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

 

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.

 

60 Years Ago Today

 

Tuesday, 22 July 1952:

Dear diary for some peculiar reason I didn’t sleep as well last night as I was accustomed to. Of course, I was rather uncomfortable with my glasses, earrings, and copper belt on. However, I was thankful for everything else I had had on to keep me warm. I woke at 5 a.m. Usually it is rather hard for me to get up that early. This morning was different, because I woke up raring to go.

As I looked around I found a window open right at the foot of my bed. No wonder it was so cold last night. I cleaned my face and Alicia woke to solve the secret of my disappearing blanket. She had intended to just borrow it until I came to bed but she had fallen asleep. So had the rest of the crew so there was no one to tell me where my blanket was.

I found the washroom with the long trough and brushed my teeth. One of the kids asked for hotel stickers before we started back to the bus. The walk back was quite refreshing as it helped to get the kinks out of my muscles and bones. The forest was misty. It seemed much shorter than the night before.

At the bus we discovered our bags had been taken down and locked inside for the night. We got them out so they were ready to go back on top and then found some oranges at a stand nearby for breakfast. I snapped a picture of hay making on the slopes above the bus.

On the road to Titisee I observed straight pines growing close together with a thick underbrush. No wonder these forests appeared black far away. The road was being repaired. There was Lake Titisee, clear and sparkling below us with a beach and lots of boats. Herr Watkins and Rogers set off to check the temperature of the water. After checking they decided to spend 1½ hours here.
Watkins, Dick, Helen, Margaret, Virginia, Mary and I jumped in to go swimming. Others soon joined us. What a refreshing swim and bath for about ten of us. It was cold at first, but very invigorating. We had a good scrub down with soap and a wash cloth. We took turns scrubbing each other’s backs. We even attracted an audience. Then we dried out in the sun.

Back on the bus we watched the beautiful Black Forest country go by. Andre stopped on a hill above Triberg for a shot of the valley below. It was my last picture so I tried to get a new roll loaded in my camera but the bus was ready to go. In my hurry I accidentally broke the film.

After awhile we stopped in Triberg to shop for cuckoo clocks and eat lunch. We found a nice place to eat at a hotel after wandering in several cafes. I had a delicious meal of soup, roast pork, salad, and potatoes for three marks. I asked for bread and water. It cost extra for bread whereas in Italy it was included in our first and second courses. Watkins read an article in the Hamburg paper to us about friends from Utah while we ate.

We discovered the stores were closed till 2 p.m. and that was the time we had arranged to leave so we decided it would be okay to stay a little longer.

We wandered around the stores for about 15 minutes. As Alicia went back to the bus I told her to honk the horn if the group was ready to go. As I browsed around the book shop there were lots of interesting German books, Reader’s Digest, and children’s books. I thought I heard the horn so I went outside and there was the bus. Some of the kids had been waiting since 2 p.m. and I was really in the dog house. There was a big meeting and the group decided to fine late comers. What a “dealy”!

Next stop was the Rhine Valley where men were putting up hay with ox teams. I glimpsed rows of crucifixes. As we neared Strasbourg, France, I saw typical Strasbourg architecture of medieval structures with black and white timber-framed buildings. Then we reached the border at Kehl, Germany, where there was more red tape. I walked through customs and my passport was stamped twice.

As we crossed the Rhine River, Andre was happy to be back in France. I spotted kids swimming. We crossed the international bridge, and Place des Vosges, the oldest planned city square.
The hotel in Strasbourg was quite different from the rustic hotel the night before. Narrow and tall it sat on a big square near a station with a sidewalk café in front. Our room had two double beds and pink toilet paper. As soon as we were settled I went down to check with the hotel man about Lyon tapestries.

22 July 1952
Hi Folks,
We’re back in France for one night. Last Sunday I gave my German talk twice, once in Zurich in the morning and again in Basel at night. Last night we really roughed it for the first time way up in the middle of the beautiful Black Forest. We slept on beds like we had in the dorm but they weren’t nearly so clean or comfortable.

Then I noticed Bev and the gang. I chased them down to Cook’s to find out about sending money to the missionaries, but they were closed. A fellow came to the door, but he couldn’t give us the information we needed.

Strasbourg was a picturesque city. I went over to the Gothic and Renaissance cathedral to get pictures and I met up with part of the gang there. The cathedral had a beautiful ornate facade facing west. The building was so tall and the surrounding structures were close. Because of this it was hard for me to get pictures of the facade up close. I never finished getting that shot, but I got a picture of one spire.

I met some Egyptian students who were studying medicine at the Strasbourg University. They said the United States was 50 years ahead of Europe in science and invited us to eat with them. I passed on the invitation to dinner and wandered around the older section of the town down by the river. I found more of the typical Strasbourg architecture with sagging buildings, narrow structures, and window flower boxes.

As I continued through Strasbourg, I saw war ruins. Some buildings were gone except for the facade or side walls. Other structures looked like they had been cut in half. Strasbourg was a bilingual city that passed back and forth from France to Germany many times. The older population in the city spoke German whereas the younger population spoke French.

Overall prices were higher here in France compared to Germany. I bought a pastry and ate it along with the lunch that I had purchased in Germany. Then I was off to bed early to make up for the night before.