In my burrowing at Grandma Snail’s this week, I found postcards from Mama Snail’s travels in the years just after her year abroad that I wrote about yesterday. (Postcards from Mama Snail’s year studying in England and exploring Western Europe may be viewed here.) Here’s the next chapter.
Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
The bridge was last rebuilt in 1345! Though traditional at the time, the Ponte Vecchio is now an unusual bridge for having shops right on it.
Mailed from Arles, France April 8, 1977
“All’s well that ends well, and out stay in Florence after the first 2 days (stayed six in all) was just fine. Went to the Academy (saw the David) the [can’t make out, post mark overlaps], the Bargello, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo + [can’t make out, post mark overlaps] several other churches + museums, the beautiful Boboli gardens in back of the Pitti Palace, and the Piazza de Michaelangelo [sic.] + the Forte Belvedere. Changed pensiones–this time got one with a sane owner–good room too–25′ square with a 14′ ceiling. Chamber [I think] + breakfast–10,000 lire (double). Then to Nice; [can’t make out] out 2 days–weather beautiful (cleared up in Florence too)–we were paying 29 francs a night for a double–$6–on the French Riviera! Beautiful, but too resorty to spend much time. Now in Arles–this weekend ( Sat, Sun. + Mon) their spring festival, with dancing + bands in the street + bullfights in the arena (Roman). Today we take a daytrip to Avignon, (20 min. train ride) to see what that’s like. Leave on Tuesday for Carcassonne; stay there a day or two, then…well, haven’t decided yet…
P.S. Got the $$ Thanks!”
May 11, 1979
“…Having a great time in Vancouver; took a day trip to Victoria, which was quite lovely. The weather hasn’t been the greatest, but the vacation was sruly [sic.] needed + much appreciated. Vancouver is a fantastic city–(Victoria is just a tourist town)–reminds me very much of Helsinki–modern city ringed with high mountains + inlets + such. Went to my first disco (not much), revolving restaurant (great view + good food too) and generally living it up…”
December 16, 1979
“…How are you? I’m having a fine time up here–and skiing isn’t as difficult as I’d imagined. I mean, I can even do it!..I’ve had two lessons, one more tomorrow (handsome blonde ski instructor named “Skip” (!) in chalk stretch pants…). Vail is a “Resort” with a passion, but I’m enjoying it…Hope you’re doing okay, have a nice Christmas, in case I forget to say later…”
September 14, 1984
“…Leaving London for Scotland tomorrow, been having a marvelous time, doing all sorts of things I missed last time around–daytrips to Kent (saw the Dawkins, who send their greetings–had a nice lunch there), to Hampton Court, to Oxford + Cambridge yesterday. 2 plays + tonight Lena Horne with the Strausses. Finally made it to Harrods (god!)–bought a riding crop–+ went to Fortnum + Mason, finally went to Hyde Park + Regent’s Park, a small museum in Mayfair called the Hertford House, + The Tate + The V+A museums. Wonderful wonderful wonderful! Our hotel near Victoria Station was perfectly adequate, the one with the Strausses on Sloane St. positively elegant. Stay tuned, am ok, love…”
September 20, 1984
“…Now in Scotland–much of it is very bleak, but this castle was especially nice–they still live in it, if you can believe it. Traveling with Steve’s parents different than being on our own, but nice to hear someone else arguing for a change! It’s definitely autumn up here, and on the Isle of Skye torrents of rain, patches of sunlight, lots of sheep + heather! (Visited a single malt whiskey distillery–still have heartburn)…”
“…Here we are in Lugano–the “Swiss Riviera.” Venice was wonderful, sunny even, and so far the good weather is holding. Took a sightseeing trip (boat) across Lake Lugano, day hikes–never seen so many healthy looking old people in my life! Went for a gondola ride in Venice and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip–less like a boat than a ride at Disneyland, so smooth and tranquil. Lugano is a small city built all the way up the sides of these peaks, looks a lot like Rio must. Found a cheap hotel behind the train station with the most gorgeous palm garden (in Switzerland!), though food is overpriced + lousy. Now on to Lucerne in German-speaking Switzerland (sigh–I was doing so well in Italian) then either Strausbourg [sic.]/Rhine/Frankfort or Munich/Frankfort, + home! Loving the trip, but I don’t care if I never eat in another restaurant again! Home 10/30 late…”
Caption: St. Peter’s Catholic Church by the Sea at Kahaluu on the Big Island of Hawaii
April 26, 1985 or -9
“…Can you believe this? It’s right down the strand from where we’re staying–and it’s got the best snorkeling around! Kona is just beautiful, all green and blue and chunky black. We’ve been all over the island–the plants, the birds, incredible colors…and the fish, the reef! Then on to Kauai…”
Aloha till next time!