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Aug 24, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Baden-Baden to Heidelburg

We got away from Baden-Baden about 10:30 and had a swift drive on the autobahn to Heidelburg. The hotel was the ShreiderMark Twain and his family came to Heidelburg & the Hotel Shreider for a day in 1978 and stayed for 3 months., on Bismark Platz, right in the middle of town. After lunch, we drove up to the Castle and saw the “Grosse Fosse” – largest barrel in the world. Walked around the terraces & thru the museum. Much of the castle is in ruins The castle was not a WWII casualty but rather destroyed by a fire caused by a lightning strike in 1537 and during the 30 years war in the late 1600's.and was rather depressing – to me.

We came down off the mountain & Harry & I got out & walked the length of the main street, the Haupt Strasse, looking for a wine press. I found some pretty candles to buy as gifts & he finally found his press.

Herr & Fraulein Helbig, Franz’s parentsFrank was a foreign exchange student that Allen, Jeannette & Bill hosted for a year. He has remained lifelong friends of the family., came to the hotel at 6. They were very attractive & could both speak some English – so we were all very gay & friendly. They & the Early’s exchanged gifts.

At their suggestion we ate dinner at the Perkes Hotel on Haupt Strasse – very good food & much beer. Every time a new barrel is opened, the lion roars. Then we went to a Student Inn by the University Founded in 1387, Heidelberg is Germany's oldest university– very old. It was small & crowded but lots of fun. Harry & I left the others & rode back to the hotel on a trolley.

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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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Sep 2, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

On Board, Day 2

We are sitting at a table for six in the dining room. There are two young girls, one a High School senior & the other in college, from New York City, who have been in France for 2 months studying French. The fifth is a lone man from Venezuela who can’t speak English and consequently contributes nothing. The sixth makes up for him – she is a quite talkative older woman from Wisconsin who is finishing up a 2 month round-the-world cruise.

We ate breakfast in the dining room after which it took me an hour to fill out our declaration form. The weather is mostly bad – continually cloudy & foggy with rain occasionally – too bad to sit outside. After lunch, Harry went to the movie while I napped, & then I went to the movie while he napped. We met our three girl friends in the bar – Frances however is a poor sailor and had to leave us periodically.

After dinner, Harry & I worked on a fancy hat for me to wear in the contest – a cone-shaped hat made of the London Times with passport, Landing card, declaration, luggage sticker, empty check books all fastened to it with safety pins & topped by the U.S. flag (made with lipstick & eye shadow) and one lone dollar bill. It was entitled “Landing Gear” & won 2nd prize, a traveling clock!

We partied with the same 3 girls and the Platts – mostly watching the dancing as it was too difficult to keep our footing.

At midnight each night on the Westbound trip, all clocks are turned back an hour – a little less confusing than the 3 20 minute changes made on the Eastbound trip.

We had a nice surprise at lunch the first day. We received another bar credit from Margaret Barcus – a very welcome gift, broke as we are.

We have learned that the ship won’t dock until 3 o’clock on the 5th making it impossible for us to get a plane to Waco that day. In view of the fact, that we will stop at the Bill Trippets, I’ve been buying in the shop a few little gifts for them. The shop is pretty good – quite a lot of things – and the prices, tho’ probably a little higher than in Europe, are still lower than at home.

We’ve gotten used to our small quarters – I’ve learned to wash out clothes in sections – and we spend a lot more time upstairs – which is good for us. We’ve gotten to know a lot more people. We have to go down the hall to bathe but that really isn’t inconvenient – we do have a toilet and wash basin in the room.

Our room steward & stewardess are very good but the rest of the personnel are way behind those in First Class and the service, tho’ adequate, is not nearly as good. The same things are available but in less glamorous surroundings.

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