Wednesday, April 09, 2014

1954 HH Letter from Italy

The intrepid travelers arrive in Firenze [Florence], staying at the Albergo Bonciani hotel. Here is a link to the hotel website – looks like a nice place! Dad will have to enlighten us as to how much it has changed in the 60 years since their first visit.  No indication to whom this was mailed – the CJ Uibles most likely (if they were home from Florida) but possibly Wells.  Transcription follows.

Saturday, April 10th

We left Rome yesterday at 8 A.M. & arrived here at 12:15, a distance of 184 miles.  We came 3rd class on the train, which was 1836 lire as against 3100 each for 2nd class.  The European trains have the aisle down one side with compartments – 2nd class they hold 6 people, 3rd class 8 people – but there were only 5 of us in our compartment so had plenty of room.  They were all students.

Saw several teams of oxen plowing yesterday with their wood plows, also people breaking up the clods by hand.  Their farms are about one garden size. 

Say if you see any good prospective renters for the vacant apt. rent it to them @$20.  I had hoped Mrs. Frost might want it again, but I don't know what her situation is now.  Would rather have it vacant than the wrong people.

We walked around town yesterday afternoon & evening & bought a guide book which we we have read upon & will start out today to see the sights.  Florence is quite an old town & has its share of magnificent public bldgs & churches.  It is quite a leather center & the main bridge over the Arno is lined with little shops.  There are lots of little places where you can get snacks – all kind of pastries, beverages and sandwiches – where we usually make one meal a day anyway.  Also lot of fruit stands & they have wonderful pears – grown from around Venice [?? looks like Vemince, but Venice is about the right amount of miles] – 170 miles more.

Motor bikes, etc. are as prevalent as auto & it seems that half the people walk in the street – so maybe we should have taken out that accident ins. that the travel man wanted to sell us – Ha.

The hotels have radiators in the room, but use them from 11/1 to 3/15 & then they charge extra for the heat – 400 lire (625 to the $) the hotels have dim lights – about 40 watt, so we added to our equipment a 100 watt.

Believe our next mail stop is Frankfort, Germany, where we should be passing thru in about two weeks.  Glad we are on our own & not on a conducted tour.

Coming over on the boat we turned up our clock 42 min. each night so that now we are six hours ahead of Ohio, which difference we haven't really got use to yet!  Just this letter so please take or mail on out to the Johnsons. 

– Harold & Jean

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