July 22, 1957
Dear Dad and Russ,
I meant to get a line or two off to you folks directly the Rivoires and I completed our “grand tour” of Germany and the only reason I can give you for not doing so – too darn hot to even write a letter! We are well out of the heatwave now but I can tell you for a while there it was pretty unbearable over here in Europe.
However, we did enjoy our week together so very, very much and I hope you took real good notice of that castle on the postcard we sent you – Neuschwanstein – when I saw it I then and there marked it down as a “must” for inclusion on our September itinerary. Before getting to Neuschwanstein Castle, we “did” the Rhine and Neckar valleys which are both very, very beautiful and although I was covering old ground from my trip with Sylvia last year, I enjoyed it even more this time and I’m really looking forward to showing you folks the same scenery. We stopped off at Heidelberg the first night and, among other things, paid a visit to “the Red Ox” which is the historic students’ bierhaus (pardon my German – I can’t even spell “house” anymore!) the Student Prince was supposed to have patronized. The next night we were in Munich and there we met Pam McDougall’s sister Lorna again – she’s attending university in Munich. Lorna took us on a whirlwind tour of Munich including the famous “Hofbräuhaus” which is without a doubt a “mecca” for all beer-loving souls. I must certainly introduce Russ to this shrine when we are in Munich. From Munich we drove leisurely through Bavaria (fantastically lovely!) down to Neuschwanstein, cut across a corner of Austria through the Alps, then back into Germany to the Boden See where we spent the night. The next morning when we awoke in Germany we had breakfast on the lake-front and directly across the lake was Switzerland to our left, Austria! We spent the day driving through the beautiful Black Forest, stopping for a night at Baden Baden. Then back to Bonn the next day.
Bob and Joan are still raving about the trip I can’t say I blame them – I am thoroughly sold on Germany. I think it is definitely THE country to see in Europe. And just last Wednesday I returned from a 12 day visit to another part of Germany – Berlin. I was only planning to stay a week but I loved Berlin much I stayed on three extra days! Berlin, as you probably know, is just an island in Russia so we have to fly to and from Berlin to avoid going through the East Zone of Germany. West Berlin is just fantastic to see you today. Of course, there is still much war damage still in evidence but to offset this there are what must surely be the most modern buildings in the world sprouting up all over the city. In the very heart of West Berlin, very near the Tiergarten, there is what is known as “the city of tomorrow” and it’s the last word in modernity. But once you pass through the Brandenburg gate it is another story altogether. I made three trips into the Russian sector and by the looks of things there you’d swear the last bomb was dropped yesterday with one rather glaring exception – Stalinallee – a street as Russian in appearance as Moscow itself! There is one good thing, however, that the “state” has done for East Berlin – that is revive the East Berlin Opera. Never in my life have I seen such a spectacle as their performance of “Aida”. It was flawless and superb. Well, I could go on and on but I will tell you lots more when you get here in person.
So glad to hear what you were able to do for the Toughs. They were so darn wonderful to me here in Bonn and I appreciate all your doing for them as much as they do. Please give them my love the next time you see them. We lost another member of our staff – Pam McDougall. And Harry Stewart is away on August 5. One by one they go.
Coincidentally, the very same day I received your latest letter inquiring about hotel accommodations in London, I was talking to Gordon Happy on our London line and he was asking when you two would be arriving in London and if you had any place to stay. Well, according to Hap, both he and Pat would be furious if you stayed at a hotel in London as they have lots of room at their place and would really like you to “bunk in” with them while in the big city. I didn’t give Hap any definite answer , Dad, but told him I would certainly mention this to you next letter and that, perhaps you could either write him direct c/o Canada House or else let me know what you decide and I could pass the news on to him. So just let me know next letter what you desire and I’ll act accordingly.
Now about September. I really don’t see too much point in trying to plan a detailed itinerary while you are there and I am here. However, perhaps we could stay in Bonn until, say, the Monday after you arrive, then strike out on a long drive through Europe. I was thinking today that maybe a full week in Austria might be rather nice. It’s awfully pretty and very restful. Then from there we might go to Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, and back up through Geneva, then along the south of France. However, let’s just wait until you to get this far anyways then we can sit down with the map and figure it out. Okay?
Well, now that the heat wave has subsided, I really must get cracking on overdue correspondence. So until next letter, bye-bye for now.
Lots of love, Dave
August 4, 1957
Dear Dad and Russ,
Happy birthday Dad!
Really not too much to report on at the moment except that we are now having our second spell this summer of really beautiful sunny warm weather. Let’s hope that it keeps up for September!
There are a couple of things I would like to mention before you to “go abroad”. One is – don’t worry about running out of cigarettes, Russ, as I have ample for the both of us. Just thought I’d let you know so you wouldn’t have to pack a whole lot of cigarettes to bring with you. Another thing – I wonder if you two could bring me over a couple of “unobtainable items”. If you could possibly manage to each bring along a plastic bottle of other “Old Spice” or “Mennen’s” spray deodorant and also some “Old Spice” aftershave lotion it would be most appreciated. Another thing I need very badly are some white dress shirts. All the German shirts are cut so long that they can double as nightshirts and besides it is very difficult for me to get my sleeve size over here. Perhaps you could mail me a couple of shirts so as not to take up too much room in your luggage and I could pay you for them when you get here. I would like “Arrow” shirts with a fairly short, wide collar size 15 1/2 – 32 (sleeve). However, don’t go to any unnecessary trouble over these items.
The Harry Stewarts left Bonn for home last Friday. Another of the “old guard” gone. However, we were very fortunate to get a really swell replacement for Harry – Bill Jenkins by name. I don’t know what there is about Bonn, but we sure do seem to get the pick of the crop in personnel!
Johnny York is going on leave from next Wednesday till September 3 so I’ll be doing his work in Registry which should be a change from communications for a while. I’m getting terribly excited about September 4 already can hardly wait until you to get over here.
Well, that’s about all for now.
Lots of love, Dave
August 5, 1957
Dear Dad & Russ,
This will just be a note to supplement yesterday’s letter. Received your most welcome letter of August 1 this morning and would like to answer a few of your questions right away.
I wrote Hap a letter today telling him of your acceptance of his offer to stay at his place while in London. However, as London airport was way out of the city towards Eton and Windsor Castle and because Hap does not have a car to my knowledge, I told him in my letter perhaps it would be best if you took the Airline Bus into London and then a taxi out to their place. The London taxis are very, very cheap and about the most honest in the world. Home address is:
Mr. G. A. Happy, 12 Northfolk House, Courtlands Sheen Road, Surrey, Richmond. Phone: Richmond 6586
Richmond is just southwest of London and is really one of the most beautiful parts of the city. It’s not very far from Hampton Court.
By the way, do you know anything about English currency? If not, you’re in for a lot of fun I can tell you. Just as a matter of interest there are 12 pennies to each shilling and 20 shillings to each pound. One shilling is worth approximately 15 cents. But the English currency comes in such odd denominations that I couldn’t possibly even start to describe them to you in a letter. However, I’m sure both the Happys and the Rivoires will be able to explain it to you when you get there.
I’m so glad the idea of Austria appeals to you. It’s really the most beautiful country – just like Banff! As far as money is concerned I should certainly think that about $10 per day per person example for living and eating in Europe. I spent Easter weekend with the Toughs in Holland and the whole thing only cost me $15! And car expenditures will be rock-bottom low thanks to the little VW – I get somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 miles per gallon and it uses very, very little oil – and, of course, no water!
Well, must away now.
Lots of love, Dave
[This was the last letter of 1957. Glen and Russ Nixon arrived in Europe in early September – Russ for three weeks and Glen for six.]