Art, architecture, history, travel

And then there was more Switzerland, Italy Spain 1975

7/14 Monday Switzerland

Today I went to buy cigars for Jill’s dad with Jamie, Vicky and Jill. We mailed them home from the post office. Her dad likes contraband cigars. We went to visit Mount Pilatus. There is a restaurant and observation deck on top.

Switzerland is not as exciting as I thought. I would rather have spent more time in Germany; I would rather have gone to Munich and spent less time here. (Thinking it over after 30 years I think is was wrong, I’m glad I got to see and do those things in Switzerland with my friends while I had the chance. I got to spend much more time in Munich and Germany later.)

I took Vicki and Vicky for a night tour of Luzern. We went to a café but it was very crowded and we had trouble finding a seat. I am very popular because I am going to college and have been to Europe last year; also because I can speak German. I am very tired and went to bed early.

7/15 Tuesday Lucerne

Alan’s alarm went off at 5:30 am instead of 6:30. We stopped in Brienz at a wood carving place. Brienz is actually near the headwaters of three major rivers Rhone, Rhine and Danube. Also famous for its cuckoo clocks.

7/16 Wednesday Grindelwald

Slept late 9:00. There are four people to a room here. The guys from Iowa did their wash in the sink in the room and hung up their wet clothes. They told us not to do that here. I was mad.

It seems that half the people here are mad about something. I think it is the Foehn (a particularly warm, dry wind with low barometric pressure also known as a rain shadow.) People say that it is very clean here. They are right.

I bought an English book here Englisch fuer Auslaender. The publisher is Langenscheidt. It teaches people who know German how to speak English. I still have that book. Spoke German to the lady at the printers and in the Bookshop. We had lots of salad for lunch. Went out with Nolt and Kirch and Zem(enski). Left them, Bought a Swiss army knife with graduation money from Aunt Sue. I kept that knife until 2003 when I mistakenly left it in hand luggage and had to give it up on Magadan Air flight from Alaska to Siberia. I gave it to our Bus driver.

Then we had dinner. Gave another walking tour of the pedestrian  bridge of Luzern with its famous murals of the Dance of the Dead. Went to the Swann Gasthof for a beer. Took a shower and packed. Dianne and Vicki are up to something.

7/17 Thursday Interlaken

The driver got a commission but the prices were cheap anyway. I wanted a music box with a traditional Swiss tune, but all they had were popular American tunes like Frank Sinatra. I still have the Swiss music box my Grandmother bought me when I was a kid. It plays The happy wanderer. I bought a music box for my Dad. He still has it. It has a picture of an old man on it. I also saw a beautiful music box with good tone it played three songs. I cost 2400 Swiss Francs ($1000.00) half the price of this trip.

Oberer Gletscher. We had lunch at the Wetterhorn Hotel. From here you can see the Eiger and Jungfrau mountain peaks. We are right in the middle of the Swiss Alps. It is beautiful here.

I went for a walk alone after lunch. I walked right up to a glacier it was cool. Glaciers are actually a compact for of ice that doesn’t melt in the summer. Some glaciers have an amazing pale blue color. You can walk right up to them and touch them and they will not melt. Glaciers are constantly moving. Albeit very slowly, about a half inch per year. It is the repeated freezing and thawing as well as the pressure that forms the glacier.

I am in a bad mood. I think I have a chip on my shoulder and am determined not to like it here. I think it has something to do with the weather.

It rained in Interlaken. The quality of life in Switzerland is equal to the US but not better. I wanted to feed the swans but it was raining. Came back wrote in Journal and post cards home. Dianne is mad at me but I don’t know why. Could the weather here be the Foehn? Went down to have a coke with Jill.

Italy Venice


Train transfer to Venice 10 hours. There was a nice couple on the train with a dog. They had an interesting kind of milk in a tube. They spoke German and Italian only. They thought I was English and complimented me on my German.

They offered Becky and me some Cognac. Susie choked on a sip.

Two Swiss kids from Switzerland couldn’t understand my German until their mother explained it was Hochdeutsch (High German). I taught them Some phrases in English What is your Name? And do you speak German?”

We are staying in a cheap hotel. The hotel is actually in Mestre on dry land. The hotel is old but it is okay for sleeping. The electricity kept going out whenever the girls tried to use their hairdryers. Our RAP is Pasquale. He is old and kind of strange. He has very tight pajamas. I think he is a little too interested in the girls. He is Italian but harmless. Someone tried to play a practical joke on me while I was asleep. I was not amused. I think it was Zem.

A note says I spent L 2,000 for meals about $2.50.

We had hard rolls with butter and jam for breakfast today and coffee of course. I’m drinking coffee now. Black, my friend Sharon says any other way and you’re only fooling yourself.

This morning was our tour of Venice. We saw many interesting things including the Doge’s palace, Prison and Weapons of Leonardo including a chastity belt. We saw Chiesa San Marco one of the great Byzantine cathedrals of the world. Walked to the top and stood right behind the famous horses.

7/18 Friday Venice

English: Piazza San Marco in Venice Italiano: ...

English: Piazza San Marco in Venice Italiano: Piazza San Marco a Venezia Español: Plaza San Marco en Venecia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Venice is the only city of its kind in the world because of the way it was developed: it was built on over 100 islands in a lagoon four kilometers from terra firma and two kilometers from the Adriatic Sea. If you have ever seen the movie The Italian Job then you will know what I’m talking about.

The entire historic center, crisscrossed by canals connected by hundreds of bridges, is a treasure from the artistic and architectural point of view.

It takes on an exceptional atmosphere during the phenomenon of “high water,” when the high tide exceeds the level of dry land and floods the main streets and piazzas of Venice.

For these reasons, Venice is one of the cities most visited by tourists from around the world. From the administrative point of view, it is the capitol of the province and of the Veneto region. It has 310,000 inhabitants.

Today we went to the glass factory it was very interesting. This is a very old City. Enjoyed a coffee with Roger at the Piazza San Marco. We ate lunch on the piazza. We met Sally’s mom here and she treated us all to ice cream. That was nice.

Venice is built on islands and completely surrounded by water. The gondolas are really cool. For longer and faster trips you can take a vaporetto. It works just like a city bus but it’s a boat instead. After lunch I went on a walking tour with Nolting. Customs house. Church of Santa Marie del Salute. We went to the L’Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia but it was closed. Then the Ca’ Rezzonico palace and Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and school where we saw the altar of Frari by Titian and where we lay on the floor to look at the ceiling frescoes. It is an abandoned Benedictine monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. My favorite museum in the wold. Guggenheim Museum in Venice.
Venice: acqua alta in Piazza San Marco.

Venice: acqua alta in Piazza San Marco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Went back to the Rialto Bridge. We had salad and ravioli for dinner With Susie T, Melanie, Ellen, Marcie, Elicia and two others. Marcie’s sister is a senior at Vanderbilt. She is from Arkansas and is Melanie’s friend. She visited me at school later and we went to the Station Inn in Nashville with her sister. She is really nice. Went back to the Piazza where we had lunch. The girls bought peaches. Then we went on a short tour of the Piazza San Marco and Bell tower (Campanile.) We saw the landmarks where citizens of New York saved Venice after the floods of 1966. . date accessed 8/14/11This tower was very important to the city of Regensburg the largest city in medieval Germany it was copied so often due to trade with Venice. Regensburg is the only city north of the Alps to have these towers.

Dianne and Sharon spread toothpaste on my lips while I was asleep. I woke up of course. What a practical joke! I finally figured out what they were up to.

The Remains of St. Mark the evangelist were brought to Venice from Alexandria in the ninth century by Italians.

The only building on the San Giorgio Maggiore Island, this church was built in 1566 AD. It is built inside a Benedictine monastery (that was erected in 1000 AD) in accordance with a plan by Andrea Palladio. The bright interior is covered with paintings by Carpaccio and Tintoretto, such as ‘L’ultima Cena’ and the ‘Raccolta della Manna’. From the bell tower, there is a magnificent view of San Marco. Mass (with Gregorian chants) is held every Sunday. date accessed 7/29 2006


7/19 Saturday

Feast of the Redemption

This was a big day. Went back to the Piazza San Marco and bought a book about for two dollars. I really like this place. Then to the Accademia. It was open this time and we took pictures. And the Ca’ Rezzonico palace. And Piazza it is built right on the water. Had lunch at a Student place and met a student from Denmark named Paul at the International hostel.

Walked around. Took the vaporetto across the wide part of the Grand Canal to San Marco. Found a junk market where I ran into Cam and Randy, the guys from Iowa. Took a nap in the piazza San Marco. Saw the altar and walked around the inside. I chased the birds in the square and an old lady got mad at me. Bird walk. Came back early and took another nap. We had dinner at the facility. Went back to the Piazza San Marco another time. They are celebrating the Feast of the Redemption of Mankind. This festival is unique to Venice. It has been celebrated for 400 years. It is a Feast day of the Catholic Church. It is like the 4th of July for Venice.

They had great Fireworks. We had a very hard time getting from Mestre because of the crowds. First we missed the bus, then the first boat. Jack and Vicky got the next boat. I think there is a little romance starting here. Nolting left with most of the group. Marcie, Roger and I got the next boat—we found Jack and Vicky under the Lions tail. Sat at café—ordered one of those big ice cream gelato with cookie rolls chocolate sauce and strawberries and sparklers. It was really cool.

Return to Nolting and group and bus station Fireworks.

7/20 Sunday Padua

Sunday Bus transfer to Florence. The bus was late, stopped in Padua. The Giotto Frescoes are beautiful. Scrovegni Chapel


We are staying in a pensione again. The food is delicious and the location is good. The girls are washing clothes. We had pizza for dinner with ice cream for dessert. I took Vicki on a tour of Florence seeing the David, Duomo and Baptistery. She is sick. Talked to Sylvia and Marcie.

I was just about to enter my pensione when I hear a woman passing by in a Carmen ghia convertible, screaming my name at the top of her lungs Teddy—-It was my High School English teacher. I didn’t know she was going to be in Florence. See travels with my aunt Margaret

I’m making Friends with Vicki. She is a junior. She bought a very nice necklace for herself today on the Ponte Vecchio. Had fun at the San Lorenzo Market again, bought some leather goods, including a pair of driving gloves. This is one of my favorite places in Italy. In addition to the leather market there is also a fresh food and meat market here.

I’ve discovered the trattoria got the bill for dinner tonight L 17,000 about $26.00 for six people including wine, water and bread. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I thought it was going to be $1000. I had roasted veal, pasta and red wine. I’ve discovered sparking water is cheaper than still and much better for you too. I found some interesting licorice flavored gums called charms. They sell them at the espresso bars.


A day trip to Pisa in the morning.

Pisa was very good; we had a tour with a good guide. We climbed the leaning tower. There are also a Baptistery and Basilica here dating from the twelfth century. Pisa was ruled by the Ghibellines. They were the mortal enemies of Henry the Lion and the Welfs from Bavaria.

Leonardo La ultima cena date accessed 8/9/11

7/24 Thursday Assisi

On the way to Rome the bus makes an excursion to Assisi, Umbria. The visitor feels as if he’s on a journey down the aisle toward the altar. No approach could be as spectacular or as appropriate as this. On the wall to the right of the staircase are frescoes done by Cimabue, who taught Giotto to paint. The largest and most famous is the Madonna with Four Angels and St. Francis. Assisi is a beautiful medieval town built on a hill—just being there gives a better understanding of what medieval life was like. St. Francis was a very interesting man. The girls are talking about the movie Brother sun Sister Moon. The churches are good. The Giotto frescoes are excellent. Saw the black body of St. Claire and a cloistered nun. Her face was covered.

Got to Rome before dinner. Facility on top of hill. Casa Tra Noi Good location for St. Peter’s and Vatican. Had meetings. Didn’t go out. Told jokes in Vicki’s room.

It is very hot in Rome this year about 30 C, in fact it is so hot the asphalt is melting in front of the Caesar forum.

I’m enjoying the little pieces of coconut for sale by street vendors for 100 lire about 25 cents. I’ve learned that it only costs 50 lire to sit down, while drinking your espresso, that’s less than 15 cents. Saw some great maps of the extent of the Roman Empire by the Forum today.

Rome still my favorite city in the WORLD!

7/25 Friday Rome is still great!

It’s the Holy year.

The “Heavenly Jerusalem” is a metaphor for the Catholic Church. And in Rome, St. Augustine saw a metaphor for God’s society of goodness and order and peace in the world based on its role as the heart of Christ’s Church. The singular authority this Church has maintained over two millennia of changing civilizations makes that truth abundantly clear. Amid the ruins of the former empire and its pagan temples, the Church of Rome stands as the living and unfolding history of the Christian legacy. It is only natural that the pilgrim’s journey should lead here.

Catholics usually gain special indulgences by going to Rome during a Holy Year and performing certain devotions, such as visiting St. Peter’s Basilica or other main basilicas such as St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran or St. Paul Outside the Walls. The Pope inaugurates this Holy Year with a solemn Mass, often celebrated on Christmas Eve of the preceding year (in this case 1999). He will also open the holy door of St. Peter’s Basilica, which has remained bricked up since the last Holy Year in 1975, and close it again at the end of the year; the dates for those ceremonies have not yet been set. Other rites, usually including special papal audiences, beatifications and canonizations, are also celebrated, but no schedule of events has yet been issued.

Pope John Paul declared a special Holy Year in 1983. 2000 was also a Holy year

Michael Petracioni is our RAP again.

Because I’ve been to Rome before I’m getting to do some things on my own without the group. In a few days, I’m planning to go out to the model city of EUR it is very far away and hard to get to. I also visited the ancient Appian Way and church of San Sebastian and tomb of Cecilia Metulla. I’m using the little orange guide book I bought last year.

Went back to the Tivoli Garden tonight with the group it is such a silly place.

The ruins are beautiful. St. Peter’s looks big this year. Probably because of all the other churches I’ve seen. Last year I had nothing to compare it to. Went back to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican museums, the Raphael frescoes didn’t appear as good as last year. This time I liked the Sistine chapel. The impressive mosaic maps of Italy in the map room were also as remembered. Saw the holy hammer used to open the holy doors for the holy year. Walked to the top of St. Peter’s again this year—no film. It was Fantastic.

7/26 Saturday Tour of Rome

Saw the Pantheon, pyramid of Cestius, Spanish steps; San Paolo fuori le Mura, St. Peter in Chains saw the Michelangelo Moses. Tre scalini was on strike. Later went to St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran on my own. There is a communist Festival in the village of San Giovanni.

I tried to get a Vatican stamp for my passport by the Swiss Guards but they wouldn’t do it. Apparently a stamp gives permission to enter the Vatican and not just show that you have been there. The Vatican does have its own special stamps and coins however. Paul VI is still pope. He is at Castel Gandolpho for the summer. Saw Aida at the baths of Caracalla with camels and horses but no elephants.

There is a special story about the Knights of Malta. Their territory is located on the via Condotti next to all of the fancy shops. Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta

The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order – which is based in Rome, in via Condotti – has its own Government, an independent magistracy, bilateral diplomatic relations with 94 countries and is granted the status of Permanent Observer in many international organizations, such as the United Nations. Its operational activities are managed by the six Grand Priories, four Sub priories and 46 National Associations of Knights in the five continents.

The Order issues its own passports and stamps and creates public institutions, endowed with independent juridical personality. Order’s life is governed by the Constitutional Charter and the Code, reformed in 1997. I still have never made it to the Borghese gardens or Naples in all of the times I have been to Rome. Update it is 2011 and after another attempt in 1986 I finally made it to the VB. It was well worth the wait. Went to the Zoo with KT and met Marion after lunch we had to make reservations several days before. Naples and Sicily another time I guess just spent ten days in Rome again. Fantastic I really love that city.

Public bus #118 goes from the Colosseum to Via Apia Antica. The church of Domine, quo vadis is there and the tomb of Cecilia Metulla. The bus line ends where the ancient road begins.

Some people in our group said they saw Dan Rather downtown in Rome. CBS reporter and recently appointed 60 Minutes correspondent received national attention due to reporting on Hurricane Carla.

Jack and I played a trick on everyone. I had him dress up in a sheet like Caesar with powdered face and laurel crown. I had everyone assemble in the court yard and at the right time Jack jumped out from behind the curtain. I told everyone I had found a statue in the Forum.

Olympic stadium

Drove by the Stadium from when the Olympics where in Rome in 1960. It doesn’t look anything like our Olympic field at home in St. Louis.

The History of the Olympics: 1960 – Rome, Italy It had been Coubertin’s wish since 1904 to have the Olympics hosted in Rome: “I desired Rome only because I wanted Olympism, after its return from the excursion to utilitarian America, to don once again the sumptuous toga, woven of art and philosophy, in which I had always wanted to clothe her.”* Fifty-six years later, Coubertin’s wish was fulfilled.

Italy created a mixture of modern and ancient sites to hold the contests. An Olympic Stadium and a Sports Palace were built for the Games while the Basilica of Maxentius and the Baths of Caracalla were restored to host the wrestling and gymnastic events respectively.

The 1960 Olympic Games were the first Olympics to be fully covered by television. The history of the Olympics date accessed 8/6 2006.

7/27 Sunday

7/28 Monday

The night before leaving we went back to the Piazza Navona and Tre Scalini, another big group. You know how much I hate that! Well I made the best of it. I had another tortufo with the secret center; it’s kind of a tradition with me.

7/29 TUESDAY LAST day in Rome Went to EUR.

Public bus #93 from the Termini to EUR

Yes, it’s probably more accurate to think of Fascist architecture as either the product of Italian Rationalism (a kind of cool, minimalistic modernism) or a variant on the Art Deco style (in this case a stripped down classicism). Granted, much of it is monumental, cold, and uninspired. Part of that is due to the fact that so much of it was in the form of public buildings. They were often built on large undeveloped (or newly razed) tracts over a relatively short time frame, which tends to encourage architectural monotony.

In recent years, there has been some re-evaluation of the qualities of the architecture of this period. It is not entirely fair to dismiss it with the evils of Fascism. Buildings may certainly convey a sense of power and become dehumanizing, but qualities like these are not exclusive to architecture built under dictatorships. There is an understandable natural tendency to project a dark symbolism into Fascist architecture. There is also a remarkable tendency to reinterpret such symbolism when the same forms appear in a democratic context.

For example, do you recognize this structure in the photo I’ve attached? No, it’s not Saarinen’s St. Louis Arch, gateway to the American West. It’s an unrealized Fascist project for E 42 (now called the E.U.R.).

Part of the Museum of Roman Civilization was closed but I did get to see the model of ancient Rome and some of the other things. Walked around, saw the sport palace from a distance also found beautiful gardens.

Went to St. Peter’s for the last time. I wanted to buy a candle but there were none. Used Holy water. Tried to get a pin for the Holy year. Left for Madrid after lunch.

7/30 8/3 Sunday Spain

We flew from Rome to Madrid

Madrid. We flew from Rome to Madrid. We saw some soldiers on a catwalk with machine guns at the airport in Rome. Due to the killings on an El Al Israeli airlines flight. A couple of men got a little unruly on the plane Alitalia I guess they were drunk. Went to a special department store downtown. Bought a wallet El Corte Inglés. We are staying in a nice hotel again. Went to the café Iowa bar near the Plaza d España.

I’m glad to be back in Madrid, because I had so much fun here the last time.  It seems strange to be ending up the trip here this time.  We had a tour of Madrid with a terrible guide.  We didn’t see too many things.  She kept taking us to shops and asking, “Don’t you want to buy something.”  I think Kirchoffer was angry.

This year our trip includes a visit to Philip II royal palace at el Escorial our guide is a hoot she is chiding the girls for not paying attention to her history lesson.  I can still hear screaming about Titian’s Charlie the V fighting the Araps (sic).  She wouldn’t answer questions.  The tombs were beautiful marble.

Valley of the Fallen and el Escorial

This controversial monument is a Roman Catholic Basilica and now contains the tomb of Spanish dictator Franco.

The most beautiful of the many grand squares in Madrid is the Plaza de Cibeles. The heavily trafficked square is surrounded by majestic buildings.

The Plaza Puerta del Sol is the perfect starting point to explore Madrid. This bustling, centrally located square is one of the city’s most lively places.

La Cibeles

Everyone went to the new Burger King downtown. I did not go. I don’t see what the big deal is. We returned to my favorite the Plaza Mayor at the center of Madrid. We did not eat at Botin’s this year.

So I ended up in Madrid again where I had begun my adventure a year ago.


Went to el Rastro. Today the Flea market bought a couple of things – a very large brass key and an antique metal box with a lid. There are a lot of veterans here selling trinkets from WWII. Security is tight at Madrid Barajas airport. There are lots of soldiers with guns. Edie M. had to have a hand search because her underwire bra set off the metal detector. That was scary.

Flew back to Chicago and then to St. Louis on Ozark. It was a lot better than the bus last year.

1973 December 17th – Italy, Rome Airport: five Palestinian terrorists began shooting as they pulled weapons from their luggage in the terminal lounge. Two people were killed there. The assailants then made their way to an American Airlines 707 preparing to take off for Beirut and Teheran. Hurling incendiary devices inside the aircraft, they killed all 29 people aboard and destroyed the plane. Next, they herded five Italian hostages into a Lufthansa jetliner and killed all 29 people aboard and destroyed the plane. Next, they herded five Italian hostages into a Lufthansa jetliner and killed a sixth person, an Italian customs policeman, as he tried to escape. The plane, carrying the hostages, crew and terrorists, took off and the pilot was ordered to head for Beirut. Lebanese officials refused to allow the plane to land, however, and it flew on to land in Athens.

In negotiations with Greek authorities, the group demanded the release of two Arab terrorists held since August 1973 for an attack on the Athens airport. (It is unclear whether the Greek government refused to release the terrorists or whether, after their release, the two Arabs refused to join the terrorists, as they were from a rival Palestinian group.)

In an effort to gain compliance with their demands, the terrorists killed one of the hostages and threw his body onto the tarmac before leaving Athens. The pilot had urged Greek authorities to meet the terrorists’ demands, reporting that four other hostages had been killed. (He was unaware that it was a hoax designed to place more pressure on the Greek authorities.) The plane then flew to Damascus where it took on fuel and food during a two-hour stop. Later that day, after landing in Kuwait, the terrorists released their hostages in return for free passage to an unknown destination.

Bombings shootings at airports. date accessed 8/6/2006


3 responses

  1. Pingback: Travels with my aunt Margaret « Things that I care about

  2. Pingback: Lucerne | Things that I care about

    • Thanks for the pingback

      September 7, 2014 at 6:50 pm

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