1955 Summer in Europe
Fred Gielow. Posted here for April 22, 2024.

The road back home
The road back home

During the summer of 1955 at the tender age of 20, I was fortunate enough to go on a Cook's Tour of Europe. I also attended a YMCA conference and visited with family friends. My schedule:
June 14 - 15: Take A train from Detroit to New York City.
June 15 - 16: On my own in New York City.
June 16 - 24: Take A ship to England, then train to London.
June 24 - 27: On my own in London.
June 27 - August 9: Join Cook's Tour of England, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and France.
August 9 - August 12: On my own in Paris.
August 12 - 23: Attend THE YMCA Centennial Conference.
August 23 - September 5: Visit the Pots (family friends) in Slikkerveer, Netherlands.
September 5 - September 16: Take A ship from Rotterdam to New York City.
September 16 - September 16: Fly back home to Detroit.
Text below in parentheses, (), is as originally recorded in my log. Text in brackets, [], has been added for clarity or to provide additional information. I took all the photos included here (except the two group photos).

My log

June 14, 1955

[I got to] the NY Central train [at the Detroit station] with time to spare, although we left the house 3/4 hour late. Watched Mom, Dad, and [my good friend] John Lama make faces at me, and I made faces back until a little after 5:15, when the train pulled out. In a few minutes, I was in Canada and on the way.

At five minutes after seven, the train pulled into St. Thomas for a short stop, then we were off again. Welland was the next stop about 8:50 pm. At 9:10 we were at Fort Erie. There was a long wait with lots of stops around Buffalo at about 9:55.

I decided to get a little shut-eye at quarter of eleven, but didn't finally get to sleep until 12:30 in the morning because of a family of loud-mouthed kids, numerous stops, and two men who decided to talk (very loudly) all night.

June 15, 1955

I woke up about 5:40 [and] watched the scenery go by until about 7:15 am, when we pulled into [New York's] Grand Central Station.

Grand Central Station
[Notice that the flag only has 48 stars.]

I took a taxi to the Hotel Weston, to find that there were no rooms available as yet, so I just started to walk. After a while, I got my bearings and found the Dave Garroway Show, "Today." A little after the show ended, I made my way back to the hotel and got my room, number 1207.

Much to my surprise, I found a television set in the room. It didn't work when I turned it on, but I finally got it going (the plug was out). I forgot to mention that I ate at Howard Johnson's, breakfast, that is. I only had a bag of potato chips and peanuts for supper on the train.

After a look or two at the TV, I again started to walk. I hit Rockefeller Center, took a picture, then went over to the United Nations building and got a couple more shots. On the way back, at 1:05, I found myself in the middle of an air raid drill and was whisked back into the UN building.

After the drill, I stopped in to eat at an Automat. I then walked to the Empire State Building for another picture and by the time I got back to the hotel, I was a little pooped [that is, tired]. I turned on the TV and relaxed a bit. I called the Port of NY Authority and found out where to catch the bus for the [Steamship] Maasdam. I put the stickers on the bags and got things ready for sailing. By that time, it was six o'clock and time for dinner.

I ate dinner at a nice place somewhere around 60th Street, a block or two west of Park Avenue. The beef was a good inch think, and the whole dinner was swell. After dinner, I walked to Times Square and shot a couple of pictures. Then I came back to the Weston, took a shower, washed some clothes, watched TV a bit, wrote six letters or cards, wrote a bit here, and went to bed about 1:00.

June 16, 1955

At 7:00 am, the alarm went off. [Then, the telephone.] I dragged myself out of bed to answer [the phone and the message was: it's] seven [o'clock]. I turned on the TV to see the Dave Garroway show. I finished packing, got washed and dressed, and got down to check out by about 7:45. I took a taxi to the bus terminal and got a ticket for Hoboken [New Jersey]. I arrived at the dock by 8:45 and was on board the ship a little after noon.

I met a fellow, Jerry Smith, on the bus over, and we both explored the ship together, and signed up for the first setting of meals at the same table.

A little after noon, we pulled out. Taking pictures left and right, I was all eyes until about five minutes past the Statue of Liberty,

Statue of Liberty

when the lunch bell rang and we, Jerry and I, went in to have our first meal onboard the ship. And I must say, it was pretty good. The next time I got on deck, after lunch, land was out of sight.

In the afternoon, I straightened up the stateroom (I'm in with just one other fellow who's going across [the ocean] with his granddaughter) and [I] just looked around in general.

Dinner was at six and was also rather tasty. After dinner. Jerry and I talked with two girls who eat at our table. At nine-thirty, I left Jerry with another girl we had just met and [I] went in to see "The Seven Little Foys," with Bob Hope in VistaVision. It was very good.

After the movie, I went right to bed. It was about 11:15.

June 17, 1955

This morning, I got up at 7:30 in time to get breakfast at eight. After breakfast and a walk in the very cool morning air, I went to the library to write some thank-you letters. It was sort of funny: I put my writing paper in a holder in front of me and every once and a while, someone walked by and took a piece thinking it was Maasdam paper. Those that found out were terribly embarrassed, but I lost more writing paper that way.

The weather up to this point has been very nice. I talked to a passenger who said he'd never seen calmer weather. He used to be a steward on a steamship line. I've seen [that is, experienced] no signs of actual sea-sickness, but I got the illusion of dizziness since there's a slight motion. The reason is that you can't see any motion at all, but you feel it. I slept well the first night, but wherever you go there's the constant hum of the engine, running day and night.

I got all sorts of mail and gifts when I left New York. The [Jack] Coles [YMCA friends] sent a bon-voyage telegram, John [my cousin] and Aunt Ellen both sent letters (Aunt Ellen's had a ten dollar bill in it), Mom and Pop also sent letters. Several people at Pop's office sent their "good luck" [wishes]. They gave me a handkerchief and a box of candy.

I got few letters written, but did bring the log up to date. At about 10:30, I played cards with a girl that eats at the same table I do and several of her friends, both male and female. We played until noon, when we went to lunch. Another great meal . . . awfully filling, too.

After lunch I walked around a little and started to write some thank-you letters, but decided to hit the hay a bit. Fifteen minutes before dinner, I woke up. I got dressed, ate, and ate, and ate, and went out to watch the sunset. It was very pretty. I got a picture of it. I walked around a little more, talked here and there and at 9:30 went in to see the beginning of "The Seven Little Foys," which I had missed the night before. The picture was so good, though, I saw it right through. By this time, it was 11:15 and I went to bed.

June 18, 1955

Got up at 7:30, got washed, dressed, and was at the breakfast table by eight. After breakfast, I took a shower, shave, and washed a load of clothes. (The electric shaver transformer began to smoke when I plugged it in, so there must be a short in it somewhere. I checked with the steward to make sure the power [voltage] was right.)

After the washing, I walked around deck until lunch. After lunch I went out on deck and stayed there all afternoon playing shuffleboard and other deck games.

After dinner, I again watched the sunset and then returned to the cabin to write here. A little after eight, I went up to make a radiotelephone call, but found the price had gone up to $9.00, from $4.50, so I talked with the radio operator a while instead. I then went down to see the last five of ten minutes of "The Purple Mask" with Tony Curtis in CinemaScope. After that at about 9:10, I went to bed.

June 19, 1955

This morning I got up about 7:15, washed, dressed, took a stroll on deck, and ate breakfast. I then went up on the sports deck and watched the shuffleboard, ring toss, etc. Around ten, I saw a school of what looked like sharks swimming and jumping high out of the water. At 10:30, I went to the Protestant service. After the service, while I was holding the door for people to leave, a man came up to me, introduced himself, and asked me to [join him with] a drink before dinner, [at] about 5:15. It was sort of strange, I had never seen him before, but I accepted.

By that time, it was almost noon and lunchtime. After lunch, I walked around a little and went up on the sports deck to play deck tennis and charades.

At about 5:15, I came down and met the man I mentioned earlier. His name is Mr. Crocker, and he is a school teacher; history [is] his subject. We talked about nothing [of importance] until I could break away. I then got ready for dinner, ate, and walked the deck until 7:30, when I went in to see the "Purple Mask" in its entirety. When the film was over, I went out on deck for just a bit and then to bed.

June 20, 1955

Up, breakfasted, etc. by 8:30. Proceeded to get a haircut. A rather miserable job, but what can you expect for 35 cents?

After the lawn mower job, I went to the Palm Court to hear a talk on Holland. Then a walk around deck and lunch. After lunch, I went out on deck again for a while and then played cards with five or six other people, until 3:00, when I played charades with the same group I was with the day before. We finished just in time to get ready for dinner.

After dinner, I saw "Brigadoon" in the lounge. I then, following the movie, walked around deck a bit and finally found myself in the Palm Court where the dancing was. I got to bed about quartet of twelve.

June 21, 1955

Up early again, ate breakfast and went out on deck for a while. Around nine, I went to the library writing room and wrote letters. About 10:30, I got my camera and went topside to get some pictures.

The day was beautiful - sun shining, cool breeze. After lunch and another walk around deck, I played checkers, cards, and a game I made up, with a couple of girls and another fellow.

As the afternoon wore on, I felt a cold coming along. By dinner time, the cold was well established, so shortly after dinner, about 8:45, I went to bed.

June 22, 1955

This morning I woke up about seven, with the most miserable, disgusting, agonizing cold. After breakfast, I went immediately back to bed. At 11:30, I got up and prepared for lunch. After lunch, I walked around a bit, played checkers a bit, bought some stamps, and at 2:15 went to the Chief Steward's office for a tour of the engine room I had signed up for.

It was fascinating. We saw the GE turbine that supplies 8,500 horsepower to the propeller that revolves at 85 RPM. We saw ballast mechanisms, and practically a city of motors, generators, compressors, refrigeration units, boilers, and all sorts of machines and gear of every imaginable description. The turbine is located in the middle of the ship for balancing reasons, so there's over 200 feet of [propeller] shaft. This we saw fifty feet below the surface of the water. The propeller is over 20 feet in diameter. The whole tour took only about 15 or 20 minutes, but it was very interesting!

After the tour, I returned to the cabin to write another letter, rest, and write here.

The time changes are interesting. The first two days, the clocks were set ahead 30 minutes over a 24-hour period. However, they weren't moved ahead 30 minutes at midnight or very early in the morning, nor was there any one time when they were put ahead. The clocks just ran fast. In other words, the clocks would show just one hour in 58 [and] 1/4 minutes time. The third and forth days, they went ahead 45 minutes over a 24-hour period and by the end of the trip, we lost a whole hour per day.

I copied the ship's log as follows:
Date . .Run. . . . . .Wind . .Sea. . . . .Swell
6-17 . .382 miles . SW-3. .Rippled. .----
6-18 . .414 miles . ENE-2 .----. . . . . ----
6-19 . .419 miles . SW-4. .Moderate.Smooth
6-20 . .410 miles . SW. . . Moderate .----
6-21 . .416 miles . W. . . . Fresh. . . . Smooth
6-22 . .407 miles . SW . . .Moderate. .----
6-23 . .416 miles . SW . . .Moderate. .----
6-24 . .Remainder
Left New York (6-16) 12:05 pm.
Arrive Southampton (6-24) 8:05
At about five, I got dressed for dinner and went up to the library to read a magazine or two while I waited for the meal. I felt so absolutely terrible that I could hardly eat a thing. It was too bad, because it was the "Farewell Dinner," and there were noise makers, fancy paper hats, and wonderful food. Balloons and all didn't help any, and I felt so miserable that right after the meal, about 7:15, I went straight to bed, [and was] in bed by half past seven. I missed Talent Night, dancing in the Palm Court, and two movies, one of them was a Martin and Lewis film, too. I couldn't have felt much worse!

I rolled and turned, sniffing, coughing, sneezing, for what seemed [an] eternity. I didn't get to sleep until quarter of one.

June 23, 1955

I woke up early enough (actually, at about one hour intervals throughout the night) but decided not to get up for breakfast.

About 9:10 or so, I got up [and] took a shower. The shower water was wonderful, nice and warm, until I got all soaped up. Then it turned icy cold. I tried to adjust it, but it didn't work. It was either freezing cold or steaming hot. I worked with the fixture for about 1/2 to 1/4 hour before I could get a usable temperature.

I went up on deck after dressing and found [we were going to arrive] in Southampton about 7:30 am, Friday, the 24th. I talked with Lillian until lunch time. [I now have no idea who Lillian was.]

The meals are so wonderful, I must include a typical menu from dinner, June 19th:
Lobster Salad
Chilled Table Celery with Olives
Cream Boirldieu [?] (soup)
Fried Tenderloin Steak Dutch Style
Peas Tyrolienne - Young Spinach
Potatoes: Pont Neuf - baked Idaho
Boston Lettuce - Cucumbers - Tomato Salad
Roquefort Dressing
Compote of Pineapple
Mocha Ice Cream with Oublies [?]
Ginger Butter Cake
Assorted Fresh Fruit
Rolls Butter - Coffee
And the lunches were just about like the dinners. A typical lunch included soup, hamburger steak with onions (I found out later it was elephant meat [but I'm not sure I believe that]), beans, rice, potatoes, maccaroni, cold ham, canned oxtongue, fricamdemm [?] of veal, baby lamb, sausages, salad, desert, cheeses, crackers, Holland Rusks, bread, fruit, coffee, tea. You could have any or all of these things, too. We were well fed, to be sure. Once, I had three desserts.

After lunch, I wrote here for a while and then finished my letter writing and went up on deck. My cold was easing up a little.

I had more fun getting rid of the candy that was given me as a bon voyage present. I took it into lunch with me and after offering it to those at my table, I gave it to one of the table stewards who then offered it to all the other stewards. It was gone in nothing flat and I made more friends!

I walked around a little, played a game of chess, and at 2:50 went to the Chief Steward's office for a tour of the bridge, but found it cancelled because of poor visibility. So I walked around some more, took a picture, and returned to the cabin to write here and pack. Everything had to be packed and ready to go by 6:00 pm, so this was done. I wrote four postcards, too, before dinner.

After dinner, I saw the movie "Women on the Beach," with Jeff Chandler. After the movie, I went to bed, about 9:30.

June 24, 1955

This morning, I was up bright and early, 5:15, and up on deck to see land on both sides of the ship. I had seen sea gulls the day before, but this was the first glimpse of land. I watched the sights until breakfast at 6:30. We passed the Queen Mary, not sailing because of [a] strike.

I was out on deck looking around after breakfast, until we had our landing ticket punched and disembarked at about 8:30 am or so. Customs was very easy and we were on the train for London by 9:15. The train didn't pull out though, until 10:00 getting into London at 12:05 pm. What a pretty ride. Beautiful countryside, quaint little towns, and the train with its while just like [in] the movies – everything [was] just wonderful.

Let me digress a bit and say a bit more about the ship and the crossing: My cabin mate was a Dutchman returning to the country with his granddaughter. He was a very nice man, but I saw him very little. My cabin was quite small (as might be expected), about 9 x 7 feet, almost too well ventilated, a little cold all the time. The cabin steward was nothing to get excited about by any means. I tipped him only $3, whereas I tipped each waiter (for the meals) $5. They were wonderful, funny, and we had a great time. There were two of them.

The people at the table were lots of fun, we laughed and joked together, all ten of us. The weather crossing was mostly poor, it rained several times; other days [were] foggy, cloudy, misty. We had one very nice morning. That was the day I took a couple of pictures.

Back to the story. From Waterloo Station, I took a taxi to the Alexa Hotel. (Nobody knew where it was.) Inside, I found a letter from Mom, Pop, and "Aunt" Lien, and a rather spacious but slightly used room. I rather enjoyed it. I took off my things (it was very warm), sat down and read my mail, and wrote here so I wouldn't forget anything. It's lots of fun to pay in English money. You have a think fast, but it's fun. I paid the taxi driver out of a pound [note], did some quick brain work, and tipped him a shilling. He seemed relatively satisfied. He was very nice.

It was so hot and I was so tired, warm, and dirty, I decided to take a shower. Much to my surprise, I found no shower, only [a] bath tub. After [a] bath and an experience with toilet paper I'm not accustomed to, I could for the first time use my shaver. After a wrong clue (on board [the] ship from the cabin steward) that the current was AC, and nearly burning up the transformer, I got a very needed shave. I guess the bath was awfully good and I stayed there a very long time, because I wasn't out and dressed before 4:00 pm.

The handkerchiefs were still going fast with the cold, [but] it was much better, but not over by any means.

After a walk around a block or two to get my bearings, I began to look for a little place to have lunch-dinner. I was starved. It was so awfully hard to get over all the little black cars, every one on the "wrong" side of the street. The "keep to the left" business really took effect when crossing streets. I would always look where the cars "should be," and more than once I almost got hit.

There are so many bikes and I love to hear the people talk. The English [people] word things differently. One sign said, "to litter streets is an offense."

I finally found an eating place, got a good meal (if you like cardboard rolls, Campbells soups, canned vegetables, and leather meat) and had paid my bill by 6:00. The meal wasn't really that bad. Actually, I rather enjoyed it, if for no other reason than the change it offered. I decided to take a little walk around, became thirsty and stopped in at a snack bar. I made the mistake of thinking of the USA when I ordered a malt shake. That's what it was: shaken-up milk with a [malt] flavor, and [a] terrible taste.

Still thirsty, I quickly left (I finished the "shake") in search of another spot for liquid [refreshment]. After several blocks, I found one, went in, and to make sure I knew what was coming, ordered ginger ale (it was on the list).

Have you ever tasted lukewarm ginger ale? Since I had to pay for it, I drank it down, but rapidly made exit. It was about then, maybe 6:40 or so that I decided to head back to the hotel for water.

Well, that's where the funny part starts. I thought I knew where I was and could remember the streets back to the Alexa, but after an hour, I lost a good deal of confidence. [I] finally arrived [at the hotel at] 9:00 pm. I staggered up the stairs of the hotel and drank some good old H2O. After quickly writing down the experience here, I did a washing and went to bed!

June 25, 1955

[I was] up at 8:00, dressed, etc. by 8:45, breakfasted by 9:15, and out with camera and map by 9:30. First stop was the London National History Museum. I didn't want to stay too long, and finally pulled myself away at 11:30. It was fabulous. I stayed only 90 minutes, but I could have stayed 90 days. Huge exhibitions with mammoth whales over 100 feet long, dinosaur bones, African animals, birds, fish, stones, even domesticated animals, all sorts of dogs, cats, etc. Marvelous!

Right next door was the Science Museum. I didn't want to stay long there either, but there were fabulous displays on sound, light, temperature, time, measurement, electronics, chemistry, engineering, everything. There were many displays that had push buttons so you could actually operate them. For example, at a telephone demonstration, one could actually dial numbers, watch the relays operate, and hear the telephone that was dialed ring. There were so many demonstrations of principles and laws I learned in physics, they were so easy to understand with the exhibits there.

Unfortunately, a sign said, "No picture taking." I dragged myself away from the Science Museum at about twenty-five or so of three, and I had actually hurried through the museum.

I had three main objectives for the day: (1) See about the Cooks [tour I was about to join], (2) Get some more English money at a bank, and (3) do some sightseeing. Unfortunately, I found I had lost count of the days and found it was Saturday. Everything was closed: banks, Cooks (when I called, only a janitor was there), even lots of eating places.

I finally found an eating place, the Macombo it was called, Spanish. I had wieners and sauerkraut, and they were delicious, best hot dogs I had ever had, I think.

After the enjoyable meal, I spent a good bit of time finding Cooks' telephone number, getting the darn phone to work, and finally giving up. I then took just a peek at Hyde Park, and walked through Green Park to come upon Buckingham Palace, the guard[s] and all.

After several pictures, I walked through St. James Park and over to Number 10 Downing Street, [but it was by then] too dark for pictures.

While walking around thereabouts, I met a man. He never did tell me his name and I didn't like him the minute I saw him. He was from [England] and he had the most disgusting laugh; high and unnatural. He would repeat everything he said three or four or more times. He showed me Westminster Abby,

Westminster Abbey

a dark, dingy, [but] beautiful place. We were asked to leave a few minutes after we went in, because they were closing it. It was 7:00.

It was then this fellow asked me if I had ever "had it." Just to be on the safe side, I said, "no!" Then, he wanted to know if I wanted to come "have it" with him somewhere.

It was at this point when I said I simply must be going and tried to make it emphatic that I wanted to go alone. He wanted very much to take me to see Piccadilly Circus. I made haste in the opposite direction.

I walked back (my legs were about ready to break, I'd been walking practically ten hours straight) through St. James Park, Green Park, and retraced my steps toward [my hotel].

Just a block or two from [there], I found what seemed a modest, little establishment for dinner. I began to think it was a little fancy after I was seated, when I noticed the waiters in tails. I got a very good dinner though, for 15/6, which is high.

After the meal, I headed for the hotel with good intentions to write letters. However, I was sidetracked inside at the lounge where a television was on. I couldn't resist viewing an English program or two. After the greyhound races and tennis at Wimbledon, it was so late I went to bed.

June 26, 1955

After rising at 9:00, breakfast, and writing home and here, it was almost noon, cold still intact! I grabbed my camera, light meter, map and passport and headed straight for the "Tube." The London subways are wonderful: speedy, pleasant, and dirt cheap - 6d for a ride from the hotel to Piccadilly Circus. I walked all over this part of town, saw the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street again,

Number 10 Downing Street

Big Ben (repairs and all), Westminster Abbey and Cathedral, New Scotland Yard (which was just a great big wall with a little sign), etc., etc., etc.

I spent a good deal of my afternoon waiting to get good pictures. One shot would have been perfect: a little boy or girl reaching up on tip-toe apprehensively to pet one of the Horse Guards horses. (No one reached up.) Another picture of a little boy or girl stretching over a fence to feed a duck at St. James Park.

St. James Park

(Too many people in the way, and no duck.) I must have spent at least an hour and a half just waiting.

Lunch and supper were quite good and in the evening, I went to see a British film, "The Dam Busters," in MetroScope, with Richard Todd. It was very good. [It] was about the bombing of three important German dams during the war [WWII].

It's funny. Smoking is permitted in the theaters and they have only one showing after which they play their national anthem for about ten seconds. Between the news and feature, [people] come around to sell milk and ice cream. It's sort of like a circus with everything you can think of on the floor. After the movie, I took a tube back [to the hotel] and went to bed.

June 27, 1955

I got up at 8:30, dressed, breakfasted, and wrote home 'til 9:30. At breakfast, I met a very nice fellow, cheery and kind. While we talked, though, I noticed a strong resentment to the Germans, the French, and the Jews. He felt they were the "lice of Europe." Interesting, I thought.

Since I was going to check out [of the hotel], I went to the Westminster Bank to get some money changed. I changed a $10.00 bill [US]. It didn't seem to last very long. The bill at the Alexa though was only 2/12/6 for three days, and I got a 5 shilling return on the key deposit.

I called Cook [Tours, London office] and found that a reservation was waiting for me at the Berners Hotel. With [my] two bags and no idea of its location, I took a taxi to the hotel. That cost me 6/6. After finding nobody on the tour [there], I got my room and took my bags up (another 9d to the porter - it was all the change I had). I then went out and bought [my friend, John] Lama a present (a pipe for smoking), returned and found Mr. Cella, the tour manager. He gave me a list of the girls on the tour (from 11 states and Quebec) numbering 24, with me [making it a total of] 25. By the way, I had lunch at the hotel before I found Mr. Cella.

In the afternoon, I had to cash another $10.00 bill. I made reservations to see "The King and I." I walked over to the Central London YMCA and was very, very warmly welcomed. I was shown the building which is very nice indeed. I was unable to see Mr. Steel, however; [as] he was not in.

After a postcard or two written, a telephone call to Erica Richter (whom I [had] met on board [the] ship and promised to call), and dinner, this time on Cook's, I headed for a delightful play. I thoroughly enjoyed it, "etcetera, etcetera, etcetera." Then back to the hotel, a shower (rather a bath; no showers available), a word or two here, [and] I was off to the swallows of sleep, contentment, and happiness.

June 28, 1955

Up at a few minutes of eight. Breakfasted and with the tour at 9:30. [The tour members] seem very nice. I had no introduction at all, however. I did, though, meet Miss Kelk, who is the chaperone, and the mom who will take us around London for our five day stay.

At 9:30, we jumped in a bus and headed immediately for the London Tower, the Beefeaters (sort of ground keepers), the crown jewels, the crowns and swords and special jewels in them, the London Bridge,

London Bridge

etcetera, etcetera. From there we went to St. Paul's Cathedral, past the business and banking district. Then on to the London Museum to see the Magna Carta, Rosetta Stone, Greek sculpture, and some hand-painted books of long ago. By that time, it was 1:00 pm, so we headed back to the hotel.

We had the afternoon off, so I started out back to St. Paul's and the banking district. I ate lunch at a little place on Oxford Road and ran into the man I had just left [our tour guide]. We had a nice, long talk. He was once an engineer.

I took the tube to St. Paul's, got a picture and walked to the River Thames. Then, over to the banking district and back to the hotel. While at the subway station, I met a very nice man, Mr. John Boveham. We talked a good, long time and he asked to call him if I could before I left the city. He knows a man in Paris he wants me to see. I got back at the hotel just in time to eat with the girls. After dinner, I took a bath, did a long-need washing, wrote here, and turned in about 10:45.

June 29, 1955

Up [at] 8:30 this morning, breakfasted, and off on the tour by 9:30. We went first to Westminster Abbey, but couldn't get in because of a service being held, so we walked to Buckingham Palace in time to see part of the changing of the guards.

Buckingham Palace

There were hundreds of people and I couldn't get as good a picture as I would have liked. We then went to the Wallace Collection, some very wonderful pieces of furniture, art, china, etc. We then made our way back to the Abbey for a thorough inspection of it.

The afternoon was free, so I left the group [and walked] around a little, had lunch, but was tired, and the sky was cloudy, and it seemed like it was going to rain, so I went back to the Berners Hotel and went to bed for a bit.

At 6:00, I was up and down for dinner, after which the group piled into taxis and headed for "The Teahouse of the August Moon," a most delightful play. The theaters are very much like the cinemas in that they have bars. However, coffee and ice cream were served during intermission. And the National Anthem [was played] at the end.

The shows start very early, generally between 7:00 and 7:30, a holdover from the war and black-out days. It was still light when we got out at 10:00. Back to the hotel and after letter writing, just a bit of washing and writing, I went to bed.

I think a major basic difference between the Americans and English is that the English have the attitude: "Well, it's here, so we'll just have to suffer with it." The Americans, on the other hand, have the attitude: "Well, it's here, so let's do something about it to make it better or easier or more convenient."

Also, the English (especially [those] in London) are steeped with tradition. There are so many memorials to people, and rather silly, to me, customs and rules. Some of these are nice, but the English have far, far too many. These people seem more interested in what happened and perpetuating the way it happened than in focusing [on] present-day actuality.

June 30, 1955

Up at 9:00, breakfasted, and on the road by 9:45, alone, that is. [It's a free day.] I went by tube to Westminster Abbey for a picture, then Scotland Yard, another picture, over to the Horse Guards, St. James Park, Piccadilly, and lunch at 12:45.

I ate lunch at a fabulous place in Piccadilly Circus. At the end of the long hall-like dining room, there were three fountains with colored lights. After a bit, the music began to play and the fountains "danced" with various lighting effects to the beat, just like the fountains at Radio City Music Hall. All this and a good meal, too, for only 6/9!

At 2:00, the tour [group] piled into a bus and we were off for Hampton Court with its beautiful gardens. Then on to Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle

Absolutely gorgeous! It didn't look real at all. Just like a painting or even a dream, just beautiful. I do hope the pictures of it come out. I was very disappointed we had to pull ourselves away after an hour and a half or so. It's worth a trip to England just to see Windsor Castle.

Back at the Hotel Berners for dinner. Afterward, I wrote about ten postcards and was in bed by 9:00. The next day was going to be a long one.

July 1, 1955

[I was] up at 7:00 and at breakfast by 7:30. [My] cold [is] better, but it's still there. In the bus, [then] off [to the train station] by 8:30. On the train and [then] off by 9:10. Then, by bus again, first to Shakespeare's birthplace, then the church where he was buried, then Ann Hathaway's cottage, then [we had] lunch at Stratford upon Avon. I had a wonderful time. After lunch, we went to Warwick Castle, another beautiful castle, but it didn't compare with Windsor.

We [did some sightseeing] and went last to Kenilworth Castle, or rather the ruins of same. Then a train back (dinner on the train) and after a phone call to Erica and writing here, to bed. Another wonderful day came to a close.

July 2, 1955

I couldn't drag myself out of bed until 8:00, nor out of the bath tub until 9:00. By the time I had dressed, eaten breakfast, and packed, it was already 11:00. [It's another free day.] With the bags outside my door and everything ready, I went out of the hotel to get my last glimpse of the fabulous city.

English man
[I came across this man who looked to me like a perfect example of a London businessman. I asked if I could take his picture, and he said yes.]

As usual, I went by tube, first to the top of Westminster Cathedral, then through St. James Park, over to the Horse Guards, taking pictures here and there. After a sandwich and pop lunch, I went to the Houses of Parliament and received a most thorough and interesting tour. (Cost: 1 shilling.) Then on over to Hyde Park for the first time and what a pretty park it is. Lovely lake, lots of room, band playing in the background, everything you could want.

By that time, it was getting late, so I headed back to the hotel. [The tour group assembled and traveled] from hotel to train by bus, [then] to boat [a night steamer to cross the English Channel], arriving at the dock by 10:00. (Dinner [was served] on the train.)

It was a fine boat, rather ship. I walked around deck a bit as we shoved off and started on our way, but after a while, I went below, only to find practically all of the girls seated [at] the bar, beer bottles in hand, cigarette smoke thickening about them, singing loudly and carelessly, while numerous people, distracted by the noise, stared at the sight. Shortly afterward, I went to bed.

July 3, 1955

Up at 5:45, I noticed the ship motionless, only to find we had docked [at Hook, Holland]. Soon we got off, went through customs and got on [a] train for Amsterdam. The country, though very flat, looked beautiful. A bus took us from the train station to the hotel [Hotel de l'Europe]. The rooms weren't ready yet, so Miss Kelk and I went for a little walk around. We got back at about quarter to twelve, after having looked at canal after canal and having crossed bridge after bridge.

The meal [lunch] was wonderful and most all of us were well ready for it.

After lunch, we had a few minutes by ourselves. At 2:00, we piled into the bus and went to the National Museum where we heard an interesting talk by our guide on art as we saw the paintings there. We [then] bussed around the city and returned in time for me to shave and be ready for dinner. Another great meal.

Afterwards, we all got tickets and took a most delightful trip all over the canals by boat. Returning by about 11:00, I decided a picture or two of what we'd just seen would be wise, so this I did.

On my way back to the hotel, a shy looking girl who almost looked lost, stood quietly by a street post. As I passed, she spoke to me in Dutch. I replied, "I beg your pardon." To which in perfect English, she said, "Would you like to go upstairs, have some fun?"

I simply thanked her kindly and quickly, ever so quickly made my way back to the hotel, locked my windows, and went to bed, ([but] I did take time to write here).

July 4, 1955

Up at 7:00 to take a shower (first shower since the Maasdam - all the rest, baths), dress, and have breakfast in time to get on the bus at 8:30 for [a] full day [of] sightseeing. We first visited a wooden shoe-making shop. Very interesting: power tools and skilled hands would turn out a pair in five or six minutes.

Next, we visited a flower market and auction. Again, very interesting. We watched them bid and buy flowers and beautiful flowers they were. Then, on again to the Hague for a visit to the Peace Palace and long-awaited lunch. What a great meal.

On the bus again, I couldn't stay awake, so I fell asleep for a bit. Only a while, though, for soon we stopped at an Edam cheese farm. We went through and all had samples. Good stuff!

Then on to Volendam. What an interesting place. Everybody [was] all dressed up in old Dutch clothes.

Tour girls in costume
[Some of the girls on the tour also dressed up in Dutch garb at one of the stops along the way. Very pretty sight.]

I took lots of pictures. Very picturesque and exciting.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was belly-filling time again, so we sat down to another delicious meal. After dinner I wrote a long letter (8 pages) home, ordered some cheese for Dad, and wrote here. I was then very tired, so I went directly to bed. The time:11:00.

By the way, it seemed finally as though the cold was going away. My handkerchief was not the usual soaking wet mess of cloth at bed time.

July 5, 1955

[I was] up at 8:00, [with] bags packed and ready to go by 8:30. I ate breakfast and then went out to walk around a bit and take pictures. This I did 'til 10:00, when we headed to the train station by bus. After a long train ride, we arrived in Cologne, Germany [at] about 3:15. We went right to the hotel ([Hotel Dam] right across the street from the station), got our rooms, and started out for some shopping. First off, I bought some binoculars for the folks, 450 marks ($108.00 US). They were the very best they had.

Next, I got [John] Lama a carved German pipe (9.5 marks), very cheap in price. Then two beer mugs for Howie and Moore [not sure now who they were] (16-½ marks each). By that time, it was dinner time, so I returned to the hotel to a wonderful meal.

After the meal [and] a walk, it was time for bed. I wrote here and hit the hay. The hotel room in Cologne was by far the best I had encountered: beautiful room, wonderful bath, nice porch with a view of the Cathedral of Cologne and the river. Everything was just tremendous: the purchases, the hotel, the whole day. I couldn't get over the hotel!

July 6, 1955

I don't know why, but this seemed to be my unlucky day . . . or something. Even though my cold officially ended this day, the 24 hours didn't go well.

I was up at 7:00. I took a nice bath and washed my hair (it needed it). I packed and went down for a nice breakfast about 8:30. Well, by 9:15, I was still not served and we had to leave at 9:30. I went back, quite hungry, to my room to get my camera and things. By this time, it was too late to get any good picture of the cathedral I had counted on.

The bus ride was long, tiring, cramped (the bus was much smaller than the one ordered by Cook's), and all the way, my knee kept ramming into a sharp corner each time we came to one of the numerous bumps. Unfortunately, the noon meal wasn't very satisfying (Mr. Cella said it was one of the poorest).

Then on we went to the dock for our Rhine voyage. There was an hour almost wait before the ship pulled in and we could board.

Ship for the Rhine cruise

The Rhine disappointed me greatly, probably for several reasons: (1) the sun wasn't shining almost all of the time, (2) there were relatively few castles, (3) I was in poor spirits and a bad mood, and most important, (4) I was expecting the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. In other words, I was expecting too much.

Another not so hot meal on the ship and we were in Wiesbaden by 8:45 [pm]. (By the way, it was a coal-burning ship, and I found my hair full of soot.)

The hotel [Hotel Nassauer Hof] was a short drive from the dock and was nice, but nothing special. I had a fine room, but a boyfriend of one of the girls [he happened to be there] had such a poor room, he decided to come in with me.

I had to do a washing, since I was really low on clothes. This wash job took me ‘til midnight, when I finally jumped in the sack. I didn't know then that the next morning I would find 95 percent of my washing still wet.

July 7, 1955

Up at 8:00, it took me to 8:45 to get the wet clothing packed, get dressed, and go down for breakfast. It was raining cats and dogs. The breakfast was good and everything seemed much brighter when the sun came out at 9:45. On the bus about 10:00, we started out an hour late. The bus had its radio turned to the armed forces radio station AFN, and it was good to hear a little something like the USA.

At Heidelberg, we stopped to have an absolutely wonder meal! Afterwards, however, the rain was again just pouring down. It stopped again when we got to the city's castle. After about one hour wait, or more like an hour and a half, our guide finally came. The castle wasn't particularly interesting.

On the bus once again, more rain. Arriving in Baden-Baden a little after 6:30. Dinner in the hotel [Hotel Zum Hirsch], writing a letter home, catching up here, brought the clock to 10:30. I turned out the light and quickly fell asleep.

July 8, 1955

Up at 7:30, dressed and down for breakfast by 8:00. Walked around Baden-Baden a little, took a picture or two, and returned to the hotel by 9:00, when we were to leave. We were slightly delayed in starting and had to take a different route than that planned because of the heavy fog and mist in the mountain area.

Well, we were soon off and on our way through the Black Forest. The country we went through was absolutely unbelievable, it was so beautiful. It was by far the best scenery I had seen to date: Little villages nestled comfortably in the valleys, picturesque streams bubbling through them. I did so wish then, as many times before, that we could stop the bus and get a picture or two. We couldn't take them [from the] inside since the bus was bouncing so much, the windows were dirty, a reflection from objects inside the bus would get in the picture, and we were going too fast. But the scenery was just like a dreamland.

Lunch was on the route. At about 4:00, we arrived at the [Germany-Switzerland] border. Soon, we were stamped (our passports), [our money exchanged for] Swiss money, and on our way again.

We arrived at Lucerne late, about 7:45, but the hotel [Hotel Palace] and room certainly made up for that. They were fabulous! Miss Kelk said they were the best on the trip, and it's not hard to believe. After a delicious (again, [close to] the best) meal, a little walk with Joan and Marcia [members of the tour], a slight bit of conversation with same and others, I popped into bed, where I wrote here and dropped off to sleep around midnight. What a wonderful day! Every minute was the peak of enjoyment! What a wonderful day!

July 9, 1955

This day, I got up at 8:00, dressed, and was down to breakfast at 8:30. After a good breakfast, we (Miss Kelk, a couple of girls, and I) went buying or window shopping. Being [in] Switzerland, the girls bought many watches of all descriptions. I window shopped. At 10:30, we returned to the hotel, jumped on a bus, and headed for Mount Pilatus. The bus took us to a train and the train [took us] to a mounting-climbing [cogwheel, cable car] (run by electricity) on tracks.

Up the mountain we went. What a thrill! The tracks were so narrow and the car so wide, and everyone inside moving from one side to the other [to see the sights]. Some of the grades were pretty steep. The greatest incline was one of 47 degrees. About halfway up, the 7,000 foot mountain, [a] mist cloud closed in around us

The mist closed in

and we couldn't see five feet in front of us. All the rest of the way, we could see nothing.

At the top, too, there was only mist. Somehow though, it wasn't at all disappointing. [Actually,] it was wonderful!

It was about 12:30, so we ate a very good lunch. Immediately afterwards, Marcia and I started out to explore and climb about. We could see very little, practically nothing.

Mist all about

We walked around until about 2:15 or so, when we came upon a trail cut into the mountain. That led way off.

A path into the mist

We started off. After 15 minutes or so, we noticed that the mist was beginning to clear. Soon, it was [thin] enough to see way down into the valley. What a beautiful sight! Bearing in mind what I said of the Black Forest, I can truthfully say that what I saw with Marcia was the most thrilling, exciting, and beautiful sight I have ever seen.

Every few steps, I wanted to stop and attempt to capture on film the magnificence of it all. Nothing, though, can even start to portray the fabulous scenery we saw. I was limp with enthusiasm. It seems to come pretty close to heaven on Earth.

Well, we had to go down the mountain on the car that left at 3:30,

The car to take us back down the mountain

so Marcia and I hurried back the path (we [had] followed it to its end). [Walking] down the mountain with the mist gone was also beautiful.

We took a steamship back to Lucerne, an hour's ride. [And that was breathtakingly beautiful as well!] After another wonderful dinner, we (this time Miss Kelk, another girl, [and] Marcia went to visit someone she knew [nearby], and I went shopping. This time I bought a music box [for Mom] and another pipe for Lama. The shops in Lucerne stay open to 10:00 pm every day of the week, and open for five or six hours on Sunday.

At 10:30, we came back to the hotel. I wrote here, played the music box, and was in bed with the lights out by 11:45. Oh, the scenery was beautiful.

July 10, 1955

The alarm went off at 9:00. I let it ring itself off. [It was a wind-up clock.] After 9:30, I awoke with a start and said to myself, "Am I going to miss breakfast and a whole morning at leisure in Lucerne?"

I awoke again at 11:00 and got up. I had a nice, long bath, washed a shirt and was down for lunch at 1:00 pm.

After lunch, I found out where the UofM Glee Club was going to sing, and went for an all-afternoon walk, getting back to the hotel at 7:00. I ate dinner and proceeded immediately to the Casino, about 50 yards from the hotel, to hear the glee club.

After a little over a half hour, the glee club marched [in] and gave its performance. When the fellows marched out, I followed them (at a distance), and found John McCrae, Dave Sutterly, and several other guys. They were going to sing again in the dance hall, so I watched from the wings of the stage.

The first time, they sang outside. [During the second performance], I was also allowed to watch the rest of the attraction from the balcony, with the glee club, free of charge. After this, McCrae and Sutterly and I walked along the lake and told each other of our experiences. We had some ice cream at a French place, and then John and Dave walked me back to the hotel.

I took them up to show them the room and since they had had such poor accommodations, John decided to take a bath there. The glee club stayed in rather cheap establishments, and my fabulous room was almost more than they could stand. After they left, I went right to bed, since it was then pretty late, 1:15.

July 11, 1955

Up at 7:30, packed, etc., etc., etc., and down for breakfast by 8:30. We left via bus at 9:00 am. The bus drove all day to go just 130 miles, but the 130 miles were as the crow flies. We went first up to the top of the mountains, a height of 7,000 feet, then down right next to the river at the very bottom of the valley, then up, then down, then up to 3:500 feet, then down.

[This is Marcia, one of the tour members, and the stunningly beautiful Switzerland countryside.]

[At one spot along the way, we stopped to see a glacier.]

[And we were actually able to go inside it! The glacier was hollowed out enough for us to walk inside a short distance. The opening has to be hollowed out each year, as the glacier keeps inching down the mountainside.]

[Marcia is about to get on our bus. The bus driver is at the door.]

Oh, what [a] beautiful country! Its beauty far surpasses that of the Black Forest and comes very close, very, very close to the beauty of Mount Pilatus. The whole day [was] one spectacular sight after another.



At about 5:45, we pulled into the hotel [Hotel Royal St. George] at Interlaken [Switzerland]. I got a letter from Mom and Dad, went up to the room (the bags had already arrived, since they were sent ahead by truck), washed up, wrote here, started a letter home, and was down for dinner at 7:30.

After dinner, I went with Marcia while she shopped for a music box, and gold charm, and so forth. While in one shop, though, I could not resist buying a wonderful turtle-neck sweater [bright red]. It was rather expensive, 13 dollars [US] but it's of good quality and double knitted. Around 10 o'clock, we returned to the hotel. I finished the letter home and went to bed, arriving there about 11:00.

July 12, 1955

Up at nine, down for breakfast by 9:30, and ready to start off for another day's sightseeing (with my new sweater on) by 10 o'clock. By train we went to Mount Kleine Scheidegg Jungfraubahn. Again, fabulous scenery, coming close to the beauty of yesterday's mountains. We ate lunch on the mountain and then continued on down the other side to Grinderwald [Switzerland].

Here we took a ski lift way up the mountain. We had time for several pictures, but then returned down to catch a train back to the hotel. The rain that had threatened with just a few drops all day, then (on the train) came pouring down. It let up a bit so we could walk from the station to the hotel, but then started in again.

Dinner was at 7:30, after which I bought 20 postcards, went to my room, wrote here, and proceeded to write a card to everybody. After about an hour and a half, I'd finished, all twenty of them, and went to bed [at] 10:15.

July 13, 1955

This morning, I got up rather early, 7:15, got my bags ready to go by 7:30, and was down for breakfast by 7:45 or so. We left Interlaken by train at 9:00, arriving in Stresa [Italy], a good 20 degrees hotter at 1:00 pm. [We stayed at the Hotel Regina Palace.] After lunch, we all got in our bathing suits and went down on the beach. There, we sunned and swam all afternoon.

And it was there in beautiful Lake Maggiore, while out in 35 feel of water at the raft, I lost my ID bracelet. Several English fellows there tried to dive for it, but couldn't even get 1/4 of the way to the bottom.

After dinner, Marcia and I went window shopping and then walked along the lake. We watched the town go to sleep and finally did so ourselves by 12:30. It was nice to be in Italy, but too bad to leave the fabulous country of Switzerland.

July 14, 1955

Up at 8:15, bags packed by 8:30, at the breakfast table by 8:45, finished at 9:00, and out, camera in hand, to get some pictures. Back to the hotel at 9:45. The bus pulled out about ten, arriving in Milano at 1:00, at which time we ate.

In the afternoon, we saw the famous Cathedral of Milano,

The Cathedral of Malan

the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie, the original "Last Supper,"

The Last Supper

and an old but famous cemetery where we could have walked for miles to gaze upon huge and minute tombstones to perpetuate memory of the dead.

Around 5 o'clock, we caught the train for Venice. We had dinner on the train and arrived in the city of canals about 10 pm. We took a motor boat to the hotel [Hotel Londres], where, after several mix-ups with luggage and mistakes by the boatmen, we got mail (for me, a letter from Mom) and our room assignments. I read my letter, went up to my room, got my baggage, and was in bed by 12:15.

July 15, 1955

A little after 8:00, I got up and by 8:40 was down to breakfast. At 9:30, we collected [our tour members] and started out with [a] guide to see St. Mark's Square and Cathedral,

St. Mark's Square and Cathedral

Doges Palace, and Bridge of Sighs, by foot. In all the cathedrals [to enter them,] everyone's arms must be covered and the girls' necklines couldn't be too steep. Not only is this custom outdated and ridiculous, but it caused a good deal of bother. I had to keep lending my suit coat, and the girls (a couple of them) had to purchase stoles, etc.

After lunch, we went by gondola along the Grand Canal

Around Venice

Around Venice

to another church ([Basilica Dei] Frari Church) and a glass-blowing shop. In the evening, I wrote a letter home, ate dinner, and retired to my room to write here and hit the hay by 9:15.

July 16, 1955

The alarm went off at about 4:50 as I intended to get up early and take lots of pictures of Venice getting up.

I finally did get up at quarter to seven. I was dressed and in St. Mark's Square by 7:30. I got several photos and walked [back] to the hotel by 8:00 for breakfast, after which I walked around town a bit with Marcia.

At 10:00, Miss Kelk and Marcia went to the beauty parlor and I went to the barber shop. The other girls and Mr. Cella went to Lido Beach for the day. At about 11:00, I was to meet them, but had to wait about an hour before they [were ready].

We then had lunch and proceeded to see Venice on foot. We walked all over (I took lots of pictures)

Around Venice

Around Venice

Around Venice

Around Venice

and [we] returned once again to the hotel at about 6:15 or so.

After dinner, Marcia went buying and I went along to carry her purchases. Since this was a special day, the celebration of the Black Rose (sort of like our July 4th), several girls and I went to Miss Kelk's room to watch the festivities. Her room afforded a good view (mine didn't), so we watched all the activity and fireworks until about 11:30, when I went to bed.

July 17, 1955

This day was fated to be a miserable one for me. The alarm was set for 9:00, so I'd get lots of sleep, but at about 7:30, the loud gonging of a church bell right outside my window woke me with a jerk. From then on, church bells all over the city rang incessantly. And if it wasn't the bells, the elevator motor would rumble, hum, grind, clatter, and would in general keep me from sleeping.

So I got up at 8:15 after what seemed [like] several years of noises. I took a shower. It's a strange thing about the water in the hotel. It's never warm. And speaking of water, it quite exasperated me to have to turn the water faucet [on and off] up to 15 times before any water could come out. Then, it would run, spurt, and spray all over the place. To make matters worse, I ran out of toilet paper. When I got down to the hotel lobby, I noticed that I felt quite terrible, weak and sore all over, tired, aching, just horrible. I couldn't eat any breakfast.

I got to the train station [with the group] and then was given some awful-tasting stuff out of what looked like a wine bottle. The guy who got it for me, some man Mr. Cella was talking to, said it was "bitters." It tasted a lot worse that just something bitter.

Well, on the train, I slept 'til lunch, when I had one fork-ful of macaroni and one fork-ful of meat. I then went back to the compartment and slept until we arrived in Florence.

We went to the hotel [Hotel Astoria], where I immediately went to bed and slept until 8:00 pm, when Miss Kelk called to ask me if I wanted anything to eat. I said yes, and about 9:15 she came in [and] the food she had ordered followed shortly [delivered by a] waiter. After some chilled consomme, steak, potato chips, iced tea, and ice cream, I again fell asleep.

July 18, 1955

Waking up at about 7:15, I took a warm bath and returned to bed and to sleep until 9:00, when Miss Kelk knocked on the door. She advised me to get up (since the room was very hot) and go to the lobby and take it easy. She also gave me some sort of medicine, which was to stop my "running."

It didn't seem to help very much. Most of the morning, I did nothing. I wrote here, however, and a letter home, enclosing a card from "Aunt" Lien, which I [had] received that morning.

The tour returned to the hotel about 1:00 and I ate then, as balanced a meal as I could. During the afternoon, between trips to the john, I received a letter from Mom and Dad, wrote another letter to them, wrote here, and took it easy. As the afternoon wore on, I felt worse.

More medicine did little good. After dinner, which started at 8:00 and didn't end 'til 9:45, I watched Italian television for a bit and was in bed and asleep by 10:15.

July 19, 1955

I woke up about 9:15 feeling just wonderful. I knew that whatever I had had was with me no longer. After a bath and breakfast, I went with Miss Kelk and several girls to a leather shop where I bought two wallets, two stud boxes, and a glasses case. We returned for lunch at 1:00, finishing at 2:00. It was very good! The first real meal since the 16th, and the first taste of pizza since I [had] left Detroit.

After the meal, I went sightseeing (on my own, since the girls all went together on a conducted tour the day before). I walked all over the Ponte Vecchio,

Ponte Vecchio

even on the river basin, since the river was extremely low. Then, I went to the Pitti Palace for a look around, but headed back when I felt a bit tired. I didn't want a relapse of whatever it was I just got over.

The parents of Joan White [a tour member] were in Florence this day (on a Mediterranean cruise trip) so everyone in the tour had to meet them at 7:30, when everybody had something to drink. I had orange pop and water.

At 8:00, we all went into a private dining room for dinner for it was Sara's birthday, and there was much merriment, laughter, and champagne. I didn't particularly like the latter. It tasted a lot like wine, which I had tried on several other occasions, not liking it any time.

After dinner, I went up to my room to pack and go to bed. I planned to arrive on the hay at about 10:00 at the latest, but as time wore on, more and more things happened.

Looking for my ballpoint pen, I went through both suitcases completely. Not finding it, I only managed to get everything in a mess. To start with, the camera fell on the cement floor. No damage seemed to have been done, though. Next, I found my shoes all mildewed. [I] set them outside the door for the porter to take of.

Then, I looked through everything else to see if anything else was in need of attention. Then I made out a list of purchases I had made. Then I carefully wrapped everything up and packed it again. By the time this long and tedious process was completed, the clock read 1:00 am, four hours after I had started. I wrote here and went to bed!

July 20, 1955

This morning, I was up at 7:30, showered by 7:45, packed at 8:00, to breakfast by 8:15. We left the hotel at 9:30 to travel by bus through blazing heat to Roma [Rome]. At 2:00, we stopped for lunch. Then, into the swelter box again and off to visit St. Francis Church. Then, on the road again. It's a long, hard trip, though only about 150 miles. It's all up-and-down country and the roads aren't the best.

We made numerous stops at train crossings. It's a funny thing: at the crossings, they put the gates down sometimes 10 or 15 minutes or even longer before the train would pass. Consequently, we would have to wait there in the bus with no breeze or chance of moving around any. We did get to see a beautiful sunset abound 7:45, probably the prettiset [thing] that day.

We arrived at the Hotel Flora at about 9:00 pm. Shortly afterwards, we had dinner, after which I retired!

July 21, 1955

Up at 8:30, I was still a bit tired, but felt good. Since I had so very much to be washed, I called the maid and gave her all my dirty clothes. And since they hadn't removed the mildew from my shoes, I called the porter to fix them up. I got down to the lobby at the pre-scheduled time, 9:15, missing breakfast intentionally, since I was sick of eggs and bacon each morning, every morning, all the time.

The morning sightseeing tour took us to see the Forum, Colosseum,

The Colosseum

St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Pope (who was standing in a window a good six or several stories up). He [makes an appearance] at 12:30 each day.

[While in Vatican City, we all posed for a group photograph.]

The tour groun at the Vatican
Our tour manager, Mr. Cella is at the left. I'm in the bottom row.

Back to the hotel for lunch, and then on the go again in the afternoon to see the catacombs, the Appian Way, St. Paul's, and Borghese Gallery. [By the] late afternoon, we were back again at the hotel, with time to wash and get ready for dinner and the opera.

At 8:30, we again got on the bus and were transported to the Baths of Caracalla for a performance of "Mefistofele." And was it ever tremendous! I think it was the most spectacular performance put on by man that I've ever seen. Act II, Scene Two was just unbelievable - very, very beautiful. The whole opera was great. But it was long; we got back to the hotel about 1:15. I hastened to bed, getting there by 1:30.

July 22, 1955

Up at 9:00 this morning, I again missed breakfast and was with the group at 9:30. We went to see the Pantheon and the Vatican Museum. I was deeply bored with the museum. First we saw the original this, then the first that, then the biggest this, then the smallest that, then the most important this, then the least important that, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. The guide kept saying, "Now, all the other museums will claim that theirs is the original, but it isn't. This one is." On and on all morning. Unfortunately, we were able to cover only 50 of the 350 rooms and about one mile of the five miles of things to look at. I was glad to get back to the hotel for lunch. Before the meal, though, I made a call to a girl John McCrae took out, when the glee club was in Roma. John asked me in Lucerne to get in touch with her for him. She seemed very nice.

After lunch, I walked about a mile downtown to a small, crowded alley where a little sign 10 feet above the street said, "Motor Scooters." After the formalities of signing papers, showing identification, etc., the man drove me to the hotel to change a traveler's check, then back to the shop. I had to pay in advance the full amount, 2500 lira, just about $4.00 [US]. After full instructions as to its operation, in Italian, the motor scooter [Vespa] and I were off. And what a time we had!

At first, of course, I was a little uneasy, since I didn't know the first thing about the scooter, couldn't read traffic signs, didn't understand policeman's directions, and had absolutely no idea where I was, But, I just kept buzzing on, and out of pure chance, ran into everything I wanted to see.

I saw and took pictures of the Appian Way, the Pantheon, the Fountain of Trevi,

Fountain of Trevi

the Colosseum, a famous obelisk, the Tiber River, Vatican City,

Vatican City

[the entrance to the ] Vatican Museum,

Entrance to the Vatican Muesum

particularly everything in the Old City.

When I came back to the hotel, a bunch of girls wanted a ride, so I obliged.

I ate dinner and then took Marcia for a spin. She went with me back to the shop to return the scooter.

The scooter

Unfortunately, the shop was closed, but after talking to several people who couldn't [speak] English, we got directions to the shop owner's place of residence. He opened up the place and took the scooter. Marcia and I walked back to the hotel via a [familiar] fountain or two. I forgot to take my camera, so couldn't get the beautiful fountains lit up at night. When we got back to the hotel, I was very tired, so I wrote here and was in bed by 11:00.

July 23, 1955

Up very late, 10:00. I was all caught up in sleep. I got my laundry - rather expensive: 2700 lira worth, and shoes all fixed up free of charge. I took a shower and packed, wrote a bit here, and went down to the hotel writing room to finish off twenty postcards in just an hour. By that time, it was almost one o'clock, so I went in for lunch (I once again missed breakfast).

After lunch, I went out to get two last pictures of Roma. At 2:30, we all got on a bus for the station, [with the] train leaving at almost 3:45. A pleasant ride brought us to Napoli [Naples] and a marvelous hotel. My room [in the Hotel Vesuvio], seven floors up, overlooked the water. A cool breeze floated through the room. A radio provided soothing music. Everything was great.

After dinner, I took a shower (the train ride was a dirty one), wrote here, and finished a letter home I had started on the train, all to the music of Les Paul. About 11:45 or so, I went to bed. Another fine day closed its eyes to sleep.

July 24, 1955

Up at almost 7:45, I had time for breakfast and was ready to sightsee at 8:45. We started off by bus. First [the bus driver] stopped [for us] to see a cameo factory and most all of the girls bought something. Next, we saw Pompeii - the ruins.



and a museum there. This was interesting, but nothing spectacular. As I mentioned before, I was sort of immune to these old buildings and statues and columns and so forth. But it was interesting to try to visualize how the [people] actually lived back then.

We continued on through the Amalfi Drive. Very beautiful indeed, but with no opportunities for photographs. We stopped at the city of Amalfi for lunch and afterwards continued on back to Napoli. After a very enjoyable meal at the hotel, I decided to go right to bed and did so, arriving there about 10:00 pm.

July 25, 1955

Up at 7:30, I took a shower and had breakfast before 8:25, when we started out again, this time by ship for the Isle of Capri. It was a very nice two hour ride. The minute we disembarked, we got into a small craft to go to the "Blue Grotto." When we arrived on the scene, we again transferred craft, this time to rowboats, in which we entered the grotto after a long, long wait

At the Blue Grotto

(which really amounted to more than two hours). The grotto was of interest, but no more thrilling or exciting than the ice grotto in Switzerland.

Well, we finally ate lunch at about 2:30. Some of the girls preferred to miss lunch and go swimming instead, but I choose the meal and a walk around the town. We once again boarded the ship at 9:15. It sailed at 9:45, arriving in Napoli almost 7:00. Back to the hotel by bus, I changed [my clothes] and ate dinner. Afterwards, 10:10, I wrote here and was in bed at 10:30.

July 26, 1955

Up at 9:15, I had breakfast and had time for a walk around Napoli before the bus left for the train station at 10:15. It was a very interesting walk. I saw some people weighing and distributing what looked like clam shells, I saw a little boy with a live eel, I was approached by several boys who asked me (by gestures) to throw coins in the water for them to dive after, and I was approached by two men who wanted to sell me watches (one went all the way from $15.00 to $8.00 in his offers.)

Well, on the train, we finally pulled out at 12:05. It was another long day, complicated by an accident on the railroad tracks. A truck had crashed through a guide railing and fallen 35 feet or so onto the tracks. I understand the driver was killed. We were held up about two hours in Roma while they cleared the tracks for us to pass. Of course I was unaware that we were going to pass the spot of the accident and did not consequently get any pictures.

[During] most of the ride, which seemed to be through one tunnel after another, I played cards to pass the time, which did pass rather quickly. Both lunch and dinner were eaten on the train, and during the evening meal, we passed through Pisa. Some of the girls saw the tower, but I was on the wrong side of the car to see. And besides, it was almost pitch dark anyway. We finally arrived in Genoa at about 10:45. We took a bus to the hotel [Hotel Savoy Majestic] and I was in bed with all the lights turned out before my luggage was brought to the door, about 11:30. I fell asleep immediately.

July 27, 1955

I got up at 8:30, bags, out by 8:45 (I didn't even open [one] bag, and I just got a comb from the other) and finished breakfast at 9:05. I wrote here until about 9:30 when we were to leave, but due to baggage trouble, we didn't get off 'til a little after 10:00. In this half hour, I started a letter home.

The ride though very beautiful, was rather uneventful, until we reached Monaco [along the French Riviera]. Here at Monte Carlo, we stopped (we were traveling by bus) to look around and take pictures. Only those over 21 could go in[side the] Monte Carlo [Casino],

Monte Carlo

but across the street from the famous spot, there were lots of gambling machines.

Not having any French money (it was all still in Italian currency), I decided to just look around. Absentmindedly, I pull[ed] one of the handles, and the three wheels started to spin, and before I knew it, 300 franks popped out at me. With such good luck, I then proceeded to gamble away 100 of them. I would lose 60 franks and then win 40, then lose 80, win 60, and so it went through 100 franks, about 29 cents [US].

We arrived at the hotel [Hotel Plaza, in Nice] about 7:00, but didn't get our baggage at our rooms until 8:00 and consequently didn't get down for dinner until 8:30. There was a long wait for a table, so we couldn't get seated until 9:00. Still a longer wait for the meal brought the time to 10:30. After a slight walk about the hotel and writing here, I got to bed at midnight.

July 28, 1955

Up about 8:15, I took a nice long bath (there was no shower), until 8:45. I got down to the lobby at 9:15, too late for any breakfast, which I really didn't want anyway

(Actually I woke up at a little after 6:00 am wheezing and very uncomfortable. I managed to get back to sleep, but would wake up at short intervals with my wheezing. After I got up at 8:15, the wheezing subsided and was gone by 10:00 or so.)

We got on the bus at half past nine and started out. We drove a lot, stopped once or twice, and pulled into the Gorges du Loup early, 11:45, for lunch. Afterwards, we again started out through the beautiful French Alps, and they were very beautiful, to Grasse, to go through a perfume factory.

At 3:00, we stopped at the city of Cannes, located right on the Mediterranean for everyone to get a chance to swim. We walked the sandy beach and swam in the very salty water (the first time I'd ever been in salt water), until 6:00, when we started back.

As soon as we got back, I changed clothes and went down to dinner, to miss the crowds. I was served quite quickly and was finished at 8:45. Since I was rather exhausted from the day's activities, and [I] knew that the coming days would be full ones, I headed immediately for bed and arrived there with lights out at 9:00 pm.

It wasn't more than fifteen minutes after that, that I again noticed I [was having trouble breathing]. Not having any idea what was causing the discomfort, I tossed away the pillow, thinking [my breathing difficulty] might be caused by the feathers in it. This, however, did no good, so I got up an paced about the room. The time: 9:30.

I happened to glance into the bathroom only to see what looked like a mouse scamper across the floor. This made me all the more uneasy (you see, I was in bare feet). Being up seemed to do some good, so I wrote here until after 10:00 pm. Then, thinking fresh air [might be] the answer, I placed a chair out on the 3 by 5 foot porch. To this I added a foot stool, me (still in pajamas), and a sheet, all in plain view of all those who walked down the main promenade (my room was on the first floor, facing the street).

Here, I tried for a second time to go to sleep. After 15 minutes of tossing and turning, I did get to sleep, only to wake up at 4:20 all cramped from the awkward position I was in, in the chair. I said "What the heck," and moved back to the bed. There I slept with no other disturbances (except that the one sheet I was on was all rolled up) until 9:30.

(By the way, I finally did see a mouse in the bathroom. I turned on the light and watched it run like the very dickens under the tub. I decided not to walk around the room any more in bare feet.)

July 29, 1955

Up at 9:30 with only a touch of wheezing, I decided not to take a bath with friend mouse right under the tub. There was really no good reason not to, but it was sort of the principle of the thing. I washed, shaved, got dressed, wrote here a bit, rearranged the things in the suitcase, packed everything, and before I knew it, it was 11:00 and I had missed breakfast again.

Down in the lobby, I wrote a letter home (a long one at that) and then went in to lunch, since it was about 12:15. After the meal, with camera in hand, I started out to walk from one end of the beach to the other. This I did all afternoon, taking pictures of some of the sights on the sand.

On the beach

In the late afternoon, I returned to the hotel to wait a bit before we started out for the "Blue Train" to Paris. We got on board about 7:00 pm or so and went practically directly into the diner [car].

What a meal we had! There were seven courses: soup, fish, chicken, cheese, ice cream, fruit, and coffee or tea. After dinner, 9:30, we all joked about with much laughter and gaiety until slowly, one by one, we went to our compartments and beds. It was 11:30 before I finally got to sleep.

July 30, 1955

Up with the birdies, 6:30, I was in the diner by 7:00, and before long we were at the Paris station. Via bus to the hotel {Hotel Commodore], we found our rooms all ready and waiting for us. I went out with several of the girls while they shopped, and then we ate together at a seemingly inexpensive place, but when the service charge was added, and a 100 franks for our place setting, the bill came to 720 franks, a rather fat price.

(In Paris, as in London, most of our lunches we got ourselves, since they were not included in the tour.)

In the afternoon, we went sightseeing to the Sainte-Chapelle, Cathedral of Notre Dame, and just a look at the Palace of Justice.

Group photograph
[Paris was the last stop on our tour, so we all posed for this group picture. Marcia is in the bottom row, at the right. I'm in the top row. Mr. Cella is at the right.]

Dinner was at the hotel at 6:30 and it was very good.

After dinner at about 8:45, we all (actually, only about 18 of us) gathered together in the lounge. When everyone was there, we started out for the "Casino de Paris," for Mr. Cella had gotten tickets for all those who wanted them. They were very expensive, 1500 franks, about $4.30 [US], but as the evening wore on, I knew the money was well spent.

I don't know exactly how to describe the show, other than saying it was an elaborate variety program. And it was just wonderful. Optimal use of staging effects, lighting arrangements, recorded and orchestra music, scenery, and dress was made. The spectacle of the thing far exceeded the opera in Roma. There were many, many "acts" including ballet, solo singing and dancing, audience participation, talent, and of course performances showing the beauty of the human female figure.

The entire evening was just superb. Scene changes were very, very rapid and interest was maintained throughout the show's three and a half hours.

After the show, around 12:45, four girls of the tour and I walked to the Rue de la Paix to have a little something at the Cafe de la Paix. They all had something a little more potent than my Coke. We got back to the hotel about 1:30, whereupon I went directly to bed.

July 31, 1955

Well, the alarm went off at 8:00, but I got up at 9:25 making it difficult to catch the group, since it was to leave for Versailles at 9:30. So, quick like a bunny, I got dressed and made the bus by 9:35. Obviously, I missed breakfast. We [returned] to Paris in the late afternoon.

I had time to change my clothes, write a postcard home, write here, and relax a bit before dinner at 6:30. After, I again wrote here, read a bit of Pogo, and was asleep by about 10 o'clock.

August 1, 1955

Up at 8:45, I was dressed and down for breakfast at around 9:15, finishing just in time [to get to] the bus at 9:45. The morning sightseeing included the Louvre,

At the Louvre

Mona Lisa
[Mona Lisa at the Louvre.]

the Kings' Chapel, a look at the Tour Eiffel, and a cruise [on the Seine].

Back to the hotel at 12:15, I went with Mr. Cella and two of the girls to eat at a little place right next to Pam Pam's. It was quite a good meal, for 325 franks. In the afternoon, I bought a final pipe for Lama, wrote here, read more Pogo, and slept for two hours.

Dinner was again at 6:30. An hour later, the whole tour gathered in the lounge and since I was the only male constituent, I presented Miss Kelk and Mr. Cella with small gifts that the group had gotten for them. They were both very pleased.

At 8:00, we again boarded a bus, this time for a taste of cafe nightclub and cabaret life in Paris. After two, small, cramped, smoke-filled, exciting places [where] wine, cognac, and other beverages [were] served, we went to the Lido, [which is] supposed to be the best spot for night entertainment in town. It was a great show, but [a very] expensive place!

Champagne [was] obligatory. A little notice on each table said, "A minimum of 2300 franks is required to be used in beverages per person, not including service." Though the show was really very good, with magic acts, dancers, comedy acts, and of course nudes, it didn't compare with the Casino de Paris.

After the shows, about 2:15 [am!] Marcia and I decided to walk back to the hotel. It was a beautiful evening (or rather morning), and a very long walk. We arrived at the doorstep of the Commodore at 5 o'clock. It had been a marvelous evening. Everything went just perfectly. I got my key and went up to my room, my bed, and sleep. It was getting light.

August 2, 1955

Little did I know that the next time I would see daylight would be 3 o'clock pm this day. I got up (I was indeed rested), took a nice, long bath, and took my time getting dressed. I wrote here, bringing the log up to date.

Around 5:15 or so, I received a call from Marcia with an invitation to go out to dinner. A man from the Pennsylvania Railroad had asked her and Miss Kelk, and wondered if she (Marcia) would like to ask anyone else. I naturally accepted. [My guess is that Marcia's father was an important Pennsylvania Railroad executive, and that's why the invitation was made.]

Oh my golly, what an evening!! It started at the Commodore Hotel just a few minutes after 7:00. [This man] took us in[to] the bar and we talked over three Tom Collins and a Coke (with lemon). Then we proceeded to his very exclusive club (with membership limited to about 200 people from each of three countries - France, England, and the US - to talk some more over this time four Tom Collins.

He was indeed a fascinating man. He's Pennsylvania Railroad's European Representative and he has been all over the world. After the club, we all got in a taxi [again] and headed for the Seine. What did we do when we got there but board the "Bafeaux Mouches" [spelling ?] for a cruise up and down the river.

Dinner was, of course, served on board. The meal was wonderful and the Seine was likewise. Red wine was served with the meal, with champagne with dessert. Everything was just wonderful (besides being wonderful, the meal was expensive! And how! I managed to sneak a peek at the bill, which was 11,000 franks, or just a bit over $30), as we got another taxi [back to] the hotel, I thought. [But no.]

We stopped at Harrvy's New York Bar where what else was served but more champagne. And at this time, Marcia and I were made official members of the IBF, the International Bar Flies (Trap #1) with genuine IBF [lapel] pin and certificate good for one rye whiskey at Harry's New York Bar.

Official IBF membership

Well, anyway, after the bottle was downed, we again jumped in a taxi and headed back toward the hotel. When we stopped, though, we weren't in front of the hotel, but rather in the Vegetable Market. Out we got and into a little cafe called "The Pigs' Feet." Here we had onion soup from 12:45 until 1:15 or so. [Delicious!]

We finally did get back to the hotel at about 1:30, after a really enjoyable evening. I got to the room by 1:45 and was immediately in bed and in slumber land.

August 3, 1955

Up relatively early, 9:15, I got down for breakfast at half past. After the meal, I wrote home and then wrote here. Before I knew it, it was 12:30. I changed my clothes, for Col. Bonnaffon, the man who treated us the night before (Col. Ashton C. Bonnaffon, OBE M. Inst. T.) had invited the three of us to lunch at his exclusive club.

At one [o'clock], we got in a taxi and were off to the club. It was a very good meal (especially since it was free), [there were Tom Collins for us all,] and it was interesting talking, too. At about 4:00, we taxied back to the hotel [and there] the Col. left us.

Until 6:30, Marcia and I just walked the streets, looking at sights and in store windows. We had our first (actually, it was only my first) subway ride in Paris. At 6:30 we all, the whole tour, ate, immediately afterwards gathering in a private room for a birthday and farewell party.

Champagne and cake were served, but I didn't partake, since I didn't feel so hot. When the party broke up, Marcia and I went to walk around the block, but the fresh air pepped me up, and since it was only about 9:10 and [it was] Marcia's last night in Paris, I decided to take her to a movie.

We went into the first [theater] we saw. [The movie] was a French version of "The Racers," a little hard for me to understand, Marcia, too. Marcia, though she took [French] in school for a year or two, couldn't catch most of the French words. After the movie, we both had a Coke at the Cafe de la Paix, and then returned to the hotel. I was in bed by 2:00.

August 4, 1955

Up at 9:30, I decided to pack post haste, since everything was out of the bags. By 10:45 or 11:00, the bags were outside the door, and I was in the lobby. At 12:15, the girls started out to the station, and I went along to say good-bye. I kissed them all farewell, or rather they all kissed me farewell, even Miss Kelk, and the train pulled out at about 1:30.

I walked back to the hotel, got my bags and took a taxi to the Hotel Vaneau [spelling ?], a small but not too bad hotel. I can take an elevator (room for two and a half persons) up to the room, which is on the 6th floor, but hotel rules say I must walk down . . . all 120 steps (I counted). The elevator is an awfully slow thing too; it takes a good 60 seconds from [the] main [floor] to my floor.

Well, anyway, after getting my room settled, I went out in search of the YMCA Conference Headquarters. After much searching up and down the wrong streets, I finally found the place,

YMCA Conference Headquarters

but hardly anyone was there. Mr. Tidball [I don't remember now who he was] and everyone else that I thought would be there weren't. I couldn't even get any information about the room I would stay in during the conference. The girl I talked to said [I should] return in a day or two.

Now, it was about this time I began looking for a place to send a telegram to the girls, to wish them [a final] bon voyage. I finally hopped a subway for an American Express office. They told me where a post office was. With telegram sent, I finally ate - the first meal of the day. I got it at Pam Pam's, a place that tries to be American. The food was good, and rather reasonable in price, and I felt much better after it.

Meal concluded, I bought a paper, again hopped a subway, read in bed 'til 9:00, and fell asleep.

August 5, 1955

Up at 8:30, I was served breakfast in the room. By 9:30, I was out in the streets of Paris, camera in hand, headed for the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
[The shadow of the tower reaches across a bridge over the Seine River.]

I walked up to the 1st and 2nd levels and then took the lift to the top (it cost me 50 franks to walk, 200 to lift. You weren't permitted to take the stairs all the way up), where I had lunch. It was 3:00 before I set foot on the ground again.

On route to the Metro, I couldn't resist seeing [and visiting] an aquarium I passed. It took an hour, but was well worth the time and 35 franks it cost. Via tube to Pont de Neuville Station, I then walked from there to the Arc de Triomphe, taking pictures as I went.

Arc de Triomphe

The view from the top of the arch was very good, but it cost 100 franks to get to the top. It was probably worth it. I ate dinner practically in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, and then returned to the hotel to read a bit more about Paris, write here, and finally get to sleep by midnight.

August 6, 1955

Up again at 8:30, I again got breakfast in the room. This morning, I headed for the flea market.

Flea Market

And what a place it was. Everybody and their mother had things out on little tables. One could buy absolutely anything there from shirts to shoes to soap to sand paper, and from clocks to socks to maps to pots. One could get cameras or cameos, fans or pans, bikes or pipes, and everything, including telescopes and microscopes, and even gyroscopes. To say you can get everything under the sun there is an under statement. Though some of the stalls looked more like small-scale junk yards, some were almost nice.

I walked [around] all morning and in the afternoon until 4:00, but I didn't see everything [I wanted to buy]. And I had lunch right in the middle of the flea market.

Well, about 4:00, I took the subway to the Opera Station, near which was the American Express [office]. There, as I had done the day before, I tried to get a ticket for Holland, but they didn't know where Slikkerveer [Holland, my intended destination a few days hence] was, and they sent me to the Holland Tourist Office, which was closed.

At about 5:30, I ate dinner. Afterwards, I walked to the Champs Elysees in search of an American movie. I finally went in [a movie house] and saw "Gone with the Wind," which was in English, but had French [translations] written in. I was very glad that I saw it. Getting out from the movie at 11:15, I caught a subway back to the hotel, and was in bad by 12:20.

August 7, 1955

Up at 8:45, I ate breakfast and then took a nice long bath. I wrote here from 10:15 to 10:45, and then got dressed. The morning slipped by very quickly, but I just let it slip.

Around noon, I took the Metro to the Ile de la Cite, where I found the bird market. I ate a big and expensive dinner at about 1:30 and then spent the rest of the afternoon just walking around and looking for the cat and dog markets [which I couldn't find]. At 4:30 or thereabouts,, I returned to the hotel. The bed looked so inviting, that I decided to take a slight nap. (I had planned to write some postcards and a letter, and do some washing.) At about 8:30, I awoke and said, "pooh," got undressed and went to bed. The sleep felt good.

August 8, 1955

Up for breakfast at 8:15, I consumed it by 8:45 and popped back into bed! Around 10:00 I finally got up, dressed, and wrote here. Then, I once again went through the long address list and wrote 15 postcards and a long letter home. Around noon, I started out to mail the letter and cards, eat, get my hair cut, obtain my [train] ticket from Paris to Rotterdam, get a ticket to go sightseeing (from American Express) to Fontainebleau, and once again visit YMCA general headquarters.

These items I accomplished, one by one, practically in that order. Eating dinner at about 6:30, I returned to the hotel to write another long letter home (I received two letters from home this day), a postcard to Lien [Pot] notifying her of my expected time of arrival in Rotterdam, and to write here 'til 10:30, when I hit the hay.

August 9, 1955

This morning, I got up a little after 8:00 and was almost dressed when breakfast arrived. At 8:30, there was a loud knock on the door. Opening it, I found two rather suspicious-looking characters standing there. They started jabbering something in French at me, but when I said that I didn't understand, they said in English that they wanted to see my passport.

Well, I didn't want to show it to them. After a rather long (well, it seemed long, anyway) hesitation, they both pulled out police identification. I showed them my passport, they looked at the France [date] stamp, and went away. It seems as though they were checking to see if anyone was staying over the three-month allotted period in the country. They did give me a scare at first.

On the subway by nine, I went to the Opera Station, I mailed the correspondence I had written the night before, and was right on time to get the bus for the American Express "whole day tour to Fontainebleau."

The guide we had was very good and the tour, too, was just fine. I wasn't as impressed with Fontainebleau as I was with Versailles, although many people feel just the reverse. We got back to the American Express office at about 5:45. (We ate our noon meal at Fontainebleau.)

I got supper near the opera house and then took the Metro back to the hotel. When I got to the room, I decided to go to the flower market the next day, so [I] wrote here and quickly went to bed. Time 8:15 pm.

August 10, 1955

Up at 8:15, I got breakfast at half past. Since the day was dark and rainy, I decided not to go to the flower market. Instead, I headed for the Cite Universitaire. After all sorts of confusion on the Metro, I finally got there [and] inquired [of] the whereabouts of Mr. George Corwin. With careful direction, I got to a door, which was to his office. I thought.

Opening it, I found a huge conference room with Mr. Corwin in the middle of a huge conference. After many "I'm terribly sorry"s, I finally was direct back to an information desk, where I was given absolutely no information at all. Well, all that I accomplished with the whole affair was to waste time, but, that didn't matter much, since the day was so poor. I took the Metro from the Cite Universitaire to the Luxemberg Gardens, where I whiled away more time until about noon, when I started in search of lunch.

About 1:00, I found a place and had a most wonderful dinner there. After the meal, I walked back to the hotel and just whiled away the afternoon doing not much of anything. Around 5 o'clock, I decided to take a little nap, so I hopped into bed.

August 11, 1955

When I woke up at 7:30, I had a hard time deciding whether it was am or pm. I got dressed and washed, and while waiting for breakfast, I wrote here and started a letter home. By the time I finished and looked out the window, I discovered, much to my horror (and I do mean horror) that it was not morning at all, but 9:00 at NIGHT!

So I got all undressed (I was completely dressed) and once again went to bed. I read about Paris and then found it very, very difficult indeed to get to sleep. Time: 10:45 ([on] the 10th).

When I did wake up this day (the 11th), it was 8:00. Dressed and breakfasted, I wrote here and then started out at 8:45. I walked from the hotel to the river [Seine] and then along the river practically all morning. Around noon, the water [rain] again fell and I was practically soaked before I could find a place to eat and get out of the rain.

Most of the afternoon was sprinkled with showers, making an enjoyable time absolutely impossible. I returned to the hotel to read magazines until 3:30 or so when the sun poked its head out. Then I, quick like a bunny, raced over to Notre Dame

Notre Dame

and took lots of pictures, even though the weather wasn't clear. [I enjoyed going up on the roof and seeing all the gargoyles, and I took a bunch of pictures of them, too.]

As 6 o'clock rolled on, I walked to the eastern part of the city and found a place to get supper, returning to the hotel afterwards. I was long overdue for a bath, but couldn't take one since there was no light in the bathroom. So instead, I wrote here, read a bit, and went to bed [at] 9:30.

August 12, 1955

With flies and mosquitoes buzzing around my head all night, I was glad to get up at 7:30. And with towel and soap in hand, I went down [the hall] to the bathroom [it wasn't connected to the room] for a nice, hot bath, only to find that tub filled with water. The drain was plugged.

I promptly went down to the 4th floor, opened doors left and right. Still no tub. Evidently the 4th floor doesn't have a tub. [Then] to the 3rd floor. Still no tub. [Then the] 2nd floor,[and] at last, a tub!

But it had a ring so thick, I could hardly step into the thing. I did, anyway, and had a good-as-possible-under-the-circumstances bath. Returning to the room, I brushed my teeth only to find, when my mouth was at its peak of foam, that the water would no longer come out of the faucet, hot or cold. I hoped then that something would go right this day.

Calling all over Paris, I found no information as to where I could get my [YMCA] conference accommodations, so I mde another trip to the [YMCA] headquarters. (It was then raining so hard that the pants I just had pressed didn't have a chance.)

At headquarters, my bad luck broke. I got my accommodations [address of where I was staying], a program, all sorts of information, and best of all, a Metro pass.

Back to the hotel, I got my bags, and by Metro went to my home for [the next] 12 days, the Lysee St. Louis. I got my room assignment from [someone at] the desk right inside the door, and proceeded up 98 stairs, baggage in hand, to a "lovely," old, dirty room with 47 beds in it.

My bedroom

This was home. There were no closets, chairs, tables, anything, except beds. I got a bed right next to the john, which consisted of a little room with a partition and a hole in the floor (oh yes, and a pull-chain). [No sit-down toilet was available in the building!]

The john

Within walking distance of the room was a long hall of basins - over 30 of them, with one faucet each (cold [water only]). Then I went down to a meal.

That was funny, too. At long, bare-wood tables,

The dining room

40 people were cramped in to eat everything from one plate [per table], dirty at that. The garbage from the previous meal was carefully strewn on the floor, making it just about as dirty as the benches we sat on. [In the picture above, the garbage had been cleaned up.] The meal, which I found out later was DINNER, consisted of water, bread, peas, little bits of salmon, and something I even hate to think of for dessert.

Well, in the afternoon, I went to the first conference, which was really quite exciting, with huge auditorium, lots of delegates, simultaneous translations (by IBM) in 4 languages, and all. Then came supper, which was more terrible than the noon meal. (I didn't think it possible, then), after which I took the Metro to the Cite Station to find the Coles [YMCA friends], Dwight Craine, and the gang. Everyone I found!

I spent the evening in a very, very wonderful talk with the Coles in their room. It was so good to see someone I knew. We discussed our respective trips, our experiences, and so forth. It was a wonderful evening. I concluded [it] walking up the unlit stairs of the Lycee. I was one of the last ones in. Time: 12:45.

August 13, 1955

Up at 7:00, I was on time for breakfast (which included coffee, bread, butter - limited - and that's all!) and made the second conference [session] on time. I was not heartbroken when several delays made me miss the noon meal. I ate out. Food tasted good again.

The afternoon commission meeting was, more or less, a waste of time. Supper at the Lycee [was] followed by a meeting of the work groups. After these concluded, I again went out to the Cite, but could not find anyone I knew. I also relieved myself on my visits there, since I would not test my aim [with the hole-in-the-floor "toilet" at the Lycee]. Back at the Lysee again at 11:30, I wrote here until I went to bed (I use the word loosly) at almost 12:15 or so.

August 14, 1955

I hoped that the drenching rain that Paris had seen the two previous days would discontinue, but fate had different ideas. It rained when I went to church (at the Palis de Sport), when I got out, and most of the afternoon, too. At church service, I ran into Jack and Ann Cole and they invited me to dinner at the Cite Universitaire with them. This I could not turn down. The meal was very good, and after it, since the weather was so miserable, Jack, Ann, and I went to their room, talked, read, wrote letters or postcards, and rested.

I stayed at the Cite for supper, after which I had a long talk with Dwight Craine, which was very enjoyable. By Metro I went to Lysee St. Louis at 8:15 for the evening [conference] program, after which, about midnight, I went to bed.

August 15, 1955

This day, weather wise, was just wonderful: sun shining and all. Up at 8:15, I missed breakfast (intentionally). The morning was occupied in the work groups. The meal st St. Louis was followed almost immediately by a meeting of the interest group which was followed, after an hour of free time, by a four-hour session at the Stade P. De Coubartin. This session, from 7 pm to a little after 11, started out with a box supper and turned out to be sort of an international talent night. After the affair, I went with two German friends to the Champs Elysees for lemonade. At about midnight, we started back and [I got] to bed [at] 1:00 am.

August 16, 1955

This day, weather wise, was [also] just wonderful. Up at 8:30, again, no breakfast, I got to the work group on time (as usual!). The meeting ended a little after noon. At St. Louis [before] the noon meal, I got all my [bath] things ready and went in search of a shower or bath [tub]. They were all locked up at St. Louis (they opened 6 - 8 am). {I went to] the Cite, [and couldn't find anyone I knew there, so] I came back with the almost week of dirt still thickening and hardening.

In the afternoon, I skipped the interest group meeting and [did some sightseeing at] Sacre Coeur,

Sacre Coeur

Pigalle, Moulin Rouge,

Moulin Rouge

the book stalls [along the Seine],

Book stalls

[and] Notre Dame, getting pictures in each place. After the night meal I attended the 22nd World Alliance YMCA opening plenary session. After that, I went directly to bed, arriving there about midnight.

August 17, 1955

Up again at 8:30, no breakfast, I attended the work group all morning. A little after 11 o'clock, I hopped a Metro for the Cite. Waiting a long time, I finely found Jack Cole, ate with him, and got my laundry. I then proceeded to take a shower (thanks to the Coles for use of their room, and for the fine job they did with my dirty clothes; I thought they were going to send [everything] out, but Ann did it [all] herself). Though the [shower] water was very cold, it was indeed good to peel off the many layers of dirt.

After the shower, I went to the general headquarters to get my mail, and [I] went to see a girl I had come over on the ship with, who wrote me a card asking me to come see her. She was not in Paris. By this time, it was time for supper, after which I caught the special train for Versailles and an evening at the garden of the palace. The program was the lighting (in color) of the gardens, fountains, statues, and palace. The program ended late, about 11 o'clock, and I was in bed and asleep by 12:20.

August 18, 1955

Up at 8:30 (no breakfast), I spent the entire morning at the 4th plenary meeting in the commission group meeting. After lunch, I spent the entire afternoon in the Palais de Sports for a plenary meeting.

The evening after supper was consumed in a joint program again in the Palais de Sport. After the program, I went out to the Cite to relieve myself. Got to bed at 1 am.

August 19, 1955

Up at 8:15 (no breakfast), I spent the entire morning at the 4th plenary meeting. After lunch in the afternoon, I went sightseeing at the Tuileries [Gardens]. I spent lots of time trying to find places to get clothes washed, and a suit coat cleaned. The evening passed slowly for me at a joint program [meeting]. (Another one.)

At about midnight, when it let out, I headed for the Cite for the usual reason. Unfortunately, when I tried to come back to the St Louis, I found the Metro closed. Although it was a long walk, I decided that that was all that there was left to do. But then it was 12:45, and I realized that St. Louis would be closed (the doors are locked at 1:00) by the time I got there.

Not wanting to sleep in the flower beds at the Cite, I went to Dwight Craine's hostel and threw stones at his window to get his attention. (His room was on the second floor, and I knew he'd be asleep.) As time wore on (1:30), I found more determination and finally went to his door. Shortly, I was on the floor of his room, in one of his blankets, asleep. Here, I spent a most uncomfortable, miserable night.

August 20, 1955

Up at 7:30, with aches in my back and neck, and [with] what I thought was the beginning of a cold, I ate with Dwight (he was kind enough to give me one of his breakfast tickets). With numerous Metro transfers, I finally arrived at the morning meeting at the Palais de Sports exactly one hour late. After lunch at St. Louis, I went out sightseeing to the Bois de Boulogae. The place was so very nice and interesting, that I stayed there all afternoon, and as a matter of fact, got back to the Lycee too late for supper, so [I] ate across the street.

It was indeed good to get some food again. The evening was consumed at the Stade P. De Soubestin in a program that let out at 11:30 or thereabouts. As the evening wore on, I realized that the cold I had feared was ripening. The cold that was a result of the dirt, the filth, and the terrible flies, and the poor food, and the unsanitary conditions of both the johns and kitchens, and the long hours in meetings kept me from enough sleep, not to mention the unavailability of showers, was sparked off by my sleeping on the floor. By the time I got to bed, 1:00, the cold was not only showing its teeth, but using them to its best advantage.

August 21, 1955

Throughout the night, the cold and swarms of flies made sleeping impossible and miserable. But just the same, I slept in to twelve noon. When I did get up, I wrote here and went down for lunch. I just felt absolutely horrible! I wished more than anything it were the 23rd and I were at the Pots' [home in Slikkerveer].

After the meal, I walked to Notre Dame and once again walked all around that area. From there, I went to the (Metro) Opera Station, where I ran into Dwight Craine. I then went with him and [some] friends of his to Napoleon's Tomb, then to the Cite, where I ate. In the evening, I went by Metro and got pictures of Notre Dame,

Notre Dame at night

the Arch of Triumph,

Arch of Triumph at night

and the Lido. Got to bed at midnight.

August 22, 1955

Up at 8:15 or so, I spent all morning at a meeting. In the afternoon, after lunch, I went to the Opera [Metro] Station again, this time to confirm my steamship reservation, to cash a Traveler's Check, and to visit the Wax Museum. By the time these were completed, I had to go directly to the Palais de Sports for the big rally. And what a rally it was! It was truly an inspirational and indeed wonderful climax to a very fine conference. I was very thrilled with it.

Supper came at 8:30 or so, and after it, I went out to the Cite for my "convenience." Back to the Lycee at 11:30, I wrote here, and was in bed by midnight.

August 23, 1955

Up at 9:00, I found my nose as full as the Palais de Sprots was the evening previous. In the morning, [with] cold and all, I saw the Pantheon (didn't get pictures; sun wasn't right), the hotel where Mother stayed when she was in Paris [as a child], and got my laundry (paid a terrible price, over 1000 franks), [then] back to St. Louis in time to pack before lunch. And what a miserable meal it was!

In the afternoon, I went to the flower and animal markets, and around the opera district. At a little after 4 o'clock, I got my things at St. Louis and took a taxi to the Gave de Nord Station. At 5:45, the train pulled out. On the train, I got the first really good meal in several weeks.

Arriving in Rotterdam [Holland] at 10:37, as I stepped off the train, I saw Mr. Pot coming up the stairs to meet me. The timing was perfect. He heartily greeted me and drove me to his home. After a refreshing drink, a pleasant conversation, and a look at some of his 3-D color pictures he had taken while [visiting] in the United States, [in] Detroit, and at my [parent's] house, I turned in at a little after midnight. I felt, as Mr. Pot asked me to [feel], "right at home."

August 24, 1955

Up at 8:15, I took a shower and was down to eat breakfast with Mr. Pot at 9:00. We then proceeded to see Slikkerveer park (built by Mr. Pot), his Klavarskribo shop (build by Mr. Pot [he invented Klavarskribo]), and then Mr. Pot's sister, Lien. We had such a fine talk!

We departed [Lien's house] at noon and returned two houses to the northwest to Mr. Pot's [house], for dinner, and indeed a superb meal. After a rest (during which I wrote here) until 2:30 or so, [when] we went to the "works" [Mr. Pot's dynamo factory], where Mr. Pot showed me all the different departments and processes in use. I also got to see many of his inventions, and also those of his brother.

It was late afternoon before we finished the works and after a while by the river watching the boats go by, we had supper. After the meal, we got into Mr. Pot's boat

Mr. Pot's boat

and went off for several hours to watch the sun go down, and to see the vicinity around Mr. Pot's house. He let me take the wheel practically all the way. When we got back, we talked about his "stereo" pictures and I saw some more of them. I got to bed about midnight or a little before.

August 25, 1955

Up at 8:45, breakfast at 9:30, [and then] we went to see the "new works" [new facilities for his dynamo factory]. Dinner at 12:30 [pm], after which I read Life [magazine] (English edition). For the rest of the afternoon, from about 2:00 to 6:00 or so, I slept.

After supper and several more stereo pictures, and a trip to the boat to get things ready for [our] voyage the next day [we were going to cruise around the Zuiderzee], and a letter written home, I talked with Mr. Pot about all sorts of physical and mathematical problems he proposed. I got to bed this night about 11:00.

August 26, 1955

Up at 8:00, I got things ready for the voyage, took a shower, got dressed, and was down for breakfast by 9:00. Around 9:30, we pulled off, Amsterdam [was] our destination the first day. Although the weather was quite cold and rainy at times, the trip was really great. Mr. Pot let me take the wheel most of the time.

As 1:00 drew near, we docked and went below for dinner. And as I expected to rough it quite a bit on the trip, I was really surprised to see a huge meal laid out on the table: steak, potatoes, beans, salad, fruit . . . the works! Supper, too, when its time arrived [in the evening] was very complete: cheese, cold meat, 3 to 4 different kinds of bread, milk, etc., etc., etc. (And these weren't the only times we ate - breakfast, dinner, and supper. We also had coffee and biscuit in mid-morning, tea and cookie in mid-afternoon, and a drink of tonic - fizz water, and cookie or sweet before bed. Note: Mr. Pot's "houseman," [John], did all the cooking, cleaning, dish washing, and work in general.)

John (left) and Mr. Pot
[John (left) and Mr. Pot.]

Well, [we arrived at] Amsterdam at about 6 o'clock. We walked around a bit, talked a bit, I read Life a bit, and I went to bed around 10 o'clock.

August 27, 1955

Up a little after eight, we started out for Marken, across the Zuiderzee, or at least what used to be [called the] same. We arrived at the village across from Volendam at noon and Mr. Pot and I walked about the town while John prepared dinner.

After the meal, we headed out again, north, to Enkhuizen, which was celebrating its 600th birthday. There we walked around a bit, ate supper, and walked around some more to watch the festivities: lights, music, and merriment. Returning to the boat by ten, I went to bed.

August 28, 1955

Up again a little after 8:00, we continued our look around the town after breakfast, and went to a little museum there. A little after noon and dinner, we started out for Hoorn. On the way, we had a fine swim in water which was, unfortunately covered with very small insects. These bugs, though short-lived (they live but one day), [had] made things very uncomfortable the day before. Thousands upon thousands of these bugs would fly in our eyes, ears, noses, mouths, into our clothing, and in the boat. I had never seen so many bugs in my life. It was like driving through a sand storm, but the sand could crawl in.

Fortunately, this day, most of the bugs were dead and the swim was really enjoyable. It was not too late in the afternoon when we pulled into Hoorn, so we had time to look around the town a bit before supper. After supper, I wrote here and then walked around some [more] with Mr. Pot and John. When we returned to the boat, we read a little bit, listened to the radio, and then went to bed somewhere around 10 or 10:30.

August 29, 1955

Up late, 8:45 or so, we had breakfast and left the village of Hoorn around 9:45, for Lelystad, a city in the middle of the Zuiderzee. We had [mid-day] dinner there and then set forth for Muiden. The weather the entire day was very windy and wavy and in the morning I didn't feel so good (stomach-wise, that is), but in the afternoon, I felt great. (Note: although my cold, from Paris, was still with me, it was on its way out.)

We arrived in Muiden a little after five o'clock, walked around a bit, ate supper, and listened to music on the radio. I wrote here and then listened to the radio some more before finally going to bed at around 10 or a little after.

August 30, 1955

Up around 8:30, we again started out after breakfast from Muiden. I had seen the last of the Zuiderzee, as we made our way along canals and rivers. We stopped at 1:00 for dinner and [then] were on our way again at 2:00. The weather was nicer (more sun), but there were still many clouds in the sky.

As the afternoon wore on, we came to huge locks (we had passed many smaller locks and a huge number of bridges which had to be opened for us to pass), which brought us out on the Rhine River.

We found a little inlet and anchored there for the night. Here, Mr. Pot took a swim, I took pictures, and John took to the kitchen to prepare supper. After supper, Pot and I talked and listened to the radio. I got to bed again around 10 o'clock.

August 31, 1955

Up a little before 9:00, we took our time getting breakfast, and started out for Slikkerveer at half past 10. Just a few miles from "home" we anchored for a very light [mid-day] dinner. After the meal, we ran gas consumption tests all the way to the dock. Mr. Pot wanted to see at what speed in [propeller] RPM he could run his boat most economically. (Result: the greatest speed for the least consumption [was] 100 RPM.)

Back in the house, I took a long shower, shaved, and put on some clean clothes (Mr. Pot's housekeeper had washed and ironed my dirty clothes). It felt mighty good to be clean again and although the boat ride was very interesting, I was VERY glad to be back in Slikkerveer. In the evening after supper, I read some more Life and watched TV with Pot. (I couldn't understand a word [spoken on the TV set]). When I got to bed, it was after 11 o'clock. The bed felt very good!

September 1, 1955

Up at eight, I took my time getting dressed and got down for breakfast a little after 8:45. At 9:05 or so, I went with Lien in her car to the Hague. There, we saw a display of the artistic talents of grade and high school pupils from all over Holland and from Germany, Switzerland, Norway, etc., etc., and several pictures from the US.

Examining the paintings, sculpture, drawings, wood-carvings, and other pieces of art, I discovered how really stupid I am. Along with Lien's lecture, the exhibition showed me the inferiority of my education and knowledge.

At lunch (Lien treated), I heard of Lien's philosophy of not only life, but of government, education, religion, ethics, etc., etc., etc. Though I did and do not agree with about 80-85 percent of what she said, I did not argue, since I knew it would be useless [and inappropriate].

In the afternoon, I waited 1st, while she tried to get a prescription filled, 2nd, while she got "benzine" [?] flowers and fruit, 3rd, over an hour while she took the fruit and flowers and visited her sick brother, and 4th, while she finally got her prescriptions filled. We returned to her house, arriving there at 5 o'clock. We had some tea, prunes, and cookies, and then I returned to Mr. Pot's house after many [times saying] "thank you so very much!"

I then started a letter home and wrote here until 6:30 and supper. At 7:00, I wrote here and then finished the letter home. Most of the rest of the evening I spent with Mr. Pot's nephew (I think that was the right relationship) and family at his [the nephew's] house. I returned to Pot's house and to bed at about 11.

September 2, 1955

Up at 8:15, I was dressed and down for breakfast at 9:00. After breakfast and a little more Life, at 10:30, Mr. Pot and I started out (via his Buick) for Rotterdam. Pot had an appointment with the dentist and so he dropped me off at the "55E," the Rotterdam Exposition. And indeed, what a most fabulous exhibition it was.

Although I could not read what any of the processes and displays were [about] (they were all in Dutch), I got the general idea of most of them. There were miles and miles of stalls, and larger buildings with exhibits ranging from jewelry making to an actual oil-drilling derrick in operation. There were displays of animals, cows, horses, chickens, etc.; milk packaging (in cardboard containers), barrel-making, weaving, tile manufacturing, and also exhibits of machinery, textiles, pottery, dairy goods, and even pre-historic animals.

I spent the whole day there, eating lunch as I walked around the displays. Around 6:15, I caught the bus to Slikkerveer, arriving at Pot's house a little after 7:00, in time for supper. In the evening, I read still more Life, talked with Mr. Pot a bit, watched TV, and finally went to bed [at] 12:00.

September 3, 1955

Although the alarm went off at 7:45, it was quarter of eight before I got up. After breakfast, I went out and took pictures of Pot's house, Lien's house, Klarvarscribo, etc. About 11:30, I wrote here 'til [our mid-day] dinner, after which I again wrote here until a little after 1:00, when I went with Mr. Pot via his boat to see the windmills near his house. We spent most of the afternoon looking around and paying a visit to Mrs. Smit, who is Pot's mother's sister's daughter.

Pot prepared supper for himself and me and we again took the boat out and ate (I prepared tea) in the reeds and watched the sun go down. When we returned home, I payed a visit (Lien [had] planned the thing) to Pot's brother's daughter's husband and had a very enjoyable talk.

Around 10 o'clock, the two of us (Pot's relation and I) went to Lien's house where we found Lien, Mr. Pot, and [his] uncle. The group was later joined by [Mr.] Pot's brother's daughter and for about an hour they talked . . . in Dutch. I just sat [there].

Lien Pot and Cornelis Pot
[Lien Pot and her brother Cornelis Pot in his back yard, which borders the Nieuwe Maas River.]

When we returned to [his] house, Pot prepared to fix the film which was broken in his camera. This he did and then we walked to the mailbox to mail the exposed film to be developed. We d to returned and went to bed . . . rather late, a little before half-past midnight.

September 4, 1955

Up at 8:15, I took a shower and was called into Pot's room. There, he said he was terribly ill and asked me to call John. This I did, and as I got dressed, I, for the first time in my life, heard a man cry with his pain. Pot had terrible dizzy spells and I assumed this was a severe attack.

It was quite an awful sound to hear a man in pain. When I finished breakfast and read more Life, I went to Lien's and at 10:30 or so we two started out for Utrecht where Michael DuBrois (spelling ?) lives. We stopped for coffee (I don't like it!) and made the 45-mile trip in a little over two hours. It seems that Michael is Lien's mother's parents' sibling's offspring's daughter's son . . . or something like that.

Most of the afternoon we . . . correction, they . . . sat and talked. In Dutch, of course. The day was really dull and uninteresting, but the thing that made it so miserable was that I had to act so happy and pleased and energetic, etc., etc., etc.

At [mid-day] dinner . . . correction, piece-meal lunch, . . . when Lien finally got it through her head that I could speak only English and had taken no other languages, except Latin, she in her most flowery language told me off in no uncertain terms. And I, not to cause a scene, smiled and agreed heartily.

During the ride home [to Mr. Pot's house], I was further lectured on the almost all-powerful energy of the Devil and other worthwhile subjects. Back at Pot's, I ate supper and then read Life some more. Pot was feeling better. After a chat with the family doctor and another visit and lecture (this one on "Liberty, Equality, [and] Fraternity") by Lien, I wrote a letter home and went to bed, arriving there at 10:30.

September 5, 1955

Up at 8:30, I got dressed and started to pack. Breakfast around 9:45 with Pot, who decided to get up this day. After breakfast, I finished packing and wrote here until a little after 11:00. At 11:30, the "good-bye, and thank you so much!" [comments] echoed many times; I bid Mr. Pot farewell, [and] Lien drove me to the dock [so I could catch my steamship to New York City].

After the good-byes to her, and perhaps an hour of red tape and waiting lines, I finally boarded the [Johan Van] Oldenbarnevelt.

On board the Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt

I quickly found most everyone I knew [on the ship], and then the long wait for the boat to leave port began. (Lunch was gotten on board.)

About an hour and a half late, the ship pulled away from the dock. After supper, I just loafed around until bedtime, somewhere around 10:15 or so.

September 6, 1955

Up at about 7:45 (all these times [on board] are ship times, not Europe or US times), I had breakfast and spent a most leisurely day this day . . . as most of the days on the ship. Doing not much more than sitting, reading, or resting, and eating, the time went by rather uneventfully, and it didn't go quickly.

I wished I had flown home, for now it was just time that kept me from Abington Road, and home was where I far preferred to be. The evening meal finally came, and then later on, bed time [at] 10 o'clock.

September 7, 1955

Up at 7:45, I showered and shaved before the morning meal. By this time, we were out of the English Channel and the ocean was noticeably moving. The morning slowly passed, and several people lost not only their appetites, but their breakfasts . . . which wasn't too pleasant to see or smell. There was also a number [of diners who] left the lunch table without ever finishing their meals, and as a matter of fact, some without hardly starting.

Well, this day, too, wore on. Two o'clock, then three, etc. The evening meal came and soon after, about 9:15, bedtime.

September 8, 1955

When I woke up this morning, the boat was pitching and rolling to beat the band. I got breakfast at about 7:00 and then went up on deck. The number of people there was not as great as it was the previous day.

But I thought it was tremendous. I got a big bang out of seeing the waves crash over the bow, and the wind blow the spray over all the decks, including the top deck. The wind was strong and it blew the swells into mountains, sometimes 20 to 30 feet high. Halfway through the morning, the sea gave no signs of letting up, [but] my stomach gave signs of letting down.

Numerous deposits [here and there by travelers] didn't help me or my stomach. By 11:45, I headed for my cabin in preparation for lunch, but the bed looked so inviting. I took a Dramamine and jumped in.

I woke up at 2:00 and got dressed, for Jack Cole had asked me to report on the YMCA conference to the Michigan delegation of older boys. The meeting, scheduled for 2:30 was called on account of the fact that most of the delegation was either in bed, or tending in that direction. Well, the afternoon passed slowly . . . gosh, did it pass slowly. I thought the morning took a long time!

Finally 4 o'clock and tea time, and then 5, and then 6. After dinner, I saw "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds" [along] with Jack and Ann Cole. After this, I hastened to bed. Time: 9:15.

September 9, 1955

Up again in time for breakfast at 7:00 (it was served from 7 to 9) and then out on deck. The morning had all the earmarks of being a long one, but a little after 9:00, the Coles and I started walking about the ship, [and ended] up playing tennis on the sports deck. There, the morning passed with relative speed.

When we came below for lunch, we found all the portholes and openings heavily secured with half-inch [thick] steel plates. There were numerous rumors going around, but we just had to wait and see what was coming.

After lunch, which was just terrible (the food on the Oldenbarnevelt was miserable, the service likewise was awful), I took a nice long shower and wrote here. These activities brought the time up to about 3:00. (The time on the Oldenbarnevelt was set so that every evening at midnight or perhaps later, the clocks were set back. For example: 25 minutes were added during the night of the eighth, 20 minutes the ninth, etc.)

When I got back on deck, I found an angry sea just beginning to show its teeth. I spent the afternoon watching the storm develop. By 4:30, the swells were 35 feet high, some of them, and the wind was licking at the sea and tossing the water every which way.

A little before 5:10, the command reached us to stay off the deck. The chairs and other movable objects on deck were lashed down, for now the wind had reached high velocity and had turned the ocean into a frenzy.

The wind kept the ship inclined at quite an angle, lashing it constantly with water. Soon, we, those of us who were able, were called for dinner. At the table, the dinnerware would slide up and down and soup was served in cups, and much noise was heard from the breaking dishes that had fallen on the floor, but there was a good deal of merriment, for everyone was trying to convince themselves that they weren't seasick.

After dinner, the storm still raged, but not being able to enjoy it (i.e.: going out on deck), I went to bed after a bit. It wasn't very late, only about 8:30. With the help of one or two doses of Dramamine, I managed through the entire storm without seasickness.

September 10, 1955

Up again in time to get to breakfast by a little after 7:00, I went up on deck after the meal. The morning dragged by. It seemed especially long, since the meal sittings were changed. Up to this day, I had eaten lunch at 12:15, but starting this day, I ate when the second serving had eaten, 1:15, that is, to say the first and second sittings were just switched around.

After lunch, the meeting that was scheduled for two days before was held and I gave a most terrible explanation of the conference in Paris. It was absolutely horrible. After the meeting, 4:15 or so, I tried to sleep it off until dinner. After dinner, I once again headed for bed, arriving there shortly after eight. [My talk at the afternoon's meeting had embarrassed me greatly. I was very ashamed. But,] I was soon asleep.

September 11, 1955

As usual, I was up for breakfast a little after 7:00. I spent the morning sunning (still trying to forget about the talk the day before) until 10:30, when I got ready for church service. (I also turned out a small washing, hoping it would be the last one of the journey.) [The service] took from 11:00 to 12:00. Soon it was lunch time.

The afternoon whiled itself away rather slowly and uneventfully. After dinner, in the evening, I played Hearts with Jack and Ann Cole and one of my roommates on board [the] ship. The evening passed very quickly, and before I knew it, it was 11:30. We finished the game and went to bed, arriving there somewhere around midnight.

September 12, 1955

This morning, I got up about 8:15, getting to breakfast around 8:30. The morning passed fairly quickly in a chess game with Ann Cole. After lunch, I caught up here (I was several days behind), and spent the rest of the afternoon composing a letter to Mr. Pot, another to Lien Pot, and a quick one home. These were to be sent from Halifax in two days. After dinner and a short game of Hearts, I went again with the Coles to the movie, "Panic in the Street." It was a real good show, but got out late, about 11:00. I went right to bed.

Earlier in the day, I heard some facts about the storm we had passed through [for] several days. It seems it was a hurricane, hurricane Flora, as a matter of fact. There were winds of 85 miles per hour and the ship listed at an angle of 15 degrees. If we had listed 2/3 more than that, we would have gone over. In other words, if the ship lists at an angle of 25 degrees, it capsizes.

The captain cut the engine as the storm raged, and we were blown 40 miles south. [That delayed our arrival in New York City by a full day.] I guess it was quite a storm, [and, lucky for me] I didn't get seasick.

September 13, 1955

This morning I got up at about 8:15, or a little before, and I showered, shaved, dressed, and got down to breakfast before 9:00. The morning was spent in helping Ann Cole roll yarn, and in playing several games of chess. After lunch, I went directly down to the barbershop and waited from 2:25 until 5:00 before I even got in the chair.

But it was, if not so good, inexpensive: 25 American cents including a tip. Haircut completed, I played about three quarters of another game of chess before it was dining time.

In the evening, I watched the Coles and some of their friends play cards. A little before 10:00, I left the card players and went to bed, getting to sleep rather quickly, by ten o'clock.

September 14, 1955

Up at a little after 7:30, I had finished breakfast before 8:15. I then wrote here for a half hour and went topside only to find that we had arrived in Halifax. All morning, we stayed in port.

During this time, I played cards with the Coles and two other fellows that eat at the same table we do. About 11:30, tugs pulled us out of the harbor. After lunch, I played more cards, this time with various people until [it was time for] dinner.

After dinner, I did not much of anything until 9:15, when I went in to see "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," only to find I had seen it sometime before. But it was a good time killer. At 11:20, the show got out and I went right to bed, arriving there just about half past.

September 15, 1955

Up a little before 7:00, I took a nice, long shower, [had a] shave, shampoo, etc. and got to breakfast before 8:30. The morning passed as usual, [until] around 9:30, when an air of excitement was noticeable. People were running about wildly trying to get their baggage declarations to the proper person, or searching for disembarkation tags, or just getting things ready to go.

I, however, played cards most of the morning with various people. [However], for about an hour of the morning, I went up on the ship's bridge [for a tour]. I had a most interesting time examining the radar, gyroscope, and the navigation instruments and controls.

After lunch though, I too, packed and tried to get everything in order. Around 5:15 or so, I took a few pictures and then played cards until time for dinner, or the "Farewell Dinner," as the menu [called it].

It was by far the best meal we had on hoard ship, but still lacked the quality of the Maasdam meals. After dinner, I talked practically all evening with the Coles. They are so very fine and understanding. At midnight, I got in bed and fell asleep [quickly].

September 16, 1955

Waking up at 6:15, I waited until my roommate was finished dressing before I got up at half past. I dressed, wrote here, packed, and then went up on deck to see we were already in the New York harbor.

The New York City skyline

Instead of docking at Hoboken as scheduled, we were going to pull in at Manhattan. I took a picture of the sun rise and went down for breakfast. When I went back on deck, two tugs were manipulating us through the channel. We passed the Statue of Liberty and finally docked at the 42nd Pier, somewhere around 8:00.

The Coles and I talked and played cards until after 10:00, when the last baggage was finally removed from the ship and we could get off.

Customs was not at all hard and just took time. I took a taxi from the dock with four others from Michigan's [delegation at the Paris conference] to the East Side Terminal. There, we checked our reservations on an American Airlines plane to Detroit, and paid for our overweight luggage (mine cost over five dollars).

Eating lunch in the terminal, I had my first American hamburger and milkshake in three months or more, and it tasted real good. And it was real good to be back on good old USA land.

By the time lunch was finished, it was after two. I addressed my exposed films to the processing lab, and walked to the post office to get airmail stamps and mail the rolls. I then walked back to the terminal, bought a "pocket" book, and read [it for] the rest of the afternoon.

At 8:00, I ate dinner with the Coles and their group, returning to the terminal in time to catch the bus to the airport and the plane.

It was really quite a thrill, my first plane ride: the roar of the engines pulling us down the runway, the smooth sensation as we left the ground, and the beautiful sight of New York [City] at night. We left NY at 10:30, and arrived in Willow Run at 11:55, two and a half hours later. Detroit's time was an hour earlier than New York's.

When I got off the plane, I didn't walk more than 50 yards before I was quite warmly greeted by Mother and Dad.

I claimed my luggage and went, with the Coles, to the car. We drove the Coles [to their] home and then headed for Abington Road, getting there not much after one o'clock [in the morning].

There were lots of questions that I answered, lots of things I showed, and several gifts I gave. The time passed quite quickly, and before I knew it, it was after 5 am. I didn't get to bed much before 6 o'clock, but it was my own bed. The trip was over. I was home, and I was very, very happy.

[Footnote at the end of my log:] Through the cooperation of one father and one mother, the above trip was made [possible]. The account thereof is, to be best of my knowledge (not spelling) a true one, recorded from day to day by me. It is an account of my travels and experiences from June 14th to September 16th in the year 1955, including the ride to and stay at New York, the ship ride across the ocean, the stay with Cooks' Tour 615 for 1955, the attendance at the Young Men's Christian Association's World Alliance Centennial Conference, the visit with the Pots, the ship ride back to New York, and the plane ride finally back to Detroit. It is to be used in conjunction with Cooks itinerary of Tour 615 for 1955, and [the] list of members on that tour, and also the many color photographs [slides, actually] taken.

My log

Comments (added April 10, 2024):

I'm surprised after all these decades, that my slides are in as good a condition as they are. I scanned them into my computer April 12, 2024 for use here. Some had faded quite badly (didn't use those), but although the colors have degraded somewhat with the others, they aren't so bad at all. I didn't include here all the pictures I took, not by a long shot.

In transcribing this log from handwritten to digital form, I made very few changes, aside from correcting spelling errors and punctuation. The few text changes I did make were to clarify confusing wording or to add [in brackets] a few words to clarify the text.

Reading my words after such a long time (69 years!), I was intrigued to notice how different things were back then. Also, I found a number of details about the trip that I had completely forgotten about! Ah, but there were many I remember perfectly!

It was indeed a trip of a lifetime, and I'm very thankful for it!