Tags " train"
Jul 31, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

By Ship, By Train and By Taxi

This was Monday, exactly a week after leaving Waco, and it was a long day. We packed our bags before breakfast, it taking one hour – we’ll have to do better than that. By breakfast I was already tired – wrote letters afterwards – then played gin with Allen and watched the boat dock at Cherbourg. It was very interesting. We were met by a travel agent who had put our bags in the train compartment. He couldn’t understand our French – how discouraging! For lunch we ordered special – escargot (in butter and garlic), chocolate souffle which they serve with cream & chocolate sauce.

The train ride was delightful. In our compartment an Austrian lady (Vienna) Mme. Henn, and her daughter who had spent a year at the University of Colorado as a Fulbright student – a KKG! Both were lovely, tho’ we couldn’t converse with the mother. Their troubles locating their baggage and making their train connection in Paris became ours.

Also on the train, a very nice Dutchman, Max Drukker, and a Canadian girl, Martha Nempton [Mempton?]., who had been on the ship, visited with us. We shared our drinks and cheese with them all and Mr. Drukker treated us to wine in the dining car.

The countryside was lovely. Most of the passengers hung out the windows at first waving at the people by the wayside who all looked as if the train came thru once a month instead of once a week. Flowers in windows, baby prams, bicycles, workers in fields mowing and baling – all very colorful and pretty. Little red houses, church spires, hedge rows, cows, etc. – you couldn’t get enough of looking.

It is a 5-hour train ride, putting us in Paris at 8:30, just at dusk. We followed the Seine for awhile and when I saw the Eiffel Tower, I recognized it with a yelp. We saw the Sacre Couer too before the train stopped at Gare LazareParis Saint-Lazare is one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris. It is the second busiest train station in Europe with 100,000,000 passengers transiting every year, also second station in Paris, behind the Gare du Nord. It handles 450,000 passengers each day... Wikipedia.

We were met promptly by the courier but then our troubles began. The porter took our bags and disappeared, we waiting in long lines, there being only an occasional taxi for hundreds of people. We finally got the Austrians into a taxi with about 5 minutes to catch their train. Later, we finally climbed into a taxi (the courier and bags in another) and whirled the few blocks to the Hotel de Paris, only to find that we had no rooms. We had loads of mail from Waco but no rooms. After much haranguing, we taxied (2 cars again) to the Hotel Castiglione, arriving about 10:30, tired, upset, hungry and thirsty.

But it was a relief to read the letters – from Serena, Bud & Nelwyn, Kacka, Mrs. Bartley, Bill Abeel. And it was more relaxing and cheerful to have some drinks in the Early’s room. We walked to the Rond-Point on the Champs Elysees, found a sidewalk cafe open and had sandwiches & wine. We tried to bargain with the driver of a horse & carriage for a ride to the hotel but he wouldn’t come down from 2,000 francs and we caught a taxi for 300 francs.

Tagged with:
Aug 4, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris to Avignon

This was one morning we both got up early to pack & dress & eat. I went down to the beauty parlor & had my hair brushed out and redone.

We four met and caught a bus to the Louvre and with the Holiday book in hand, took a very brief tour thru. Saw the Winged Victory, Venus, some frescos of Fra Angelio, Botticelli, the Grand Gallery- Raphael, da Vinci (Mona Lisa), Medici gallery. On our way out – after only an hour, I just happened on the 2 Slaves of Michelangelo – thrilled to pieces over seeing them.

no images were found

We had a hasty lunch at sidewalk cafe at hotel and left for Gare de Lyons. Had to carry our own bags halfway to train before getting a porter. Found our car (not a Pullman afterall) and had a restful trip (6 hours) to Avignon – lovely countryside again – fascinating to watch. Bill and JoannThis would be Bill Abeel and his wife. Bill was a childhood and lifelong friend of dad's. He lived in San Francisco and was very successful. His mother is the 'Mrs. Abeel' referred to in Paris.  met us in his Citroen, took us to Hotel d’Europe for an aperitif (vin blanc Chassis) and a brief tour of Avignon & a long drive thru countryside to Le Mas St. siste. We sat in the courtyard for drinks, had dinner upstairs in dining room (above kitchen) – many courses, much wine and conversation. Le Mas is charming – old and quaint – much is unfinished but much has been done.

To bed very late to the sound of Bill’s playing guitar – he’s very accomplished – the setting was very romantic.

Tagged with:
Aug 5, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Avignon to Cannes

We slept late, had coffee & rolls in our robes in the courtyard – very leisurely & lazed the morning away taking pictures, talk, talk, talking. Toured the grounds – beautiful tress, vineyards, Alpines in every direction. Became very fond of Claude-Jones (the dog), Henri (the 15-yr-old who helps out), Irienne (the maid), Jeanne-Luke (her son) – also cats, doves, ducks! Gave Irienne a pair of stockings, Henri – cigarettes, Jeanne-Luke – American coins.

Lunched very late in courtyard & all took naps. Bill & JoAnn couldn’t have been nicer hosts – everything was just delightful.

We went into Avignon in time to have an aperitif before the train arrived. We only had time to say hello to Mrs. Abeel and Hugh before we boarded. This time there was a Pullman – tables were set up for dinner and we were served in rapid succession a very good 7-course dinner. Harry and I playing gin rummy until we got to Cannes. Harry didn’t think the Pullman chairs as comfortable as the others but I was very comfortable.

At the train station, we found a porter and a station wagon from the Martinez, so had no trouble getting to the hotel. Allen & J were in the bar so we had some drinks with them and a young girl from California and read our letters from Serena, Bud, Kacka and Jesse.

Tagged with:
Aug 15, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Florence to Venice

The weather today was much better – more like Paris. Jeannette was still shaky so Allen, Harry & I left her at the hotel and went on a tour. We caught a bus for Piazza de Marco and in the Academy of Fine Arts, saw the “David”. It is beautifully displayed in a gallery along with several other works of Michelangelo – mostly unfinished – but still very gripping & impressive.

We taxied to the Bargello or National MuseumThe Bargello, also known as the Bargello Palace, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People) is a former barracks and prison, now an art museum, in Florence, Italy. where there is another room of Michelangelo’s works – the Bacchus, David – Apollo, a Madonna with Child, bust of Brutus. This museum too was fascinating – many sculptures, armor, guns, etc. Hard to leave.

We went to Pza. d. Signoria and had a beer – the crowd there is always interesting. Then went to Ponte Vecchio looking at the shops, made a couple of small purchases, and walked back to the hotel.

Jeannette was much better – in fact, had done some shopping. We ate, rested, packed and left on the train at around 4:30, arriving Venice at around 7:20. Allen & I played gin almost the whole way. The countryside was lovely as usual – vineyards, olive groves, peach orchards. Sometimes we went thru miles of tunnels thru mountains.

We arrived just at sunset & went to the Hotel Luna by a long gondola trip. The absence of traffic noises was amazing – but to see how the gondolier maneuvered was equally amazing.

We found our hotel right off the Grand Canal and only a few steps from St. Mark’s square. Our room was disappointingly modern – not atmospheric as you might suspect. But I’m only kidding – it was air-conditioned & fully furnished – even to a large piece of porcelain in each bedside table we didn’t know what to do with. Our bathrooms look European – completely marble, the bidet (of course) a sky light, and a towel as large as a sheet.

We had drinks in the hotel bar and ate outside – the walk outside our our patio seemed to be a a main thoroughfare. After dinner we joined the traffic to St. Mark’s Square. We had heard music coming from there during dinner – to our amazement, there was a huge symphony orchestra, hundreds of people milling around, tables set up out around the square. We sat for awhile – I had coffee then Tchaikovsky’s 4th lulled Harry to sleep so we folded.

Tagged with:
Pages:123»