26/3/54Dear Mother & Daddy Uible & all,
We are having a marvelous trip and wish you could all be here to enjoy it with us. Today we land in Lisbon for 10 hours. The schedule says 5:00 but we will arrive about 2:00 & have arranged to take the tour around the city and up to Estoril, the resort town about 10 miles north of Lisbon.
The first few days went slowly but now they are going really fast since we have met congenial people & hate having them leave us. When we first looked around we thought we were the only Americans traveling in the Tourist Class & all the rest were Italians who spoke little or no English. But later comparing notes with other Americans they felt the very same way. Probably a good half of them are Italian or that descent but there are others – sightseeing Americans like us – perhaps 80-100 – many Spanish people – French Canadians, Canadians, Turkish people – Arabs and a few of everything else.
Every evening there is either a movie or dance (The Spanish people aboard really .... up the dances). There are concerts in the afternoons and impromptu entertaining all day long from the tourists themselves.
The food is excellent but way too much of it & so many courses (about 9 altogether) starting with some sort of juice (variety), then appetizer course of boiled ham or some cold cut, olives peppers, cold salad – fish then choice of soup, then spaghetti or something similar at noon, fish in the evening – then the entree – meat potatoes, vegetable, tossed lettuce with a vinegar-olive oil dressing. Then dessert – a pastry – some cheese – fruit – apples, oranges, pears or tangerines then Italian or American coffee or tea or milk (tastes like a comb. of canned & _?_ & never cold). There is always a roll, butter, jugs of water & wine on the table & you may have as much or as little of any the above things as you wish. We eat at the 2nd sitting which is 8:00, 1:00 and 8:00 but breakfast never has to be too punctual.
Yesterday we took a tour of the engine room which was very interesting. They carry 2000 tons of diesel fuel and 3000 tons of water & replenish at every stop. All their drinking water comes from Naples & the other water from Halifax & New York but is brownish.
[now switches to HH writing]
Better adjust your glasses now – with me writing. Our room is about 8x9 – two bunk beds, washbowl & mirror, two small closets, 1 folding chair & 1 rug. When we weighed in at the Columbus airport we had 38# of luggage, we sent home from N.Y. about 8#, so think we are travelling as light as anyone.
There are a # of small children & infants on board, who do a good job of keeping their parents occupied.
Have taken very few pills – maybe 4 & have felt A1 except for two days. My nose & forehead are red from the sunshine from being on deck. We each have a deck chair (cost $1.50).
There are 1200 passengers on the ship & a crew, etc. of about 500 so a small town afloat. With an experience like this you marvel more like the adventure of C. Columbus in his small ship.
Am sending Joe a picture card of the ship & the front, lower deck is where the tourist class is allowed. Perhaps they will enjoy reading this letter.
Wonder when you are going to N.V.?