Jul 28, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

QE, Day 2

Awakened too late for breakfast in the dining room but it seems you can have anything you want in your stateroom – the steward insisted. He’s very nice. Incidentally when the trays came, we saw our room stewardess for the first time.

I went to the beauty parlor at 10:00 and had my hair done a new way – so fancy I couldn’t comb it and made an for 6 to have it done.

Found the others playing gin rummy in the Garden Lounge (also nice for seeing the scenery). We played some while having drinks before lunch. What a life – Harry and I read and slept all afternoon.

The four of us were invited to a cocktail party in the ballroom – the 2 staff pursers and social directors do this every night. Nice to meet some of the other foreigners.

At dinner, we had sirloin steak and the pièce de résistance, Baked Alaska, which was heavenly. Saw a good movie with Danny Kaye after which we watched the floor show, the auction for the ship’s pool (we didn’t enter – it sometimes was as high as 100 pounds).

The orchestra moves upstairs after midnight to the Veranda Grill which is open to all 1st class passengers, so we did too. It is like a night club and we understood got lively towards morning. We, however, left around 2:30. Harry and I prowled around the decks and down to the cabin class but could find no activity.

Again we couldn’t sleep and at 4, took sleeping pills. Then the ship began to really roll making it more difficult to sleepIn 1955 during an annual overhaul at Southampton, England, Queen Elizabeth was fitted with underwater fin stabilizers to smooth the ride in rough seas. Two fins were fitted on each side of the hull. The fins were retractable into the hull to save fuel in smooth seas and for docking.. The roll accounts for my very poor writing now. Actually the waves don’t appear to be very high tho’ we can see white caps but there is (are) ground swells which cause the rolling.

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Jul 29, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

QE, Day 3

We really got in the swing of things – slept until noon. Had coffee in our room, took a couple of turns around deck before lunch. Allen and I played bridge with a woman – I can’t say much for the game but it was pleasant. After a couple of martinis, Harry and i took to the bed again, resting until dinner. The 4 of us entered the fancy hat contest at the dance as “The Four Roses”. Everyone wins – we got Queen Elizabeth souvenirs.

After the dance, we (Harry and I) went down to the cabin class dance. The music was much better – there were many young people. We were late getting to sleep again but it was the first time I’d been able to without a pill.

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Jul 30, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

QE, Last Full Day

I got up in time to attend Church of England services – even so, was late and the main lounge was so crowded, I had to stand. The staff captainThis description is about an RCI Staff Captain; I'm sure it's similar for all: 'The Staff Captain is known as the ship's sheriff, priest and judge. He deals with any conflict issues arising onboard, including crew vs. crew, crew vs. passenger, or passenger vs. passenger issues.' With 2,100 passengers and 930 crew onboard, the ship is a pulsating organism, focusing on safety and guest satisfaction.' As such, conflicts and frictions do arise, so a key part of the job is counseling, coaching and teaching to find a solution that satisfies everyone involved. If satisfactory resolution of crew issues is ultimately not possible, he is involved in the final decision, which in some cases can lead to the dismissal of the crew member. conducted – he was very good.

Allen and I played gin rummy before lunch and bridge afterwards. He’d won 2nd prize yesterday – received some handkerchiefs. We asked the McClarens to play with us – they were only fair. We finished only two rubbers and Allen won first!

I rested and bathed and joined the others in the observation lounge for drinks before dinner. Afterwards we went to the movie and I played a little bingo. Read for a while and went to sleep easily.

We truly hate to leave this lazy, luxurious life. The service is so superb – it’s been so restful – we’re really spoiled. Tho’ we really haven’t gotten to know any of the other passengers real well, I feel as if we could have if we’d half tried. We exchange polite conversation with many and have a nodding acquaintance with many others. The British are more reserved and keep to themselves but even they nod and speak.


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Jul 31, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

By Ship, By Train and By Taxi

This was Monday, exactly a week after leaving Waco, and it was a long day. We packed our bags before breakfast, it taking one hour – we’ll have to do better than that. By breakfast I was already tired – wrote letters afterwards – then played gin with Allen and watched the boat dock at Cherbourg. It was very interesting. We were met by a travel agent who had put our bags in the train compartment. He couldn’t understand our French – how discouraging! For lunch we ordered special – escargot (in butter and garlic), chocolate souffle which they serve with cream & chocolate sauce.

The train ride was delightful. In our compartment an Austrian lady (Vienna) Mme. Henn, and her daughter who had spent a year at the University of Colorado as a Fulbright student – a KKG! Both were lovely, tho’ we couldn’t converse with the mother. Their troubles locating their baggage and making their train connection in Paris became ours.

Also on the train, a very nice Dutchman, Max Drukker, and a Canadian girl, Martha Nempton [Mempton?]., who had been on the ship, visited with us. We shared our drinks and cheese with them all and Mr. Drukker treated us to wine in the dining car.

The countryside was lovely. Most of the passengers hung out the windows at first waving at the people by the wayside who all looked as if the train came thru once a month instead of once a week. Flowers in windows, baby prams, bicycles, workers in fields mowing and baling – all very colorful and pretty. Little red houses, church spires, hedge rows, cows, etc. – you couldn’t get enough of looking.

It is a 5-hour train ride, putting us in Paris at 8:30, just at dusk. We followed the Seine for awhile and when I saw the Eiffel Tower, I recognized it with a yelp. We saw the Sacre Couer too before the train stopped at Gare LazareParis Saint-Lazare is one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris. It is the second busiest train station in Europe with 100,000,000 passengers transiting every year, also second station in Paris, behind the Gare du Nord. It handles 450,000 passengers each day... Wikipedia.

We were met promptly by the courier but then our troubles began. The porter took our bags and disappeared, we waiting in long lines, there being only an occasional taxi for hundreds of people. We finally got the Austrians into a taxi with about 5 minutes to catch their train. Later, we finally climbed into a taxi (the courier and bags in another) and whirled the few blocks to the Hotel de Paris, only to find that we had no rooms. We had loads of mail from Waco but no rooms. After much haranguing, we taxied (2 cars again) to the Hotel Castiglione, arriving about 10:30, tired, upset, hungry and thirsty.

But it was a relief to read the letters – from Serena, Bud & Nelwyn, Kacka, Mrs. Bartley, Bill Abeel. And it was more relaxing and cheerful to have some drinks in the Early’s room. We walked to the Rond-Point on the Champs Elysees, found a sidewalk cafe open and had sandwiches & wine. We tried to bargain with the driver of a horse & carriage for a ride to the hotel but he wouldn’t come down from 2,000 francs and we caught a taxi for 300 francs.

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