Thursday, June 14, 2007

Prestwick, Scotland

Monday - June 15, 1959 – Day 2

We were served breakfast in Scotland – the first of many new dining adventures. The only thing I remember about it is that smoked tongue was on the menu. I was completely unimpressed with the “smoked” part, but do remember wondering, “tongue from what?”, and pondering world hunger as I thought, "You people must be a lot hungrier than I am."

After a short flight from Prestwick, we finally arrived in Amsterdam. My mother and I were met at the airport by my grandmother, who lived in Germany and taught school on an American military base. She had arranged for one of her teaching friends, a Germany lady named Brigette (pronounced Bri-gee-ta) and her mother Mrs. Schillat to join us on our driving tour of Europe. The plan was to drive around Europe for 2 weeks, camping when possible, and end up at Grandma’s place in Hohenfels, Germany for a few days of rest before flying back home to Little Rock. Total trip - 3 weeks. Four women and one annoying 9-year-old – including all their luggage and camping gear – in one small car. HOW??? HOW??? HOW???

I’ll just say, my grandmother was never one to shrink from a challenge. The very fact she was teaching school in Germany at the age of 53 might be a tip-off. She and my grandfather got divorced when my grandmother was about 42, and she decided she was still young enough to see the world and have some fun. Sitting home feeling sorry for herself was not an option!

This is the 53-year-old grandmother and the car she drove all over Europe. An Opel Olympia.

Grandma went to Europe to teach school the year after I was born, and retired the year I graduated from high school. But there were many visits during those years. The routine was a trip home every other year during the summer break. On alternate years, she just toured Europe with her new European friends. Grandma was due home for her biennial visit to the U.S. in 1959, but for some reason decided to have my mother and me come to visit her instead.

Here I am viewing windmills in Amsterdam. I recall about 500 bicycles crossing this bridge just seconds after the photo was taken (wish I had a picture of that!). Must have been time for everyone to go home from work.

We spent the day touring the canals, and stayed the first night in a hotel in Amsterdam. Tomorrow the adventures really begin.

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