Tags " bus"
Aug 11, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Rome to Florence

We walked to the train station – only a block away – and found our seats on the train. It looked like a new one – air-conditioned – swankier than the Mistral – but much rougher. Harry said it was much lighter weight. Had an excellent meal, arrived Florence at around 2 – it was hot there also.

Can’t say much for the Hotel Astoria – also near the station – but we did get an air-conditioned room. We all slept or rested until 4, then got out and walked.

It was such a contrast with Rome – much more informal – small townish but completely charming. We easily found our way to the Duomo, Piazza della Republica, Piazza della Signoria, and then to Ponte Vechio. I went directly to Biagini which Becky had recommended and bought a bracelet for Serena and some charms. Harry and I wandered around & I found a sweet dress for Fay & bought some handkerchiefs at the same time.

We had a beer in the Piazza della Signoria – where there are many famous statues – and a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Harry got our courier to interpret for him and bought a “Tappatrice”, an instrument to cork wine bottles, and the corks. He was so pleased with his purchase – his first in EuropeThis must have been during the wine-making phase that he and Bud went through. Not to be confused with the still they had in the basement 30 years earlier or the beer-making phase or the bread-making phase..

With the Earlys, we walked to Piazza S. Marco and caught the trolley bus to Fiezols. It was dark so all we cold see were the lights of Florence but we were high above it. Ate dinner at Hotel Aurora – outside  in a patio – where we could look down over the city.

Back down by trolley bus and back to the hotel by taxi. I was dead tired & sleepy & ready for bed. Allen & J walked to Piazza della Republica to listen to the music.

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Aug 27, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Cologne to London

We were taken to the airport terminal by Cadillac, then to the airport by bus (an hour’s ride). We were to fly tourist class on Lufthansa but the had oversold it and as we were among the last checking in, we were put in first class. It was an hour & half flight to London – we were served coffee or a sandwich, given a bottle of Schnapps, a newspaper, our post cards were mailed free. Also a duty-free wagon was wheeled by with cigarettes, perfume, whiskey, etc. We had bought cigarettes (Winston) duty free at the airport for $1.75 a carton.

It had been cloudy & raining at Cologne but was clear & sunny in England. Went easily through customs & into town on another bus. Flowers everywhere here as on the continent – baby carriages prolific too. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to their driving on the “wrong” side of the street.

We were met at the terminal and taken to Mount Royal via one of the funny-looking cabs – there is no left hand door & the luggage is put in on that side. Our hotel is near Marble Arch & Hyde Park on Oxford St. – a tremendous hotel & a large room.

We had a sandwich in the room, unpacked & rested, then met the Early’s in the lobby. Rode a double-decker bus to Westminster Bridge – seeing many familiar names on the way. Rode down the Thames on an excursion boat to Greenwich seeing many landmarks along the way. The guide who point out things of interest was as hard to understand as the guides in Paris or Rome – his English wasn’t like ours! Twas Cockney! After the river trip, we caught another bus to the City of London, going thru Strand, Fleet St. to the Bank. But this turned out to be a mistake – the bars don’t open until 7 on Sundays – if at all. We wandered around through an old & interesting part of town – practically alone in the streets & finally found a “pub” open to try our first English beer.

Our destination was Simpsons where Bud had recommended but it was closed on Sunday. We rode a bus back to the Strand – found another pub open – with real character. Still looking for a restaurant, we walked to Leicester Square. It was full of activity – people of all races & types – mixed couples (black & white). Harry wanted chicken so we lucked into a cafeteria, leaving the Early’s to find a ritzier place while we ate.

After eating, we walked to Trafalgar Square to see the monument & fountains lighter. Then by the aid of the map, we rode the subway to Marble Arch, transferring once. The subways are easy to figure out, as are the buses. We must have set some kind of record today – we rode so many different kinds of vehicles.

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Aug 29, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

London, Day 2

This was another hot day – up to 85° – and it really was hot in the sun. Harry and I shopped all morning – wandered through Selfridge’s, then to Bond Street to look at antique jewelry. Found a store on Hanover Street with a lot to choose from. I bought a charm for Kacka and a pin for myself – both antique.

We stopped for a beer at a table outside – the sign said “Licensed” but had had to order food to get beer served. So Harry obliged – he’s always willing to help out. But his reward was from a pigeon perched above us – it’s a wonder it hasn’t happened before, as many pigeons as we’ve seen all over Europe.

We went back to the hotel and Harry & Allen went to see part of a cricket game before the afternoon tour.

Jeannette and I had lunch and met them at the sightseeing office. We visited St. Paul’s Cathedral & the Tower of London. There were so many people waiting in line to see the Crown Jewels & it was so hot, we decided not to wait to see them.

Instead we went into the white Tower – a museum for a while. Took some pictures of the “Beef-Eater” guards and one of me standing by one in a tall bearskin hat. [too bad that picture is nowhere to be found]

Back at the hotel, Harry & I bathed & rested & had sandwiches sent up. We met the Early’s at the theater at Piccadilly Circus – the theater was underground, much to our surprise – small & rather stuffy. But we saw such a cute play, “The Irregular Verb to Love,” a comedy with very clever lines – most enjoyable. After a drink in a nearby bar, we caught a bus back to the hotel.

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Aug 30, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

London, Day 3

We awoke feeling much less tired & after breakfast struck out for Harrod’s. Harry wanted to look at the Sports Dept & I looked at china. It’s a marvelous store – we must have spent an hour looking – and buying – a few odds & ends. Went over to Beauchamp St. and found an antique silver shop where we spent another hour. This man turned out to be a brother of the man we bought from in the silver vaults. Found a tray for Mrs. Spurgin and the flat silver Bud & Nelwyn want – in case they’d like to order it.

Dropped our packages by the hotel & then went to the Old Chessire Cheese for a lunch. It was ‘steeped’ in atmosphere. Dr. Johnson & Dickens had frequented it. We had to wait & in the 3rd floor bar met a family from Newton, Mass – the Sylvesters – who are also going on the Queen Elizabeth. We ate with them – I finally had a kidney pie – it also had beef, mushrooms & venison.

Harry wanted to go to Lillywhite – a sporting goods store at Piccadilly – but we didn’t find anything there – went across the street to a tiny store & found a cute plaid skirt for Serena.

Back to Charing Cross to meet the Early’s & catch a commuter train for Blackheath, near Greenwich, to see JoBetsy’s cousin, Susan Corner Cotton. He is a retired Army Colonel & the only child at home is a 15-year old daughter, Sally. They were so nice – took us to their house for tea & a very pleasant visit.

We got back to town at the peak of the rush hour but managed to get on a bus. The people ‘queue’ up here for buses – and at the rush hours, the sidewalks are lined with long lines. Traffic is heavy at all times. We enjoyed our bus rides, particularly when on the top deck from where you could see more.

After a couple hours rest, Harry & I went to Simpsons on the Strand. The Early’s weren’t feeling up to going with us – and they missed the best meal we had in London – with the best service – and in the nicest atmosphere. The close at 10 so we were home early and got our packing behind us, watching Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in a movie on TV.

I’ve so enjoyed London – it’s a pity to have had such a brief stay. The people were friendly and helpful & it was relaxing not to have to struggle with a foreign language. We saw such attractive people – tho still plenty of wild hair do’s , as in France & Italy – and some very stylish women. The skirts are as short as on the Continent. I suppose the dowdiest we saw were in Germany – the hats were comical!

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