NOW IT CAN BE TOLD!--Chapter 5: From Vienna to Paris & the Story of Anaik! DO 2726 3/91
--Story Time with Grandpa!
1. (Techi: Thank You Jesus! Praise You Lord! Thank You for this time, Lord. We really pray that You'll bless it to us, Jesus, & help it to be interesting. And thank You for Grandpa teaching us, Lord, please bless & strengthen him, in Jesus' name, amen.) Amen!
2. Tonight we're finishing the story of our trip to Switzerland & Austria. I told you last time about our trip from Copenhagen down the Rhine River where there are all those beautiful castles & beautiful scenery. And we arrived in Munich just at Oktoberfest time when everybody is drinking beer & getting drunk. We went to our first Bier Garten, but we didn't drink beer, & then went on from there that night on a Second Class Couchette to Vienna. The sweet Romanian helped us find a couchette & we were in the same compartment with the Swedish boy & the French girl!
3. We got to Vienna the next morning where we found a hotel room without bath, but with a washbowl, & I told you all about that. We stayed overnight & left the next day on a morning train because there wasn't really that much to do in Vienna since there were hardly any young people there. We took that famous ride down through the beautiful valleys of Austria & Switzerland & viewed the Alps. They call that mountainous area of Western Austria the "Tirol."
4. I think the most beautiful part of the whole trip down through Switzerland was that beautiful ride through Luzern & then Lake Leman, the lake Geneva is on. You can see it here on the map. Switzerland is a land of lakes, really beautiful! I think the route we took from Vienna came across this way. (Points to map.) (Techi: Through Zurich?) Oh yes, thank you for reminding me about Zurich!
Stopover in Zurich!
5. We stopped over in Zurich, & I can remember that the whole train station area was under construction. We had to step over puddles & piles of lumber & everything else to get out on to the main street. I remember that about Zurich, & the next thing I remember is that we finally found a room there in a cheap hotel that I think was listed in "Europe on $5 a Day." The rooms were so small they were almost like little train compartments, that's why they were cheap. We never liked to pay more than about $5 a night for a room for the two of us. Of course, nowadays you can hardly get a room for two people in a hotel for less than $50-100! I must admit, though, that the room we got in Zurich wasn't much of a room & it was kind of noisy, but we managed to survive the night. (Techi: So you actually stopped in Zurich?) Yes. We decided to stop in Zurich since it was a famous place, & also I think we were able to get a better train connection from there to Geneva.
6. I remember we ate dinner there in an upstairs restaurant, someplace where I think I found spaghetti on the menu. And I was astonished at the prices! Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. I think the spaghetti was something close to $2 a bowl, whereas in the cheap countries of Europe like Spain & Portugal, spaghetti was usually somewhere around 50 or 75 cents.
The Story of Anaik!
7. So we took off! We got out of Zurich as soon as we could, the next day, because we had a train to Geneva, and then in Geneva we had another long train ride to Paris, where we would be picking up our mail & our money, etc.
8. I remember we were in our seats & the train was loading in Zurich when we noticed a very distinguished looking gentleman on the station platform. He looked like he was really somebody important & he was kissing his pretty daughter goodbye & seeing her off on the train. Then she came down the aisle looking for a seat. There weren't too many seats vacant--it was a fairly popular train--& she sat down directly opposite me!
9. Mama was sitting on my left side, my heart side. When we got on the train, there weren't any two seats side by side that were facing in the direction the train was going. The only two seats vacant side by side were two seats with their backs toward the way the train was going, & I don't like to ride that way. I don't like to see where I've been, I like to see where I'm going! But anyhow, there were only two seats on the whole car that were side by side & still vacant, so we had taken those.
10. And by the time this girl got on, almost the only vacant seat in the whole car was right in front of us--in front of me, in fact. There was a lady already sitting in front of Mama. So there was this pretty girl sitting right in front of me who had this distinguished-looking father. (Techi: Were they Swiss?) No, they were French, & her name, as you recall, was Anaik (pronounced Ah'-nah-eek), which means "Little Anna."
11. I was so tired I had already just about zonked out & I hardly noticed her coming & sitting down.--Except I had to take my feet off of her seat to let her sit down! We usually rode all night on the trains & we slept very well. A lot of them have those fancy seats that slide down part way--the bottom comes out & stretches out & it meets the other seat on the other side--so we always tried to get seats where there were empty seats opposite us. Just as quick as we'd get our seats we'd pull the other one across from us out, push ours out to meet it & we'd stretch out & make ourselves comfortable. So we usually slept real well because they were really comfortable. Trains, planes & buses just rock me to sleep!
12. So anyhow, I did go to sleep, & I woke up some time later & there she was sitting right in front of me, so what could I do but talk to her & witness to her? And by the time I was done she had accepted the Lord & was all thrilled about what we were doing! She was obviously a girl with very high ideals. It turned out she was a professional interpreter who knew several European languages fluently. She could do "running" interpretations.--Not running on her feet, but they call them "running interpreters" because they are so quick at interpreting. They will interpret as the person is speaking, & be only a few words behind them. Interpreters like that are really smart & they get paid lots of money, too! (Techi: How old was she?) Oh, she was probably in her late 20's, maybe 30.
13. So as we were about to get off the train in Paris, she looked at me so cute & said, "Well, now I'm your little sheep & you're my shepherd. What do I do now?" And I said, "Give us your phone number & address & we'll keep in touch with you." So she said, "OK," & we prayed a little prayer for her & I think I kissed her gently on the cheek good bye. Considering the high class type of girl she was, she had melted pretty quickly.
14. (Techi: Why didn't she go with you?) Well, Honey, we should have asked her to take us home with her right then, because we didn't really have any place to stay, but we were embarrassed to tell her that we didn't have a hotel room booked & all of that. So we really missed the boat with Anaik, because after going home & talking to her family, when we contacted her later to ask her to come along with us, she said she had changed her mind & that she was going back to her job. You can read the story in one of my old Letters. (See "Follow God," ML#4, paragraphs 119-142.)
Our Stay in Paris!
15. I remember we arrived in Paris at Gare de L'Est, the station on the East side of Paris. ("Gare" is the French word for "station," & "Est" means East!) Paris has stations on the North side, South side, West side & East side, & you land at one of those stations depending on which direction you're coming from. So since we were coming from the East, we landed at Gare de L'Est!
16. The first thing we did, of course, was start hunting around for a room! There were rooms listed in "Europe on $5 a Day," & we soon found a cheap little hotel. We went up in a rickety elevator--the first time I experienced riding in the open-cage type of elevator where you can see each floor as you go up--& our room was about on the third floor of this cheap little hotel. It was a nice little hotel, & it was cheap. It also had a double bed, so we were very thankful for that little room!
17. Another thing was our "first" there too! We walked into this room & we saw this funny little oval-shaped thing beside the toilet. Mama said, "What is this thing for? Is this to wash your feet?"--Ha! Well, I had seen one before, because when Mother Eve & I had visited Havana, Cuba, all the hotels there had bidets. So there was our first bidet--or Mama's first bidet--& oh, we were so glad to see that bed! I think we took a nap & then went looking for a place to eat.
18. Ours were not "designer" meals by any means, we just ate real cheap! We found this sort of a sidewalk caf that had their menu posted outside. As you know, most European restaurants have their menus posted outside so you don't even have to go in to find out what they have to eat or how much it is.
19. So we came to this restaurant that had this big signboard about as big as a big TV, & it listed all of the different meals they had & the prices. Spaghetti was the cheapest thing, so we went into this restaurant, & as I recall, it was 9 Francs for a dish of spaghetti. At that time, when we first landed in Europe, the Franc was worth about 10 cents, so that means it was 90 cents, less than a Dollar, which was pretty cheap, & it was good! So that's what I usually ate for dinner throughout our trip. (Techi: Mommy, too?) Well, sometimes she'd vary. I think she ate other things more often than she ate spaghetti. I'm the spaghetti fiend!
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