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Jul 25, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

New York City

We managed to sleep until 9 o’clock and went with the Earlys for breakfast at Child’s. Harry, Allen and I walked over to 5th Avenue and along it for a while. We caught a bus up to the Guggenheim and, tho’ the show was not to my liking (except for a very few Picassos)According to the NYTimes, the exhibition then was a large collection of Modern Art, including pieces by Cezanne, Monet, Degas, Bonnard, Klee, Mondrian, Picasso and Schwitters. , the building itself was most interesting and, of course, most unique. If nothing else can be said for it, the construction insures your seeing every picture. As you walk down the circular ramp you can’t escape them.

We were to meet Jeannette for lunch at Rockefeller Plaza and I managed to get a little shopping done before. After a light lunch at a cafe in the Center, we taxied to the U.N. building and took a tour. It was most interesting and impressive even tho’ there were no meetings in session.

When we returned to the hotel, I did a little visiting with staff before Kelly joined us in the lounge for drinks. Later the others went to the Rainbow Room for drinks while I bathed and rested. When I joined them, we went to a French restaurant (the Champlain) for a wonderful dinner and then to Radio City Music Hall. The stage show was terrific and the movie “Fanny” was good but not as good as I’d hoped.

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Aug 2, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 2

We slept until 9 o’clock, had breakfast in our room and about 10:30 struck out with the Earlys. They met some friends from Dallas near the hotel on the Madelaine – the Ed Reeds – who will be in Baden Baden when we are.

Today we tackled the bus – from the Opera to the Pont Neuf – it was easy. We wanted to do the Ile de la CiteThe Île de la Cité (French pronunciation: il də la site) is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris. It is the center of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded. on foot and on our own. So we walked from one end to the other – went through St. Chapelle – which is hard to find but lovely when you do. Then – Notre Dame – I was unprepared for its elegance & beauty even tho’ I’d read so much. It is magnificent. Jeannette walked the 287 steps Interestingly, I found references to the '300 steps' to see the gargoyles, 'nearly 400 steps' and '383 steps'. I guess by the time you get to the top, you lose count! up to the level of the gargoyles but we couldn’t make it. Harry want to buy a candle and light it for the Tiltons – so we did and then walked across to the Left Bank and looked at the boats, stalls and bought cards. We wandered down the street to Place Maubert – past all sorts of food and drink shops. Sat and had an aperitif on the square – I had Pernod/perˈnō/ Noun An anise-flavored liqueur. out of curiosity – it’s like absinthe – & I won’t do that again.

We went to a restaurant behind Les Invalides, Chez les Anges, for lunch – again had a wonderful steak – and wine of course. Harry is a hog about the wine and we’ve developed a taste. However, this restaurant served water!

We met at the Place de Pyramides the tour to Versailles. Our guide had to direct in German & English & was the peppiest cutest one imaginable. It’s about 15 miles to Versailles and the drive & weather were both pretty. Versailles is quite a large town & has some lovely houses, gardens, avenues lined with trees. But Versailles was most impressive – we walked through several rooms & then in the gardens but oh – our feet were hurting. It was most memorable tho’ – very well worth it.

Upon returning, Harry and I went to the flower market at the Madelaine & picked out a bouquet for Mrs. Abeel. At the hotel when trying to arrange for them to be put in her room, we learned that, sure enough, they’d cancelled her room with bath. Harry stewed and argued & we finally moved out of our own and into hers.

We met the Earlys at les Deux Magots (St. Germain-de-Pru) – which Bill Abeel had recommended & had several apertifs. I was determined to go for dinner where there was French music and a chanteuseA female singer; often specifically a popular or cabaret singer. So turned and asked a girl at the next table. She spoke no English but gave me 2 names of places. The first was closed – many places are for August – the second had gendarmes, machine guns, paddy wagons & we thought the Tunisians were at it againThis probably referred to the Bizerte Crisis, which occurred in July 1961 when Tunisia imposed a blockade on the French naval base at Bizerte, Tunisia, hoping to force its evacuation. The crisis culminated in a three-day battle between French and Tunisian forces that left some 630 Tunisians and 24 French dead and eventually led to France ceding the city and naval base to Tunisia in 1963.. But all calmed down & we entered the cave – night club – Le Grand Severin. It was small but elegant. There was music and chanteurs (all Negro), and a tiny dance floor.

I started talking to the people at the next table & they helped us order and were tres amiable all night. The men kissed our hands when we left. We had another excellent meal with wine and were very festive. Harry and I had some kind of fowl in sauce – delicious, but A & J had kebabs and some very tasty rice. My desert was strawberries Alaska – also good. Came back to the hotel in a cab and found Mrs. Abeel already settled. It was so good to see her. We then woke Hugh up & while he dressed I went on down to the sidewalk cafe. I began talking to a young man to prove to Harry I could do all right on my own. The man was from Greece, spoke no English but we conversed in French. He was scared out of his wits when Harry and Hugh joined us but bravely stayed and we had a grand time.

Harry insisted I go on to bed while he & Hugh walked to Cafe de la Paix. He came in much later just delighted with himself – they had had two propositions.

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Aug 4, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris to Avignon

This was one morning we both got up early to pack & dress & eat. I went down to the beauty parlor & had my hair brushed out and redone.

We four met and caught a bus to the Louvre and with the Holiday book in hand, took a very brief tour thru. Saw the Winged Victory, Venus, some frescos of Fra Angelio, Botticelli, the Grand Gallery- Raphael, da Vinci (Mona Lisa), Medici gallery. On our way out – after only an hour, I just happened on the 2 Slaves of Michelangelo – thrilled to pieces over seeing them.

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We had a hasty lunch at sidewalk cafe at hotel and left for Gare de Lyons. Had to carry our own bags halfway to train before getting a porter. Found our car (not a Pullman afterall) and had a restful trip (6 hours) to Avignon – lovely countryside again – fascinating to watch. Bill and JoannThis would be Bill Abeel and his wife. Bill was a childhood and lifelong friend of dad's. He lived in San Francisco and was very successful. His mother is the 'Mrs. Abeel' referred to in Paris.  met us in his Citroen, took us to Hotel d’Europe for an aperitif (vin blanc Chassis) and a brief tour of Avignon & a long drive thru countryside to Le Mas St. siste. We sat in the courtyard for drinks, had dinner upstairs in dining room (above kitchen) – many courses, much wine and conversation. Le Mas is charming – old and quaint – much is unfinished but much has been done.

To bed very late to the sound of Bill’s playing guitar – he’s very accomplished – the setting was very romantic.

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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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