Tags " tour"
Aug 12, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Florence, Day 1

Our tour started at 9 and our  first stop was was at the Medici chapels. The chapel done by Michelango is very simple but handsome – the sculpture of course is wonderful. The room forms a perfect background for the tombs & the figures. Then to the Baptistry & Cathedral – the outside of both are sticking with green, red, white marble but the inside’s ornate & uninteresting. We found the Pieta in the Duomo – then left to get refreshments outside. Took a beautiful drive across the Arno up into the hills to Piazza Michelangelo and Pitti PalaceA vast mainly Renaissance palace, situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions.. The latter contains an art gallery with some very famous works – 2 of Raphael’s Madonnas, Titians, Van Dyck, too many to absorb properly. Walked thru some of the rooms on my own – very handsome, elaborate chandeliers, hangings, chests, vases, etc.

After lunch at the hotel, more touring. The Uffizi Gallery – a tremendous one – with a most comprehensive collection. Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Filippino Lippi, Michelangelo’s Family, Raphael, Titian’s two Venus’s Reclining – but my feet gave out – the gallery has marble floors – very hard on the feet.

A long drive to Fiezols restored us – it was lovely in the day time – and then Harry & I left the tour. Went to Piazza della Signoria where some vino blanco revived us. I went shopping – prowled many streets & into many stores. Bought Christmas cards at Dilta Frangini which the Joe Kendricks had recommended, and a blouse at Bellini. Everyone here wears the beautiful silk over-blouses with pleated or straight skirts – I couldn’t resist any longer.

After a bath & drinks, we went over to Piazza della Stazione for aperitifs at an open air cafe and then to a nearby cellar restaurant, Buca MarioThe Buca Mario Restaurant was founded 1886. This is when its first owner and founder Mario Corsini decided to house a place in the Palazzo Niccolini's cellars where soup and ribollita could be served, along with a wine cavern.. Another very good meal – we have yet to have a poor one in Italy. This time I had Ravioli stuffed with spinach.

Jeannette got sick & had to leave. Harry & I taxied to Piazza della Replublica and sat and listened to the music and singing over coffee & brandy. We made friends with the couple next to us – Italians on a holiday from Trenta. We had a lot of fun trying to converse – me with my Berlitz he with a few words he’d learned in “P.W.O” camp. We exchanged addresses, promised to write.

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Aug 15, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Venice, Day 1

Harry & I had breakfast in our room, joined the tour downstairs outside the hotel. It was a ‘walking’ tour of St. Marks Square, the Cathedral & the Doge’s Palace. But to our surprise, it was much easier on the feet than we had expected – benches in every room of the Palace. The last part of the tour was a motor ride to Murano to see how the Venetian glass is blown. It was fascinating to watch and to do! Harry pushed me up to volunteer first to blow some glass; naturally I did itMy kingdom for a picture!! – and after you blow & blow – the strike the glass & break it. All this is a come-on to buy – so I did – a dozen gobletsWish I knew where these are/if she liked them/if we still have them!! I do hope I like them when they get to Waco – some several weeks hence. All are hand-made (or hand blown) of course and etched.

Back in Venice we bought some beads for Willie MaeOur housekeeper and one of my keepers while they were on this trip. Family will know this, because I harp on it, but I was only 2 when they went on this 6 week journey. in a store – then around the corner found the same for about 1/2 as much at the stand outside our hotel. After having some drinks, we decided to go to St. Mark’s at 2 for the pigeons. It was wild – the air was thick with them and like the tourists we are, we bought grain and fed them & took pictures.

Had light lunch at the hotel, then a gondola tour along the grand canal with a stop at one old palace – Rozzonico – wehre Robert Browning had stayed and died.

We walked back thru St. Mark’s Square – such commotion – hundreds of tourists, bands playing. I believe there are more tourists here than any place we’ve been – or else it seems that way because they’re all concentrated in or near the Square. And what an assortment of people – all nationalities , all kinds of dress – it defies description.

We changed clothes and caught a bus (motor boat) to Lido just at sunset – we had a lovely view of both Venice & Lido. We looked at the beach with its hundreds of cabanas, had a drink in the Excelsior bar, went thru the Casino, then motored back to Venice. A French couple sat with us and we made friends with them on the way back – they spoke a little English. He was a surgeon in Paris.

We had dinner at the hotel – 4 courses leaving us miserably stuffed. Desert was “Doge’s Kirsch” a specialty, fixed at the table & lighted. Harry & I took a couple of turns around St. Mark’s to walk some off & to hear the orchestra – the music was so good. But we were too tired for anything else & retired early.

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Aug 20, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments


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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