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Aug 1, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 1

Our hotel room overlooked Rue Faubourg St. Honore – there was so much traffic I didn’t see how we’d sleep but I slept like a baby. While having our Continental breakfast in the room, we dressed and packed as we were being moved back to the Hotel de ParisI contacted the current-day Hotel de Paris to see if they were the same one that mother would have mentioned. They replied, 'in reply to your mail , we are pleased to inform you that our establishment was HOTEL DE PARIS since 1837 .'. The tour picked us up at the hotel and we got on a bus and saw “Moderne Paris” – some of the things dated from Napolean’s time. Place Vendome, Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysees, Bois du Boulogne, Palais de Chaillot, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Quai D’Orsay, etc. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed every minute.

After returning to L’Opera, we sat at La Cafe de la PaixCafé de la Paix (French pronunciation: kafe də la pɛ) is a famous café in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France. It was designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opéra (located across the plaza). It is said that if one sits at the café, one is bound to run into a friend or acquaintance due to the café's popularity and reputation. – on the sidewalk naturally – had beer and sandwiches. Our hotel is just a short walk and we found our rooms (unmade) adjoining and overlooking Blvd. de la Madelaine. French doors onto a small balcony right over a sidewalk cafe. We are well-pleased with the view and the location and the room is fairly large & comfortable. The bath is enormous & includes a bidet – no soap and terrible toilet paper but…

After a little rest & unpacking, Jeannette and I window shopped for about an hour, meeting Harry at Cafe de la Paix & later going to the one at the hotel. It is delightful just to sit and watch the people.

Allen had bought himself a beret and looked very French tho’ actually we have seen very few of them and he had a hard time finding it.

Allen and I figured out the Metro (subway) – we had only a block to walk to catch it at the Madelaine church and without any trouble arrived at our stop at Montmartre. We rode the funicular up to the Sacre Couer and the view was superb – overlooking all of Paris. We walked on to the Place de TertreThe Place du Tertre is a square in Paris' XVIIIe arrondissement. Only a few streets away from Montmartre's Basilica of the Sacré Cœur and the Lapin Agile, it is the heart of the city's elevated Montmartre quarter. With its many artists setting up their easels each day for the tourists, the Place du Tertre is a reminder of the time when Montmartre was the mecca of modern art. At the beginning of the 20th century, many penniless painters including Picasso and Utrillo were living there. and it was very gay. We sat outside and saw more goings on – artists, musicians, many odd characters – it was simply fascinating. Allen had his silhouette cut – in 1 1/2 minutes. We ate dinner at a little place, Le Vieux Chalet, in a little patio. It was delightful – inexpensive and good steaks. Afterwards, we wandered all through the district looking at art stores and watching people. We found our way down to the Moulin Rouge, had a drink across from it. Then on the Pigalle where there are many girlie shows. But we resisted, caught the metro back to the Madelaine.

Harry used the street “W.C.” – Jeannette and I earlier (in the Vieux Chalet) had an interesting time in the W.C. there. We sat at the sidewalk cafe again before going upstairs to bed.

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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 11, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Rome, Day 3

I got up early, had breakfast alone and caught a bus to Plaza de Spagna. Had investigated the day before about cashing a check at American Embassy. Was there promptly at 9 when the doors opened, passport ready, & had no trouble getting travelers’ checks.

Had my hair done at Elizabeth Ardens – moderately conservative – met Harry and shopped. Bought glasses at Peroniyep...still open. A German-style beer garden - http://www.anticabirreriaperoni.net/storia_en.htm & browsed thru several other places.

Ate lunch at the hotel, rested, and about 5, Harry and I walked to the Grand to see the ChasesI'm guessing this is George and Eleanor Chase. After a little visit, we returned and dressed for the evening & met them at Doney’s and Bill Moss appeared again and Harry chased down Harry & Gloria Tennison & made arrangements to meet later.

We had dinner at Da Meo PataccaaIn July 1959 Remington Olmsted, an American actor and Roman by adoption, conceived and founded Meo Patacca and three other successful restaurants, turning a dream into reality: to recreate the atmosphere of a 19th century Roman tavern. In the splendid backdrop of Trastevere, the enterprising 'sor Remy' founded 'Da Meo Patacca', the typical restaurant that still looks onto the enchanting Piazza dei Mercanti, a small historic and architectural jewel of medieval Rome., an outdoor restaurant in Trasavere. Music, singing, balloons floating above the table each fastened to a wine caraffe – very gay & colorful. A man charged by on a horse regularly and eventually, they bedecked the horse with flowers & ribbons, hitched him to a cart and paraded around. Fun.

I made friends with two young couples at the next table and altho we couldn’t understand each other, we presented each other with gifts at parting.

On to Basilica Ulpia, a wonderful location near the “wedding cake” (Victor Emanuel monument) and some ruins. But it was a disappointment – the downstairs was closed, the balcony hot and we were practically the only people there.

Went by Trevi FountainThe original legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi – with your back to the fountain, throwing the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder – that will ensure a return to Rome. However, I'm not sure it worked in mother's case as I can't recall her taking any more trips there. to toss our coins in so we’ll be sure of returning and then to the downstairs bar at the Excelsior to meet Harry Tennison. Grand visit with him over drinks – they are on their way to Africa to safari.

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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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