Postcards, Travel Snaps, and Back to Bonn

St. Mark's Square, Venice, August 1956

Postcard 1

Hi Russ & Dad,

Well here we are in Venice. The drive thru the whole of Germany, Austria & some of Italy was heavenly, although we drove all last night and arrived in Venice at 5 in the morning, so all I can say about northern Italy would come from maps. However, we should see most of it on the way to Verona and Milan when we go to Geneva. I’m writing this right here in St. Mark’s Square & they have a wonderful string orchestra playing Viennese waltzes.

Bye for now,

Sylvia & David

Sylvia with her Venetian hat, bag and gloves

Sylvia with her Venetian hat, bag and gloves

St. Mark's Square

St. Mark’s Square

Sylvia feeding the pigeons

Sylvia feeding the pigeons

Geneva Aug 56

Postcard 2

Dear Dad & Russ,

Greetings from Switzerland. Had a fabulous trip from Venice right across northern Italy, stopping at Verona & Milan. Then up to Lake Lugano & across the south of Switzerland to Geneva, arriving last Sat. night. On Sunday Sylvia & I & two chaps from our delegation drove to Mont Blanc where we had a tremendous snowball fight! Sylvia flew to Paris last night & I leave for Bonn tomorrow morning, via Basel, Black Forest, the Saar, Trier, Mosel River, etc. Lots of love,

Dave

October 15, 1956

Dear Dad and Russ

Since last writing I received your two most welcome letters dated September 23 and October 3.

First of all to your letter of September 23. You mentioned Sweden and Finland as “places to see” in Europe. Well, as a matter of fact I too, do have a great desire to visit the Scandinavian countries. George Howell often said that of all the places he has visited in Europe, he enjoyed Copenhagen the best. Oh well, one of these days… Would you folks be at all interested in visiting any of these countries? It would complicate things a little, i.e.,we would have to make a special trip north and then backtrack south again. But if you were really interested, I’m sure we could arrange something. However, we can easily visit Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France from Bonn.

I wouldn’t worry too much Russ, about only having three weeks leave. Three weeks is a long time over here as the distances are so short. Anyways, we’ll just try to see as much as possible in the time you do have. By the way, September suits me just fine too – I think it will be much easier for me to get leave and also the tourist season will have pretty well finished by then. Weather-wise it should also be much more comfortable for traveling around Italy.

Here’s a suggestion. If I’m not mistaken, I think the Montréal to Düsseldorf plane stops in London en route. If you two would like to see London (and it’s really worth a visit) I think you could arrange something with TCA [Trans-Canada Airlines, now Air Canada] for a London stop over before coming on to Germany.

You ask about Protestant churches in western Germany. Afraid I don’t know too much about this matter except that here in the Rhineland the people are almost all RC’s. The British and Americans have small Protestant churches in Bad Godesberg but other than that I think they are few and far between.

Now for local news. Really nothing too exciting to report this time – haven’t been outside of Germany since last letter. Thanksgiving weekend was pretty quiet. I had to work on the Saturday and Sunday and it rained. Monday, however, was a nice crisp autumn day so two of the stenos and I took the ferry across to Königswinter then the little train up the Drachenfels. You get a really beautiful view of the Rhine from up top.

David's view July 56

David’s view – Königswinter and the Drachenfels from across the Rhine

I’ve had company for the past month at my apartment. Capt. Jack Wolfe is sharing the apartment with me, probably until Christmas. He’s a swell chap with a terrific terrific sense of humor. He’s stationed in Soest and is in Bonn for the Status of Forces Conference. Also, Cecile Fyen was visiting for the week prior to Thanksgiving. She’s a terrific cook and Jack and I sure appreciated her presence. Jack’s wife was also visiting for a weekend the same time Cecile was here. I’m rather glad I got a big apartment! I’m having the apartment redecorated sometime this month and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see it next year.

It’s getting much colder these days and last Saturday I have to get the fire started again. The price of coal has gone up as a result of last winter’s cold weather – makes quite a hole in one’s budget.

Well, as I said, really not much to write about these days, so I’ll close off with

lots of love, Dave

[Readers will note that David seldom, if ever, mentions the nature of his work. Among other things, as a cryptographer, David was coding and decoding missives seen only by the Ambassador (Charles Ritchie), the Minister of External Affairs (Lester Pearson), and the Prime Minister (Louis St. Laurent). The period of mid-to-late 1956 saw great upheaval in world events in which Canada played a major role. The Suez Crisis began in July-August and continued through the remainder of the year. It was the Suez Crisis that cemented Canada’s role as a peacekeeper from the 1950s onward.]

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