Friday, September 20, 2013

Exploring the Old World

As Alice Miner and her friends neared the European continent their comfort and excitement grew. Soon they would be off the Laurentic and exploring ancient cities through the assistance of skilled guides. The temperatures also were warming and everyone was feeling well and happy, including Jessica Johnson, who had experienced so much sea sickness on the trip across the Atlantic.

Alice writes, "Mar 18th
It rained and was quite cool. Wrote letters and sent postal cards. Met an interesting lady who told us about Paris & London. Jessie is feeling fine & we are having lots of fun. Had loquats for dinner. They grow at Madeira Island. Went to bed early. There was a fancy dress party and some of the costumes were fine. (can't read words) dressed as children, their costumes made out of newspapers won first prize. Slept well"


Alice does not seem to have brought along a camera on her trip abroad in 1929. In order to remember the places visited she purchased postal cards and assiduously wrote the dates on the backs of each city or site she visited.

"Mar 19th
We awakened to find ourselves nearing Gibraltar. Had an early breakfast. Bought extra tickets to go over by tender to Algeciras, Spain - where we spent the morning and had lunch at the Reina Christina. Did not like the Spanish cooking. Met ... West's friends. The streets were made of cobble stones & there was poverty everywhere. Went over to Gibraltar & took auto to galleries where we climbed 500 feet to see the view. It was wonderful. Saw public gardens. Shopped. Bought kimona & perfume. Returned to ship tired and slept like a top."


"Mar 20th
The morning was lovely & the Mediterranean looked very blue. I wrote letters for an hour. Walked on deck with Jessie. Afternoon rested in deck chairs. In the Eve had a game of bridge & at 9 o'clock went down to listen to Mr. Spellman give a splendid lecture on the interesting cities we were to visit. We are all keen over the prospect of seeing Algiers in the morning. Slept fairly well."


Hotel St. George, Algiers

"Mar 21st
Awakened to find ourselves entering the harbour of Algiers. The city is very oriental in appearance. The city is built on a hill site & the buildings are white with red tiled roofs. Dirt predominates. I saw Arabs, Bedouins & Jews & French all huddled together. The poorer section has very narrow streets & they are very steep. The poor are lying in the streets. We visited a weaving establishment, saw little girls 5 yrs old at work. Had dinner at the St. George Hotel, very fine. Beautiful gardens. Had special guide for the day, the weather was pleasant. Bought nothing, everybody well.

Mar 22nd
Had lovely quiet day on shipboard. The Mediterranean Sea was shafire (sic) blue & very beautiful. The sunset was magnificent and at night there was a full moon. Have met some charming people on board. Many are on a long cruise to Egypt & the Holy Land."


Monte Carlo

"Mar 23rd
Monaco & Monte Carlo
It was a beautiful day. We landed on Monaco by tender where autos were on hand to take us on the Corniche Dr. A most beautiful roadway built by Napoleon - Fruit trees were in bloom & the view was very wonderful. We drove to Nice where we had luncheon at the Majestic Hotel. Very fine. Mrs. Silver unexpectedly met a friend (Miss Murray) on the street. We returned to Monte Carlo & visited the Casino where we tried our luck & lost. We all had a lovely day.

Mar 24th
On board the Laurentic
A lovely bright warm day and so calm. Passed Elba Island, Monte Cristo & Corsica.
Attended Episcopal service in Lounge Room. Captain French & Mr. Parton read the service & orchestra did the music. Lounged in the aft. Packed our bags & had a great time settling our tips. For a time thought I had lost some Am. Ex. checks. It was only a scare. Talked with Mrs. Curtis of St. Louis, Mrs. Tucker of Witchaws (hard to read) & Mrs. Treadwell of Chicago. They are all continuing the cruise to the H. Land."


"Mar 25th
Arrived at 7am. Left ship at 9 o'clock. Am. Ex. man took charge of baggage & soon we arrived at Hotel Vesuve. Had large spacious rooms over looking the quay. First walked to Am. Ex. office . No letter no cable. Returned via the park & visited the Aquarium & saw octopus & every kind of sea life. Was amused watching children & nurse maids. Had luncheon at Hotel & shopped. Called on Mr. Sapio. Bought tortoise shell vanity box. Had lots of fun on the street with natives. Came back to hotel for dinner."




"Mar 26th
Left at 9AM in auto with private guide Mr. Gallo. He was patient, attentive & kind. Drove through the valley & up the mountains 3,000 feet to Revello (sic) for lunch at Carrisos Hotel. Met travellers from the Laurentic. Had clear day and saw the Mediterranean in all its beauty. Drove in sight of it all aft. visiting Amalfi & arrived at Sorrento at 3:30. Visited some shops & bought dress for Nancy. When at Revello we went into the old church & saw the wonderful mosaic pulpit. Arrived at Hotel Vesuve in time for dinner. Saw Judge Clark & where we had lunch the manager recognized me having seen me at the Waldorf. He was in the Palm Room for years."

We'll leave Alice and her friends in Sorrento... next stop Pompeii!

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