CHILUCOTHE CONSTITUTION-TRIBUNE, WEDNESDAY, MAY U, 1982 Midweek CHILLICOTHE, MISSOURI-64401-PAGE 9b Text and photos by Sheri Jan Broyles Second of three articles Let's go: Europe I left Paris on a night train for Amsterdam, sleeping through Belgium on the way. Sleeping on the train has its good and bad points. One saves time by not spending all day on the train, leaving time to see other things. But 1 missed alot of the countryside: And, unless you reserve a sleeping car with bunks, 'the conductor wakes-you at the border of each country to 'check your train pass, then the border police come through and wake you to check yhour passport. Europe is not all that big--I went through three countries and was checked eight times from Paris to Amsterdam. Holland is a beautiful, clean country--and very flat. Although I saw few windmills, and, according to a local, none are in use, I did see several thousand miles of canals. Â· Amsterdam is criss-crossed with canals, dividing the city into 70 islands, which are connected by 1,000 bridges. . My primary interest in Amsterdam was the Anne Frank House. Having been a part of the play "The Diary of Anne Frank" in high school, I especially wanted to see where the Frank family had hidden several yearVf rorfi the Nazi soldiers. While one could actually walk through the upper rooms, the most interesting part was the pictures and reading material (in three languages). The presentation described how World War II came about, how Hitler rose to power, and more importantly, why he rose to power. It also followed Holland and the Frank family through the war, explaining the horrible aspects, with pictures, of the holocaust. Standing in the Frank home with the rain falling on the roof, I felt I could understand how Anne Frank must have felt. And thinking of the six million who died, among them Anne Frank, I listened to the nearby church bells ringing. It seemed paradoxical. I made a special stop at a beautiful, modern youth hostel outside Copenhagen, Denmark. An acquaintance on the train had told me they had laundry facilities. The luxury of clean clothes. I took the Northwest Express from Amsterdam, to Copenhagen, but encountered several problems. First I was not certain I would get a seat because it was the end of an official Danish holiday and everyone was returning home. Then the train was 45 minutes late--something rather unusual. Once settled on the train, there was a question whether my'part of the train was going to Berlin or Copenhagen. During 'the night, trains often split," some cars going one direction and the rest a different place. As it turned out, my part of the train went most of the way to Copenhagen. The train at one point goes on a ferry, and my car was not one of those included. Erected jn, August 1961, the Berlin Wall has become the symbol of this divided city. On the West Berlin side, the Wall is filled with graffiti, while the East Berlin side of the The Plaza de Espana, or plaza of Spain, is just one of the many parks and plazas found in Seville, Spain. Seville is the city after which the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City is modelled. 1 , ' So at 4:30 a.m., I had to get up and move. Windowing shopping in Copenhagen was wonderful. I've never seen so many beautiful fur coats. Window after window. And the danish pastry. I found it difficult to pass the bakeries on every corner. Sometimes I felt like I was eating my way across Europe. From Copenhagen I planned to make a quick run through Sweden to Oslo, Norway. But one*, on the train, several persons suggested staying on the train all the way to Bergen, Norway. Because of the flexibility of Eurail, I stayed on the night train and got off in the charming town on a fjiord of Norway's west coast. I made the trip because the scenery was supposed to be beautiful. The trip back showed that Norway is a country of great variety. Deep, clear fjiords and lakes in the west. Cold, barren, snow-covered plains in the central area. Rich, lush farmland in the east. I went to Berlin by way. of Hamburg, Germany. The Eurail pass is good throughout western Europe, but a train ticket had to be purchased from the East German border to Berlin. Because of World War II bombings. West Berlin is like a new city. East Berlin was a unique experience. Before going in on a tour bus, we were instructed that we couldn't. take in any- western newspapers, magazines or books. Also, no pictures could be taken until the guide was on the bus. We went in at "Checkpoint Charlie" where the East German pojice checked each passport and all the luggage compartments. The same was done on the way out. The guide, from East Berlin, was friendly, but apparently he could not teii "the whole truth," at least according to our bus driver. The tour was certainly meant to highlight the positive points. But even yet, I could see where much of the bombed buildings and churches from World War II hod been .left to decay. They have-built new hotels and memorials, while leaving the churches in ruins. I didn't notice how dark and dull East Berlin was until we returned to West Berlin. The bright advertisements and bustling crowds really jumped out at me. But it was the Berlin Wall that left the deepest impression--and the most symbolic. At various points along the Wall in West Berlin platforms have been built so one could see over the Wall. On the West German side, the Wall was filled with graffiti--such things as ladders were painted on the Wall, and sayings such as "Warning: East German high jumping area." The East German side, of course, was perfectly clean.-'For--rrte, it symbolized the freedom of speech in the west verses the repression in the communist countries.'On the east side of the Wall is a no-mans land, filled with mines, watch dogs, guard towers and barbed wire. I was thankful as I thought about those who had died trying to escape, crtd knowing k, could turn around and walk away. The train trip from Berlin back to West Germany was like a game of charades. I was in a compartment with six Germans, and like most Germanic people, they were warm and outgoing. I had 14 hours of college German several years ago, but most .of what I learned was reading, not conversation. But it is amazing, when both parties try, how much you can say. What a wonderful--wunderbar---way to learn a language. If I could spend a week with those people, I'm sure I could learn more than I did in two years of foreign language study in college. We "conversed" for most of the train ride. Once back in West Germany, my mother made a call home only to find out, to her surprise and delight, that my father hod decided to join us for the'last three weeks of our trip. Because we were to meet him in Frankfurt, Germany, we decided to 90 to Spain and then come bock to Germany to pick him up. Again, the flexibility of Eurail made this possible. I hated Spain. Perhaps it was because I hod just left Germany, which I enjoyed so much. Perhaps it was,because~it was so dirty. Perhaps it was because I didn't like the food. Or perhaps it was just a bad experience. In.any case, Spain is not high on my list of places to return. The country 1'tself reminds me of Mexico. The climate is dry and sunny; the people are friendly, though not overly helpful; the country is poor : with no welfare system. A family'will beg for a living--"Money for the baby." Farming is about 50 yean behind the Wall is perfectly clean. The two sides of the Wall seem to symbolize the free speech of the West verses the repression of communist countries. practice in the United States. While I saw several tractors and some irrigation, I also saw laborers picking cotton by hand and farmers plowing their fields with burros and hand plows. The train system in Spain was extremely slow. For one leg of my journey, the "train" might better .be., classed ..as, a .diesel bus ,.g.n.,, tracks. The engineer sat in front and drove the thing--he even shifted gears--for the eight-hour trip to Algeciras. Trash is a way of life for the Spanish. Even well- dressed men and women would throw trash out the windows after eating on the train. While in Cordoba I met ah English actor who was on a two-week holiday. He had been carrying an empty gin bottle in his pocket for several hours looking for a place to throw it away. He finally saw a litter box on a lamp pole. He lifted the lid and dropped in the bottle--which fell through to the ground and broke. "Typically Spanish," the English actor said about the litter box with no bottom. He was right. But there were a few spots in Spain that made the trip worthwhile. Seville, after which the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City is modelled, had beautiful parks, buildings and plazas. The Plaza de Espana, or plaza of Spain, was especially lovely w i t h its horseshoe-shaped plaza, bridges over ,the waterway and ceramic benches all around the building from various Spanish cities. The short ferry trip from Spain to Tangers, Morocco, reveals a completely different culture. The Arabic people believe that when you take their picture, you steal a piece of their soul, I didn't know this when I took this picture in the city market; our guide explained the belief when the man raised his knife to me.
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