big crowd of missionaries, members and investigators in Frankfurt. It was fun doing it and I hope they enjoyed it. It is pretty hard to prepare programs en route. That one was advertised as a concert, but I’m afraid it couldn’t be classed as such. We gave one the night before in Heidelberg, and then afterwards the missionaries and servicemen took us to the snack bar and treated us to hamburgers and ice cream. I gave my speech again in Nuremberg instead of Vienna and did a better job than the first time.

Most of the cities we have visited in Germany are still very much ruined, although they have been built up a great deal since the war, but when you consider the fact that they were practically leveled, it’s really sad. They have managed to save some of the art treasures by taking them out in the country. The relics from Goethe’s house in Frankfurt were taken to twelve different places and kept till after the war. The house has been restored and the relics brought back to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth.

In Bayreuth we were really lucky to see Parsifal. In fact, we were so lucky and it was so wonderful I could hardly believe it. In fact, I’ve been pretty lucky all along. I think I’ve seen more operas and concerts than anyone else. Rigoletto in Paris, La Traviata in Rome, Elektra in Munich, Marriage of Figaro in Salzburg, The Gypsy Baron in Innsbruck, Parsifal in Bayreuth, just to mention the operas.

Vienna was quite an experience. You’ve never seen our bus so quiet as when we entered the Russian zone. We weren’t sure what to expect and we didn’t want anything to happen to keep us from getting in the area. The Russian who checked our passports and cards was very young and kind of a smart aleck. The streets seemed deserted in the little towns we passed through. It may have just been the time of day, but the people we saw seemed very quiet and they didn’t smile or wave.

The American zone of Vienna is built up quite a bit, but practically nothing has been done in the Russian part. They really scared us about taking pictures, but we managed to get a few. There weren’t any operas or anything going on there, but we went to an American movie and had popcorn. Silly thing to do in Europe, but different. We had seen movies in all other languages.

Our meeting with the saints in Vienna was wonderful The people really appreciated having us come, and we really enjoyed meeting them. Many of them are trying to come to America, especially from the Russian part. Some, in fact, may leave all they have just to get out. Our plans are all final for the Scandinavian tour. We are supposed to give a program in Malmo, Sweden, while we are there. We will not get to Stockholm, because we will only have two days actually in Sweden.

60 Years Ago Today

Monday, 11 August 1952:

In the morning I had a little bit of a bath in cold and not so clean water. We were in the tenement section of the city. There was a dirty grocery store nearby with a man outside speaking in French that wanted me to eat a dirty plum. When I got to the bus I helped Andre unload bags. There were rolls at the bakery and a big slice of fried dough with nut butter. Next door there was a little girl scrubbing a wood floor with plaid tablecloths on the tables.

At 9:15 a.m. we met an English fellow that Bev and Ione had picked up at the Festival last night. He showed us inside the iron curtain at the Festival House. The stage was as big as the audience. I observed the props and set for the Holy Grail scene which included a round table, big pillars, and dragon from the opera Siegfried which breathed fire. Yet most of the scenery for Parsifal was done with lighting effects that the depth of the stage made possible. Bev’s friend, who was studying staging, told us about the techniques which were used during the opera.

The dressing rooms were nearby. While sitting in the orchestra pit we talked about plays in London and compared operas and singers. We tried to get permission to sit in on one of the rehearsals of Das Rheingold.

We hurried over to the American Express where everybody cashed some money. It seems that the opera had taken all of our money. Next we were back on the bus heading for Wurzburg. Along the way we took a detour that looked like a cow trail. Finally we were back on the regular road. It seemed to me that this part of Germany was drier than I expected.

We stopped to tour a Romanesque Cathedral which was one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe. And it had two big altars with one on each side with such beautiful carvings. In Bamberg, I caught sight of a bus load of young people in native costumes. We snapped quick pictures of them.

Then we stopped to eat at a quaint, little restaurant off the square. That same group of young people were in front of us and they showed us on the map where they were from. They were originally from Prague, Czechoslovakia but now they live in Kassel, Germany. They had been to the Nuremberg Festival and were now on their way home. They danced at the Deutsche Museum while we were there, but we were so busy trotting around we didn’t see them.

The two lady chaperones with the group redid the head scarves and rewound the apron ties on the girls. It was very interesting to see how the big red scarves were fastened to stay on well. Their blouses were white laced with big red striped aprons and orange knee socks. The fellows wore all black and white shirts with high black boots and waist coats.

For lunch we had big pieces of wiener schnitzel and a whole big plate of salad for each one of us. We finished eating about the same time as the other group. So we had to wait while they paid their bill before we paid ours. We only had about five minutes to dash up and take a look at the cathedral. Then we all had gelati’s and pastries from a really good shop around the corner from the plaza. I just can’t resist them.

Once again we’re off to Wurzburg past an army convoy. The Schonbrun Hotel which was right in the middle of this bombed out city looked brand new. There was no lobby to speak of but a clean looking dining room. There were darling rooms with hot water, new looking furniture, soft beds, and feather ticks for a cover.

A couple of us ventured out shopping across the street from the hotel and bought a darling motorcycle toy. A cute little girl about ten years old waited on us. There was a friendly monkey in a cage and it tried to knock off my glasses.

Next was a department store which had a new kind of escalator. It was a little box affair with one part going up and one part coming down. It was constantly moving as someone stepped on the box when it came by and got off as they came to the floor.

We discovered a store which sold jam by the gram and I bought 40 pfenny’s worth for breakfast. I ran around from one store to the next searching for pocket knives. I found success in a hardware store. It was a hard decision for me. Finally, I bought a pearl handled pocket knife with 6 dealies for 12.50 marks, a large meat knife, and a gift for 21 marks. The clerks were helpful and the prices seemed reasonable. I spotted my serving prongs from Regensburg for 8 marks less. Rats! I heard later that Margaret saw her now broken Dresden figurine for 40 marks less.

Back at the hotel we practiced for our Heidelberg program. It was kinda rough as of yet but we will hope for the best. We grabbed some soup and apple cider in the hotel restaurant to go. Thereafter, we had sextet practice and it was sketchy as well.

As I wound down from the day there was nice warm water, so I washed my hair, clothes and self as best I could in a wash basin. By then it was just too late to work on my diary or write letters. So we crawled into our new soft, clean beds and relaxed for the night.

60 Years Ago Today

Saturday August 9, 1952:

At 6:15 a.m. it sounded like someone near our hotel owns a noisy tractor or truck. My feather tick was really warm and comfy but Herr Tractor was our alarm clock. Boy it sounded like everyone went to work at this hour!

Our tour guide, a little old man named Dinkel, was guiding our excursion. Dinkelsbuhl was 1000 years old and residents of the city were not allowed to change the exterior of any of the houses or buildings without the permission of the city. First was Deutche Haus, which was erected by the Lord Mayor of Dinkelsbuhl and had intricate wood carvings.

Soon after was a cathedral which was started in 1444 a.d. and had taken almost 50 years to build. The entrance was still the same on the outside since it had been restored in 1856. And there were wood carvings on the end of the pews. Dinkel told us that the city had been built on three hills and a man named Dinkelo gave the city his name. I observed the carvings of the different shields.

At St. Sebastian Church there were arrows on display and St. Aurelius’s bones, who had been killed by a sword and buried with the sword. At the center piece of the crypt there was an altar that was carved from one piece of stone. A pastor from the 13th century had led a procession from all over to see this church. As I turned around I observed a tub of holy water before me.

Next was St. George who lay on a large altar because he killed a dragon. As we continued there was a monument of World War I soldiers and people who had died from this church. The wood carvings were done by someone local.

As the tour progressed through the city I spotted the doorbells on the houses which had pull cords. Also, there were peep holes on the corners of the houses in order to see the people walking by. The oldest house, dated from the 11th century, was called Hezelhof. We also saw the City Hall or Rathaus. Next was the Three Kings Chapel which was built in 1350 a.d. It had been a sheep’s stable for over a 100 years during that period of time, but was restored again as a chapel.

I noticed old flags hanging in shreds. It had been a free city till 1802 when it was annexed into the Kingdom of Bavaria. There were 22 towers running around the city. One tower had been reconstructed by an Italian architect because it had been destroyed in the Thirty Years’ War between 1618-48.

Then we identified the Worntiz River which had a youth hostel nearby that used to be an old granary for storing corn which had been built in 1508. We walked down by the moat around the wall. Soon after we saw the Dinkelbaurer monument and our guide informed us the name of wheat is dinkel.

After a two week siege of Dinkelsbuhl by Sweden, Lord Mayor of Dinkelsbuhl decided to let the Swedes have it. A Swede General took the keys of the town and made it Protestant. Children from the city came to plead for the Swedes to save their city and lives. The Swedish general had recently lost his young son to illness, and a boy who approached him so closely resembled his own son that he decided to spare the town. The children softened his heart and became the saviors of the town. Every year the town celebrates a Children’s Festival where the little kids dress in 16th century uniforms and rejoice over their freedom.

As we circled back onto main street I noticed a sign warning of anyone throwing trash would get dunked for five minutes. Funny huh? We stopped and bought fruit at street side market. Later we looked in the Baroque Deutschhaus Palace which was another historical building. A travel bureau representative gave us a souvenir pamphlet of Dinkelsbuhl. We stopped to take pictures of a stork’s nest on top of the roof before we left Dinkelsbuhl.

The next town, Ausbach, was a fairly good sized, quaint little village. There were gabled houses with weeping willows. As we drove on we passed a big money exchange, theatre, and other buildings.

We finally reached Nuremburg around 12:30 p.m. where the old city walls and towers were still partly standing and many of the old buildings were mostly in ruins. We followed the street along the old walls and moat and there was a transient mess from what I could see.
Farther on there were sidewalk cafes and a big Bahnhof dome being repaired. It ended up being quite a large and thriving city. We passed a snack bar and opera house. Near here was a house where Hitler had stayed at one time.

As we continued to follow the wall we journeyed past the Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg trials were held after World War II for German war crimes. Hermann Wilhelm Goering, military leader and a leading member of the Nazi Party, committed suicide here. Other war criminals were convicted and executed by hanging here.

Our guide was a refugee from Czechoslovakia. He escaped with only the short pants he was wearing and no shoes. He informed us the post office was constructed in 1950-51, German Congress started in 1834, and Augsberg Church was built in a new architectural style.

During World War II Nuremberg was home to many German SS troops who marched, trained, and lived here. Even the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, which were Hitler’s personal bodyguards, were headquartered here. The Nazi party held big propaganda events in Nuremberg starting in 1933. We examined stoves from Italy and marble from Carrara, Italy. The city had a large modern coliseum where large Nazi party conventions were held. It was still unfinished.

In the heart of Nuremberg there was a flower church and a famous fountain market place. It was a shame to see all the ruins around the village and the remains of the old part of the town.
We journeyed past a whole castle made with a hammer and chisel. I couldn’t believe it! Next was a 12th century well which was 18 feet deep. Water drops fell down the well in 6 seconds and there were 8 rows of sandstone and then solid rock around the well. The water at the bottom was 9 feet deep with underground connections from here to town hall.

Shortly after we observed Hans Sachs, a German poet, we noticed it was the only statue not damaged in the city. We heard the story of hoofprints where knights jumped over the wall and moat. It was used for anit-aircraft guns during World War II. We saw the Kaiser garten which was done in a French style.

Then we went past Albrecht Durer’s House that holds Germany’s greatest statue of Durer, the famous painter. I met a lady in a shop off the square whose husband or father was Michael Power, who wrote Religion in the Reich in 1939. I couldn’t quite understand what she said. Then there were beautiful carvings. One of them was of Hans Sachs, a German poet, which sold for 160 marks. The carvings were sold at the University Club in Chicago as well.

We were staying here Sunday and Monday to see the festival which had been going on for 900 years. I caught sight of the statue of Hans Sachs in the rubble. And there was a new stove here. It seemed strange with all the gutted buildings around us. Certainly this was a city of contrasts as was most of Germany. A brand new Bavarian State Bank faced us.

All aboard for the youth hostel. Eric was directing us and picked up the rest of the kids where we had left them. Ralph Frogley, Dorothy’s boyfriend, was there looking for Dorothy. Fortunately, Dorothy was sitting on a step in front of the youth hostel when we pulled up. We weren’t real sure at first if this was the building we were scheduled to sleep at or not. From the outside it was just a big tall square grey box deal with funny round holes at intervals. Dot said, “Wait till you see it.” We could hardly wait to see it ! So we proceeded to look for the spot we were going to be laying down our heads for the evening.

The entrance was filled with bicycles and to one side was a dining room where some people were eating at wooden tables. After five flights of cement stairs, we turned into a bare hall and from there into a barren dormitory style room with double decker bunks with nothing but mattresses. We heard a rumor that we would sleep on a sheet. At the end of the two big rooms was a washroom with cold running water. Then we saw where the four men would sleep next door on army cots. Everyone seemed quite thrilled. The young natives roaming around the halls were all boys.

Andre refused to sleep there and said he’d sleep in the bus. There was a big conference and we decided against it. American Express fixed us up in three hotels for more money. Good thing because there was church tomorrow and we would have to get ready. The hostel wouldn’t have provided too much privacy.

Our new hotel was across the street from the Service Club. Two soldiers offered to show us around. So Alene, Alice, Carol, Elo and I went with them to a cute little basement café to eat. It was atmospheric with candlelight, U.S. Officers and music. What a delicious dinner of wiener schnitzel! Carol was sulking about something—not enough attention, I believe. It was raining as we walked back to hotel to complete a wonderful evening.

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.

60 Years Ago Today


Tuesday, 29 July 1952:

For breakfast we had rolls and chocolate with no jam. While we ate Betty, the little girl, talked to us. Hurriedly we stopped to take pictures of Betty in front of her house before we left. This made us late and we had to pay a 50 pfennigs fine.

We were off to the French Rococo Linderhof Palace. The guide book I bought tells all about it. The young guide looked like the French actor, Peirre Aumont, to me. Although Linderhof Palace was much smaller than Versailles, it is evident that it was modeled after it. Linderhof Palace had a Hall of Mirrors just like Versailles and was used for some kind of living room. I tried to take a picture of it.

Then we continued on to see an Oriental house for teas and a cave where Ludwig II had an opera put on for him alone. I could see beautiful peacocks on the grounds. Afterwards, we went to the lady in the shop who accused us of taking six slides. Dr. Rogers didn’t argue and paid for the slides.

After the palace we traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a mountain resort town in southern Germany. On the way we saw a golf course and found the station to Zugspitze. We drove back to town to look around and Hermine and kids bought ski boots. There was a bowling alley and service center with a snack bar as we got on the train. It seemed our Zugspitze train ticket was punched every time we turned around. What a beautiful trip up on the train! People on the train taught us Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart, a popular song.

After getting off the train, Helen lost her ticket just before we got to the cable car. We heard a story about a serviceman falling out of the car. Such beauty! Finally, we headed toward the Austrian border and Innsbruck.


60 Years Ago Today


Monday, 28 July 1952:

After getting up at 6:30 a.m. in Munich, I had a quick bath using the basin. My keys to the suitcase and hangers were still missing. I guess I’ll leave them In Germany for a souvenir for someone else. Again I had a continental breakfast. The hotel had a couple of lobbies and it was raining outside. I retrieved my raincoat which was folded neatly in my bag.

Then I walked across to Tele-tel to mail four postcards air mail for 50 pfennies each. We gathered the crew up and took the long way to American Express through Konigsplatz Square. However, I didn’t receive any letters. Dorothy was back from Heidelberg by now. I’ve had it here and I’m ready to move on.

We headed out of Munich through Starnberg and then on to Oberammergau, in the Bavarian Alps. Then we ate chow in Alte Post. I had wienerschnitzel and strawberry pie. Oberammergau was famous for its Passion play that has been performed for over 300 years. It included a cast of over 1400 people who were made up of German natives or people who have lived here for over 20 years.

The Passion story was about Christ and had no pause in the play. It ran from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a two hour lunch from noon to 2 p.m. There were no artificial effects or makeup in the play and natural light was only used. If it rained, the play would go on.

A middle stage and sliding stage was used. A set was prepared and then slid forward. The supposed Last Supper table had been used in the play for over 200 years. We saw a showcase of costumes that had been last used in 1720 and Oriental costumes 120 years old. All other costumes were still in use. Swords and other objects were in different dressing rooms for each group of characters.

Afterwards I ran down to the café where we ate at the Gasthaus Alter Post Hotel owned by Anton Preisinger, the owner, who had played Christ in the theater in 1950. I got an autograph of Stak at the famous White Horse Inn. We hurried through a typical graveyard to a church. It was a Rococo Baroque church which was ornate and elaborate for such a small church. St. Amanda’s bones had been taken from the catacombs and buried there. The Trinity picture hung above.

Then we wandered around shops and at 4:30 p.m. we met the whole gang at the bus. It was still raining and little kids were there to meet us and take us to their homes. We drew cards to determine which house we were going to stay at. I drew a little girl named Betty Eder that had long dark pigtails and a cute smile. Henry and Dick were in the same house with some of us girls. We met her mother as she greeted us at the door.

As we talked with the little girl in our broken German, she was very hospitable. Alicia and Henry took the lead in the conversation, but I managed to get out a few words now and then. The little girl, Betty, showed us a picture of the surrounding country we would be seeing and explained some of the things to us. Alicia asked her about the Bible and she brought out a catechism book which was a summary or exposition of their doctrine.

There were pictures of the family in the living room. Unfortunately her father had been killed in Russia during World War II. Horns from animals that her father had killed made up decorations around the pictures. They had a beautiful stove with carving on the outside of it. I felt that I had received a really good lesson with the opportunity to stay with these people. I saw the suffering of this German family and their needs were just like anyone else.

My bedroom on the second story was clean as a pin with big feather comforters and two huge pillows. I spotted a huge wash basin and pitchers with a big tall square varnished stove in the corner. The modern toilette downstairs had a picture of an open window and a poem on the wall that said “Machs Fenster auf Lass frische auft herein der nachste wirddin dankbar sein!” At 6:30 p.m. we bid them adieu to go to the hotel post to eat. It was still raining and I had on my Vesuvius Sandles for a free foot bath.

As we arrived we discovered there was a private dining room just for us. Everyone reported each of our own experiences and good fortune. Eloise and Virginia claimed to have had ein bad or a bath. My meal was kind of like a hamburger steak, but it wasn’t cooked quite thoroughly. Sadly there was no dessert but otherwise it wasn’t too bad.

We scrambled off to the Oberammergan, the Passion play. It turned out to be in a cute little theatre dealy with our own theatre Passion play guide. He came over to sit by us and tried to explain what was going on. He said it was in a German dialect so we wouldn’t be able to understand it even if we knew German. Since we didn’t know German, we were left to decipher for ourselves with the guide’s help. However, the first part was typical music with three musicians. One person had a double guitar and another had a Zither. Two little girls and four boys sang and yodeled a cuckoo clock among other sounds. Then three funny guys in typical dress with leather shorts did likewise.

Then came the play. The play turned out to be a political brawl and I couldn’t understand any of the jokes so I napped now and then. Our small Oberammergan guide thought we didn’t enjoy it very much cause we were catching up on our sleep. We just couldn’t understand it.

Outside again the rain greeted us as we left the little theatre and headed for the bus. Some of the kids were left off along the way. They were bragging about the baths they had had and we didn’t know whether to believe them or not. Then we stopped in bar for a drink where I got a really nasty orange drink. Those of us staying at the Eder house had a dark trail to walk along to get to the house. Mrs. Eder was still waiting up for us and showed us where the kitchen was located.