A Travellerspoint blog

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Boarding the Ship to Come Home

The End of the trip

Wed., p.m. Aug 18th '65 - Return Trip

Dear Families. I'm going to try to get my letters done while I have the typewriter borrowed before I have to do any typing for Daddy...

We are in the harbor at Le Havre, and I want to get a letter of some kind off to you in Southampton so you will know we made the boat and are O.K. We do not have the palatial (in comparison) room on this trip we had on the way over. It is about as big, or just a little bigger, than our bathroom! It has bunks, and a 'john' shower and sink. Very small and dark

Our room on the way over was really for 3 people, so we had plenty of space. Considering we had so much work to do on that trip, it is fortunate that it worked out that way. We are going to 'read over' again the galleys [for a book]..but we hope to do that on deck.

We were at a table for 6 last night, but very dull. A German girl who had been visiting relatives in W. Berlin, but works with an import firm in N.Y. and she had been taking seasick pills which had her practically anesthetized (the water is smooth as glass), and a pickled woman with Dutch background and she had been visiting the Netherlands and had been ALL over the country, but when I asked her about Zeeland (picture on menu) she remarked that she hadn't been there!

And a HANDSOME man with dark hair and eyes -- the kind you see drawn on Egyptian masonry -- where you see the eye, the whole eye, tho you are looking at a profile. When asked, he said he was from the Netherlands but "was living in Switzerland now" -- that was the last word he spoke, no, he commented on the queer taste of the water and guessed it was he was not used to it. He was very odd, he acted all through the meal as if he were ready to take flight at any second, and looked around and acted as if he were 'hunted' -- Of course, since he was so handsome, maybe he was afraid of being 'hunted for' by the youngish German girl -- she remarked after he fled that he had terrible manners, ate his meat with his bread and butter knife. The 6th seat was vacant.

So today we asked if we could change tables. We were put at a table with another couple, don't know how that will be, because they were leaving as we arrived, and they look considerably older. We may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. We had a good table coming over, so it encouraged me to ask for another large table -- I think after this, if this doesn't work out, we will stick to tables for 2. We do enjoy each other's company!..

We have had the roughest trip of any of our crossings. We couldn't figure out why, after we left Southampton, the boat began to roll some, but there wasn't a whitecap to be seen. There was no wind, nothing to indicate a storm. That was Wednesday. Then on Thursday, Daddy began taking dramamine, which I have no faith in. Every time he has taken it, he has been sick, and I haven't taken it and have been fine. [Dad was always seasick, and my mom never was. Fortunately I've inherited her genes] He seems O.K. now, and the sea is much calmer, although it is very foggy out. He found the dead center of the boat and spends the time there in the lounge. It is amazing how much less motion you feel there too!

We shifted from the original table, as I said, and are at one for four. The man is very nice and pleasant, but I don't know how he puts up with his wife. She has a very 'sour' expression - very dissatisfied with everything - is a perfect example of a pessimist.

The first meal we were evidently sitting on the side of the table they had sat - we were there first at that meal and didn't know. She said before she sat down "We have always sat there". I didn't say anything or indicate we had heard, but afterwards Daddy said, "Always - snort - all of two meals". It makes no difference to us, so the next meal we hurried to be first, and sat in the other seats so there would be no complaints. She is pleasant now to us since I have a connection with N.C.

It is much smoother today, but very foggy so we haven't been able to use our deck chairs really since we left England. I hope it will be better soon.
Dining Room Experience

Daddy got up and went out on deck early, then came back and we proof read some before breakfast. That was a mistake, we should have gone out. The sun was shining and our table partners said they saw whales and they were spouting. That I have never seen, and would love to!

She is really the most pessimistic person! The bacon isn't cooked enuf, there are onions in the other thing, that person in back of her is disgusting. She just isn't interested in anyone on the boat, and feels so fortunate that they had some congenial people at the table with them! I can't be my usual Pollyanna self or it will look too critical of her. I feel there are probably plenty of nice people on board, tho I haven't had time to talk to them.

When we bought the bus tickets for going to the RR station, at the purser's office, Daddy was looking at the liquor info and saw that we could bring in 5 bottles of Old Forrester for 15.00, which is about half price. I said I didn't know what we would do with it, and the man behind the counter said he did. Daddy said he thought we really had enuf for egg nog at Xmas and we didn't want a surplus - and I said as far as I was concerned, one bottle would be a surplus, and I thought the man behind the counter would have a fit.

We decided it would be too heavy to carry and there was no one we cared that much about to give anything like that to that was worth the trouble to get it. I did get a very pretty ring on board. A garnet ring, which will take the place of a ruby one for my birthstone. It isn't a priceless ring, but it is very nice.

There is a dance team on board who gave an exhibition last night on Spanish dancing. This is a very nice boat, the service is lots better in the DR than on the Statendam.

We went to the "Hat Show" last night - hats were made out of all kinds of things. 1st prize was won by "big bad john" - and it was a white hat made like a toilet seat, with a shiny round aluminum foil covered "pipe", probably roller from towels, and then a "box" with flowers on it like a coffin (the toilet box) and then a wire holding a dangling string for the pull cord. That was really clever. They also had a windmill with tulips, and a ladybug (a very good one) on a woman and a tall stovepipe hat with a cowboy boot picture pasted on the front. They were "ladybird and the tall Texan".

We also saw a very good documentary film called "Mediterranean Holiday". It was a picture of the Swedish sailing vessel of young boys and their voyage around the Med. And the ShangriLa of the 6th fleet was also in it.

We are 5 hours late, due to the rough weather I guess. I didn't know we were scheduled to be in at 8 am. I guess this just about wraps up our trip.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:21 Archived in France Tagged cruise lahavre Comments (0)

My mother's account of her trip to Russia in 1970

The next time we went to Russia I went with Daddy. That was the anatomical meeting in Leningrad. He wanted me to see Moscow.

[They flew to Moscow and then took the train to Leningrad/St. Petersburg. I didn't digitize many of the Moscow photos]

That was the year we went to the Passion Play. We stayed in Oberammegau with the member of the Passion Play who was one of the disciples. Somehow I got a terrible case of diarrhea. They had had heavy rains. Alice Miller had been there ahead of me and the floods had almost rained it out. Everyone was warned not to drink the water. I don't know what I ate but I had the most gosh awful cramps and it grabbed me in the middle of the Passion Play. I didn't think I would be gone that long. We signaled to a Schwester. She took me back underneath and they had little booths underneath the amphitheater. After I got myself cleaned up she took me to the doctor and he gave me a pill and a glass of water. I said, do I drink this water. And he said, of course. I sat there for awhile before I went back to the play. But that night I was up half the night. The next day we had to leave for Moscow. As we got on the plane I saw the headlines that there was a cholera epidemic at the Black Sea. I told Daddy, don't let them take me to the hospital. I managed to make it into Moscow.

My mom's photo of my dad
My dad and the guide who is wearing a bright red dress
My mom standing with the guide

At the hotel, still under construction, the dearest little old man took us up to the room, furnished in the style of Sears Roebuck 1930. He was so proud of it. We have a living room, a bed room, and a bath room. '

My dad reflected in the hotel mirror from the bathroom

He flushed the toilet and looked ecstatic. It was amusing... and pathetic. The first meal that we went to I met the wife of one of the other anatomists. She said, "Mrs. Figge I had always thought that your husband was one of the most intelligent men in the anatomical society. But if this is the second time he has been to Russia I am beginning to doubt it."

Display of Sobotta Atlas of Anatomy - my dad was the American editor - it was published in Germany

We had taken a copy of Sobotta and some magazines through customs to give to the anatomists and never heard a word of thanks and it has probably been plagiarized all through Russia. Our new hotel was on the river and across from the palace which was a museum.

Our guide pointed out that in contrast to this country, the common ordinary people really appreciated and took care of the wonderful things in museums, the things the czars had collected, they appreciated and enjoyed. We saw some marvelous things. But I also saw a beautiful girl on a scaffolding from a plank held with ropes, seven floors up, with her hands red in the wind, and she was putting mortar between bricks.


I decided then they could keep equality to themselves. You'd see old women — they looked old, I'm sure they were not very old laying cobblestones— with some man standing there telling them what to do.


We went to the winter palace on a hydrofoil but we couldn't go in at all.


Posted by greatgrandmaR 00:00 Archived in Russia Comments (6)

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