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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 3, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 3

I got up and dressed and left Harry sleeping while I went to the breakfast room for the usual coffee & rolls. Sat with a young Spanish woman with 6-year-old daughter. We conversed in French – it was hysterical.

I had my hair done in the beauty parlor near the hotel, Joffo’s, & came out looking very odd, but very Parisienne. Harry was still abed, mal a tete from too much wine so I went on to the Champs Elysees by bus. I walked from the Rond Poinit clear to the Arch de Triomphe – quite a way. Met the South African (Britishers) couple, the Barries, and they walked part way with me. I crossed the Etoile – quite an accomplishment with all that traffic, bought a tickets, went by elevator to the top. It was a beautiful day & tho’ I wasn’t familiar enough with the landmarks to pick out many, it was a gorgeous sight – especially the 12 boulevards which come into the Arch – Etoile.

I walked to Forquet’s & met Allen & Jeannette for drinks & lunch. Harry found us in a little while. We all had cheese omelets & mixed green salad. Saw Red Buttons at an adjoining table but didn’t recognize anyone else – it’s supposed to be a fashionable spot for celebrities, business men, etc.

We returned to the hotel by cab and we were moved to still another room – the fourth we’d been in in Paris – a different one each night.

The bus for the tour picked us up – this was “Old Paris” – the Louvre, Ile de Cite, Latin Quarter, Luxenbourg, Sorbonne, Place de Bastille & Montmartre. We (J & I) enjoyed Notre Dame again with a guide. Harry and Allen were enjoying a bar. We were glad to go again to Montmartre & sit in the square. We were all dead tired and rested before meeting in Allen’s room for drinks. Mrs. Abeel & Hugh joined us. After looking forward to Le Petet Bedon (Bill Abeel’s suggestion) the concierge hadn’t made reservations. We returned to Fouquet’s, had a very elegant meal upstairs and only had to cross the Champs Elysees to the Lido. The place was packed but the show began immediately. I was very good – many bare breasts, beautiful costumes & elaborate staging – in sequence – stairs, an ice rink, a pool for a seal, revolving trapezes, even horses. Drank champagne – we had more than we could finish. Enjoyed a British couple sitting next to us from Birmingham.

Late as we were getting home, the men wanted to prowl the streets. Harry said later that business must have been poor that night ’cause they had many solicitations.

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Aug 17, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Stresa to Lucerne

Our last morning in Italy! How we’ll miss the noisy little cars & Vespas buzzing like hornets up & down the boulevard.

Our train left Stresa at 10:55 and as soon as we left the lake, we started seeing majestic mountains, some still with snow on the peaks, waterfalls, lovely villages. Allen & I played gin much to Harry’s disgust because he was getting such a kick out of the scenery. In France Harry called francs “pesos”, in Italy, he called lira “francs”. He learned to say “arrivederci” – and would lean out the window calling to no one in particular – “arrivederci, you-all!”

We had bought wine, cheese, salami and crackers for lunch on the train. At the conductor’s suggestion we changed our route & instead of going to Bern, we got on a narrow gauge train at InterlakenThe Brünig railway line (German: Brünigbahn) is a Swiss metre gauge rack railway line that links Interlaken, in the canton of Bern, with Lucerne, in the canton of Lucerne, via Brienz, Meiringen, Giswil and Alpnachstad. The line passes over the Brünigpass, using sections of the Riggenbach rack system to overcome the gradients, but with most of the line operated by normal adhesion methods. and rode over the mountain to Lucerne. It was breathtaking.

We arrived in Lucerne in a rain – our first in Europe & went to Hotel SchillerModern Day Marriott Renaissance Hotel. Nice room overlooking the street – no view of the lake or mountains. This time the bath has a shower & no bidet, there are 2 wash basins in the room, good lights, a radio, a feather quilt & 2 enormous square pillows on the bed. The toilet erupted at frequent intervals. It was dangerous to sit on it for any length of time.

Had dinner in the hotel dining room & then took a walk down to the lake. Stopped in a “kellerHer handwriting makes it difficult here. The word is in quotes and is either 'Killin' or 'Killir' or 'Killer'. I've looked online and am at a loss.” for a stinger – that is, we ordered brandy & creme de menthe & had to mix our own. We seemed to be the only tourists there – everyone else was speaking German. We haven’t decided what the official language is – we hear French & German but most Swiss, in the shops anyway, speak English too.

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Aug 20, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Innsbruck

We slept late – tho’ it was difficult with the noise of Vespas, buses, trolleys, etc. and with the sun blaring into the room – first place we haven’t had shutters.

The Early’s went on a guided tour but we took our own self-conducted walking tour, guide books in hand. The “old town” is so picturesque & not very large so we saw all we wanted to included [sic] Maximillian’s tomb with the 28 life size bronze statues. Had coffee on a balcony overlooking Rennweg Square with the fountain, Leopoldsbrunnes, right under us. In walking home through the streets near the station, we saw many buildings which had been damaged during the air raids in 1944. All the buildings around the station and the depot itself are new, so presumably all this area was destroyed & has been rebuilt.

Harry says he hasn’t seen a pretty girl since arriving in Innsbruck & doesn’t like their hair-do’s – surprisingly enough there is a “Friseur” (barber shop & beauty salon) in every block. He does, however, admire their short skirts (above the knees at times) & their figures (sometimes) in sweaters & pants. Roaring through all the little towns yesterday, he swore there was always a pretty girl at an intersection to distract him.

After dinner in the hotel dining room & a rest, we and Jeannette got in the car & took a drive around the town. Harry stopped & investigated one of the many new apartment buildings going up to see their construction – he approved of everything but the plumbing and wiring. We went up to BergiselThe Bergisel is a hill (746 m) that lies to the south of Innsbruck, Austria, in the area of Wilten, where the Sill river meets the Inn Valley. In 1809, Bergisel was the site of the four Battles of Bergisel under the command of the freedom fighter Andreas Hofer. In 1892, the Andreas Hofer monument was erected in order to commemorate the battles., saw the Andreas-Hofer monument & had a good view of the city & valley from the observation platform.

We had supper at the Hockhaus (High bldg) on the top floor in a modern pretty room with large windows on all 4 sides. There was a combo playing American tunes and lots of young people jitterbugging. It must be a popular hangout for the young Austrians – the food & wine was good and inexpensive.

The Early’s again wanted to go to the Stiftskeller (they had been too late the night before) but we went on home to bed.

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