Browsing "Europe 1961"
Aug 5, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Avignon to Cannes

We slept late, had coffee & rolls in our robes in the courtyard – very leisurely & lazed the morning away taking pictures, talk, talk, talking. Toured the grounds – beautiful tress, vineyards, Alpines in every direction. Became very fond of Claude-Jones (the dog), Henri (the 15-yr-old who helps out), Irienne (the maid), Jeanne-Luke (her son) – also cats, doves, ducks! Gave Irienne a pair of stockings, Henri – cigarettes, Jeanne-Luke – American coins.

Lunched very late in courtyard & all took naps. Bill & JoAnn couldn’t have been nicer hosts – everything was just delightful.

We went into Avignon in time to have an aperitif before the train arrived. We only had time to say hello to Mrs. Abeel and Hugh before we boarded. This time there was a Pullman – tables were set up for dinner and we were served in rapid succession a very good 7-course dinner. Harry and I playing gin rummy until we got to Cannes. Harry didn’t think the Pullman chairs as comfortable as the others but I was very comfortable.

At the train station, we found a porter and a station wagon from the Martinez, so had no trouble getting to the hotel. Allen & J were in the bar so we had some drinks with them and a young girl from California and read our letters from Serena, Bud, Kacka and Jesse.

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Aug 6, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Cannes

Slept late then went across the street to the beach. The water was icy – we didn’t stay long because it was so crowded. Rented a cab and went to  Eden RocEden Roc is very famous and elegant then and today. Famous regular guests included Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall and it continues to host the jet-set – in our bathing suits – had lunch (a delicious one of hors d’oevers) then swam in the Mediterranean & in the swimming pool. The people here were for the most part very attractive – it’s a good resort – and the girls in their bikinis were “interesting.” We bought Fay a handkerchief-size bikini for 3 francs (60 cents). It was a lovely interlude in our busy schedule.

Back at the hotel we rested until 6:30, had a drink in the Early’s room which is much larger and has a better view of the bay. All the rooms have balconies so our view too is good – fun to watch the sailboats, yachts, tankers, skiers, etc.We went to Da Bauttea for supper in the old part of the city – cute little place with guitar & accordion players, herbs hanging from beams drying and decorating ceiling at same time. Our menu was varied (after minestrone) – pigeons, lobster, poulet and sole. The waiters gives the menu with gusto – using hands, drawing pictures, making animal noises – & speaking English as well. The drawings on the paper table cloth are also the addition (bill) & we took it as a memento.

Walked back to the hotel along the beach – Blvd. Croisette – it was crowded & as always, the people interesting to watch.

 

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Aug 7, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Cannes to Rome

We packed and left the hotel a little after 9am, drove to the Nice Airport. I had time to buy perfume – paid American money – the prices were the same as Paris (if you used travellers’ checks & got 20% discount).

The jet to Rome took less than an hour. We got ourselves through customs easily & caught a bus to town to the terminal. Were met & taken to the hotel – Massimo d’Azeglis Another hotel still around today: 'In 1875 Maurizio Bettoja, passionate about wines, good food and hotels, opened a restaurant just above its wine cellars which today still host more than 30,000 bottles of wines and offer a unique setting for special candlelit dinners. Since the end of 1800 the hotel welcomes its guests in a classic setting that has preserved the ambience and the style of the end of the century despite regular renovations. The exterior is typical late 1800s. The Massimo d’Azeglio has hosted many illustrious historical figures: the King of Serbia, the air force hero Francesco Baracca, Benito Mussolini, General Diaz, Louis Armstrong, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Fausto Coppi, Mascagni and many others.'– which is air conditioned – and the room and the most convenient we have had (soap, toilet paper, stationery, & of course, bidet.)

We had lunch at the hotel ristorante (breakfast and one other meal included with room) – food very good & service extra good. Unpacked & rested until about 6 – drinks with A & J who had adjoining room.

Walked through Plaza de RepublicaPiazza della Repubblica is a semi-circular piazza in Rome, at the summit of the Viminal Hill, next to the Termini station. On it is to be found Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri which has tallest/largest fountain, on to Via Vittorio Veneto – the 5th Avenue or Champs Elysees. Sat at Cafe de Paris sidewalk cafe – had NegroniThe Negroni cocktail is made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso (red, semi-sweet), and one part bitters, traditionally Campari. One of the earliest reports of the drink came from Orson Welles in correspondence with the Coshocton Tribune while working in Rome on Cagliostro in 1947, where he described a new drink called the Negroni, 'The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.' (an aperitif Abeel told us to order). Crossed the street to Doney Restaurant – found hamburger on the menu & couldn’t resist.

The men had a time watching the girls, & watching the men watch the girls. Bill Moss walked by and talked for a minute – Harry and Allen saw him later while Jeannette and I were at the opera.

The opera was Aida and at the Baths of Caracolla. We went by bus – enormous crowd – the place seats 14,000. The production was magnificent – the setting was simply awesomeYes, mother was ahead of her time and employed 'awesome' before it was cool to do so. I might take this opportunity to point out that I've tried to type exactly what she wrote...I'm able to read 98% and figure out most of the rest. Some of the foreign language names have thrown me for a loop though. Most enjoyable. J & I got home after 1am but twas worth it.

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Aug 8, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Rome, Day 1

It looks as if we’ve had nothing but troubles with these travel agents. In Paris – the hotel reservations; to Avignon – no Pullman; in Cannes – the tour we missed wasn’t cancelled – the courier absolutely no help at the airport; and now this morning, the tour we were ready to take at 9 o’clock passed us up & after several buses, we arrived at the Vatican at something like 10:30 to see a line of thousands.

Harry and I left the tour & went to St. Peter’s which we toured by ourselves, for over an hour. It was thoroughly enjoyable – really uplifting – saw the Pieta by Michelangelo – it was lovely. Went on a wild goose chase around the Vatican to try to see the Sistine Chapel but the crowd was still thick & we were advised against it. Went by bus to Piazza de Popolo, walked to Spanish Plaza. By then we were so hot & tired, we caught a cab to the hotel. Incidentally, we were told later the Vatican was overly crowded today due to being closed on Sunday & a funeral Monday for a Cardinal.

Lunched and set out on afternoon tour which was not too interesting. Church of St. Mary Maggiore (Major), St. John of the Lateran, the Catacombs, Appian Way & past a number of other points of interest.

Harry wanted to look again at some wine presses he happened to see yesterday. We found them and with the Berlitz & much gesticulation, learned that we could buy one in Milano & have it shipped – but not from here.

Drinks at the hotel with A & J and supper at Borghese Palace at a restaurant Casina ValadierEvery Hollywood movie from 'Three Coins in the Fountain' to the 'Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone' had a scene set here: a splendid pavilion set in the Villa Borghese park and designed by the great neoclassical architect Giuseppe Valadier. Fronted by an Empire-elegant portico and home to grand salons that once welcomed King Farouk of Egypt, Richard Strauss, Gandhi, and Mussolini. Ate a good meal on a balcony overlooking the city – the park all around very lovely.

Went on another wild goose chase in a cab – first to Basilica Ulpia, which was closed, then across town towards Belvedere della Rome. But it was too far & looked as if it would have taken all night so we returned to Doney’s for a nightcap.

 

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