Travels with Grace: Heading Home, 1929

Posted on August 13th, 2019 by

Welcome to the next segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace, which covers the final leg of her 1929 European journey. To read more of Grace’s travels, click here. 


September 22, 1929

Hillman’s Hotel, Bremen, Germany, 1910. Via. 

Sunday. We leave Hamburg at 11:30 a.m. It is very cool after the rain of the past two days. In an hour and a half we reach Bremen and Hillman’s hotel in time for lunch. This afternoon we take a carriage and Mr. Brafman rides with us around the city which is not as large as Hamburg, but the new suburban developments are beautiful, garden spots and so well kept. Also the older residences along the river Weser which look palatial. We ride through the pretty wooded Buerger park with its many artificial lakelets including the Emmasee on which swans disport themselves and note at least one unusual ornamental detail, an arbor trained in the form of a summer house with dome and windows cut into it.

Kornhaus in Bremen, 1929. Via.

We end up at the Market Place, high spot of the city, surrounded by the Rat Haus, Ratskellar, elegant Dom with gold mosaic lunettes on the façade, Borse and the quaint old Gothic Schutling Haus, while in front of the Rathaus stands the statue of Roland, the giant who was Charlemagne’s paladin. Other interesting old buildings are the Essig Haus; the Stadtwaage or Town Scales, with curious gabled façade now used by a broadcasting company; and the Kornhaus, where they used to store up cereals against possible famines. There is a pretty bridge with towers over the Weser.


September 23, 1929

Monday. As it is cold and rainy this afternoon, we spend a couple of hours pleasantly viewing the Lichtspiel at the “Europa Palast” a thoroughly modern and large movie house where we occupy one of the comfortable [loges] at the rear. The decorations and lighting are very effective, in the rather severe modernistic style so popular over here. The feature film is “Der Gunstling von Schonbrunn” in addition to which two excellent comedies, a travelogue and news events are shown. There is a good orchestra.

Germany Volkstrachten aus Schaumburg Lippe Postcard. Via.

Later we go to a new and very nice restaurant “Die Glocke” for dinner. In the same building is a large ballroom and concert hall. On the street we see a woman in a very curious looking national costume and Mother, who is always the most intrepid of our party when it comes to asking questions, found out that she is from Schaunberg-Lippe. Later we go to the Astoria to see the cabaret which is only fair though the place is most attractive. It is open for dancing until 4 a.m.


September 24, 1929

St. Petri-Dom, 1928. Via.

Tuesday. This morning we visit the cathedral (St. Petri Dom) which was begun in 1003. It is a very fine Gothic edifice with beautiful stained glass windows, bronze doors carved with scenes from the two testaments, arched portals, sculpture and a wonderful old stone fort with primitive carving dating from the 11th century. But the curiosity of the place is the Bleikellar, or Lead Cellar, which contains seven old coffins in each of which is displayed a mummified corpse, the oldest of which is said to be 460 years old. They are the color of leather, the teeth in some cases are well preserved and the fingernails also which look shiny. A cat, mummified in the same way, is also showed to the visitors. It looks and feels like leather. The supposition is that certain properties in the air and moisture in this place, probably containing radium, are responsible for these phenomena.

Entrance to Böttcherstraße, Bremen, 1926-1931, by Bernhard Hoetger. Via.

We then walk up the Boettcherstrasse, a small street which is a sort of art gallery where artists have given free rein to the their ultra-modern ideas and fancies in the design and decoration of the very odd buildings which house studios, workshops for various artificers, display rooms, gift shops, taverns, etc. all I the modern trend and quite original. The material used for the buildings, glazed tile, is seen in a variety of forms and colors, the portal over the entrance to the street is adorned with futuristic figures. There are several little courtyards, in one of which is the fountain of the Seven Lazy Men, that quaint legend which tells of the seven who hated work and therefore pave their street so that they need not trouble to dig their wagon if it got stuck in the mud; built a dyke so that they need not save themselves from a flood; planted trees before their house so that they would not have to walk to the woods for shade; dug for a spring in order to save the trouble of carrying water from the river; and in other ways improved their condition that they might enjoy themselves in laziness.

In another part of the street we visit the house of an artist which he charges the public an admission of one mark to see but it is well worth it. Here is a haven for lovers of the antique. There is a kitchen, lined in beautiful tiles from Delft, containing all sorts of ancient utensils in copper, pewter and brass. The open hearth is similarly furnished. The dining room walls are covered with finely painted and embossed leather, the furniture is Florentine, the ceiling cross beams carved and painted. A few rare paintings of old masters are hung up. There is a library in which are gather handsome oriental tapestries and rugs, beautiful silver urns and platters covered with the rich patina of age, a built-in cupboard of carved wood with old and original manuscripts, odd tables and chairs with costly upholsterings. The floors are finely inlaid and on the walls hand wrought brackets containing half burned candles. But there are also concealed electric lights in the ceiling for indirect lighting. An old escritoire is inlaid with squares of ivory etched. A little glass cabinet is filled with tiny doll furniture made of glass and porcelain. A beautiful winding staircase leads to the upper apartments.

We lunch at an old-fashioned tavern across the way and drink our beer out of old pewter mugs with covers on them. Afterwards we visit the demonstration rooms of the Hag Kaffee and later ride out to the factory in the suburbs of Bremen, Stellingen. Here a gentleman shows us through the plant explaining the process of extracting the caffeine from the raw coffee, the roasting, etc. We see a branch of the coffee plant with pretty white flowers and fruit which turns from green to bright red and them almost black. The coffee bean is in the seed which must be taken when the fruit is ripe. There is a greasy substance which must be extracted which hardens like gum. This forms a considerable waste and no use for it ahs yet been found. The caffeine however is refined and sold to drug manufacturers. In a large tiled room (the whole place is spotlessly clean) the visitors are seated at long marble-topped tables and young girls serve Hag coffee, cream, sugar and delicious cakes baked here. They also claim to make their own sugar.

Kaffee Worpswede, 1930. Via.

Then we take the taxi (it being a lovely afternoon) for a ride into the country to Worpswede, an artists’ colony where we see buildings similar to those in Boettchestrasse. Many of the products of the arts are sold here including hand-woven scarves, baskets, lampshades, rugs, pottery, jewelry, etc. There is a large gallery of pictures some of which are quite striking, portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes of the neighboring country which is very pretty. On a high hill in the vicinity the artists have erected a symbolic stone monument to fellow members fallen in the ar.

At the hotel tonight they have the formal opening of their new dining room, also decorated in the modern manner.


September 25, 1929

Bremen (1929) brochure, first and second class. Via.

Wednesday. We leave Bremen at 2:05 p.m. on the special boat train, the best appointed one we have seen on this trip. The buildings of the Norddeutscher Lloyd in Bremen are very imposing. They also have a hospital at which emigrants are examined before embarking. The executive offices are housed in a handsome new building all marble, bronze and gold (shop models in a glass case). The ride to Bremerhaven takes us through pretty farm country and neat rural towns. They take me to the boat on a wheel chair, the seat of which is attached to shafts and is removed form the wheels. On this they carry me up the gangplank.

The “Bremen” is a revelation to us. The social hall in which the life of the ship centers is a long rectangular room, elegant in its simplicity. The lights are concealed in tubes of glass running horizontally around the ceiling. The walls are paneled in dark circassion walnut on which are appliqued cut out figures of brass. The wooden pillars are striped with brass which likewise marks the outlines of the wide windows hung with gray velvet to match the carpet and chair coverings. Chairs, tables and standing lamps are grouped about and above the doorway at each end of the room is a panel of etched wood unpolished. The library is lined with panels about three feet wide each bearing an extract of some well known composition in the following languages: Hebrew, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian, Sanskrit, Turkish, French, German, English, Italian, Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, Danish, Polish (20 in all). In the corridors are shops displaying the most tempting and luxurious novelties of all kinds, a flower shop where all the exotic blooms are to be found. There are little fountains built into niches lined with mother-of-pearl, little colored lights playing in the basins. Pictures picked out in mosaics are set into the walls. On the walls of the dining saloon are plaster reliefs of hunting scenes. Also some fine tapestry. In one of the halls is the Market Place of Bremen done in tapestry. In the ballroom small brass bas-reliefs stand out on cream colored walls and table and chairs stand in little elevated loges which encircle the room. The swimming pool of colored marble is chastely plain. The gymnasium opens from it. There are two promenade decks, one entirely closed for the deck chairs, the other open and free of chairs permitting unrestricted exercise. The sun deck is over this. The palm room filled with lovely flowering plants is on the closed promenade. It opens from the bar and here drinks are also served. On the upper sun deck is the Ritz restaurant where meals are served a la carte, though it would be hard to improve on the main dining room. There is also a play room which nursery furniture, a train of cars and representatives from the zoo. And everywhere is the note of solidity and simplicity. Not one gaudy touch or bizarre detail but all distinctly modern and in neutral tones. Porcelain plaques denoting various sports, as for example swimming girl, golfing girl, tennis girl, etc. placed between the windows of the ballroom. On the walls of the children’s room are painted houses and the windows in them light up. There is a shooting gallery where one shoots at moving pictures of animals. Some bowling alleys, billiard rooms, etc. on the top deck. An aeroplane stands on a turn table from which it is catapulted several hours before the ship docks. Among the notables on board are Senator Copeland, Ty Cobb, the Maharajah of Kapurtala, Director Gatti-Cassarra of the Metropolitan Opera, Herr Stinnes, Mrs. And Mrs. Schurman, wife and daughter of the German Ambassador, Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Kreisler, Mr. Carl Laemmle.


September 25, 1929 (4 p.m.)

S.S. Bremen

North German Lloyd Line

We came aboard just in time for tea this afternoon. Concert after dinner followed by dancing.


September 26, 1929

Took passengers on from Southampton about noon today. Sail along in sight of land for several hours and about 7 p.m. passengers embark off Cherbourg. Much excitement in both places. The Schloss’s are on board and Mr. H. Bernheimer. Also some people we crossed with on the “Saturnia” and a couple we met on the “Roma” two years ago. Among the notables are the Fritz Kreislers, Gotti-Cassarra, the wife and daughter of Ambassador Schuerman and a young author of the moment who has been traveling all over the world with one leg and written his memoirs.


September 27, 1929

Much cooler. Saw movie today “When the White Lilacs Bloom Again.” Tonight extra recital by Herr Rotig, violinist whom we met at Marienbad.


September 28, 1929

This morning at 11 in the ballroom, about 75 of us attended Sabbat service conducted by Dr. Silverman of New York who delivered a very nice sermon. This afternoon pretty picture, scenes laid in the alps.


September 29, 1929

The Drake Case, theatrical release post. Via.

Very exciting picture of “The Drake Case” this afternoon. Mr. Carl Laemmle comes to the movies every day.


September 30, 1929

“Broadway” was the feature today, very good. Tonight the farewell dinner and gala evening in the social hall. Souvenirs for all.


October 1, 1929

Docked at 1 p.m. in Brooklyn.


Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. In our next post we’ll jump forward a decade and pick up in 1940, when Grace heads to Mexico! As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager

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Travels with Grace: City of Parks

Posted on August 6th, 2019 by

Welcome to this week’s segment of our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace. Today we follow along as Grace heads to Brunswick, Hannover, and Hamburg. To read more of Grace’s travels, click here. 


September 15, 1929

Sunday. In a very comfortable private car we leave Magdeburg at 9:30 a.m. and ride through Halberstadt, Wernigerode, Blankenburg, Harzburg, Goslar, Hornburg, Wolfenbuttel, Braunschweig (or Brunswick) and Peine before reaching Hannover at 3:30 p.m. It is interesting to drive through these towns especially on Sunday when all the people are enjoying themselves out-of-doors. The architecture is quaint and ornamental, similar in setting but all different in design. Everywhere is manifest the German’s love of flowers, which overflow the window boxes, crowd the gardens, festoon porches and even line the balustrades of bridges to say nothing of the brave array in all the parks. This seems to be a great cattle and sheep country. The farmers are busy with the harvest. The women folk help and park the baby carriages in the fields. Ducks and geese are very plentiful. Bicycles are the favorite vehicle for old and young alike.

We have the good luck to see a wedding procession leaving the church in one of the villages. They all march two by two, first a group of little girls and boys, each of the former carrying a bouquet, the bridge and groom, the children behind holding up the simple white veil, young girls in light dresses and carrying flowers, each on the arm of her escort, the older couples in sober black bringing up the rear.

Braunchsweig (Brunswick), Germany, 1914. Via.

The approach to each town is through the inevitable old city gate with steepled roof. Through Brunswick we make a tour and admire this very rich looking and elegant city, with its castle and other fine public buildings. In the distance are the Harz mountains.


September 16, 1929

Herrenhausen Gardens Castle, Rommler & Jonas, 1890. Via.

Monday. Hannover is well sur-named “the City of Parks.” There is much open space in every quarter of the city all well kept and ornamented with flowers, trees and stretches of velvety green sward. Extensive and beautiful are the Herrenhausen Gardens with their tall hedges, statues, and fountains in formal style and stately avenues of trees leading to the Palace and Residence. From the windows of our rooms at Kastens we look across to the beautiful Opera House (1 griffon holding up a huge harp on the roof) and at night it is lighted up from top to bottom. The Concert Hall or civic center is another of the city’s ornaments. A large rotunda-shaped structure, it adjoins the athletic park. Here lectures and other entertainments are given and there is a library and reading rooms. The new Town Hall, a building of noble proportions in rococo style, with grassy lawns and a fine approach, commands one’s admiration. The private residences of the wealthy proclaim at once Hannover’s aristocratic lineage (the people here are proud of their historic association with England, but I note here, as elsewhere in Germany, there is little sympathy with Prussia as a whole).

But the picturesque part of the city is in the neighborhood of the Market Platz with its characteristic fountain, statue of Martin Luther with the King and Queen of Hannover, old town hall with wonderful stone carved pillars and cornices and other old buildings colorful with painted wood-work, high peaked roofs and mullioned windows. Leibnitz House, used as a museum, is one of the quaintest and the Potthof is another. There is another old section on the river Leine traversed by small wooden bridges. Some of the small ancient houses actually look like they are in danger of falling down, but I guess they have looked like that for scores of years. The shopping district is very modern and the stores innumerable with merchandise that would do credit to New York or Paris. Some of the new office buildings are designed along very striking futuristic lines with enormous window space, long and wide but never exceeding ten floors in height. The streets are invariably clean, the rubbish being always carefully disposed of. After riding about the city for a couple of hours we motor over to Hildesheim, an hour away.

Wienerhof, Hildesheim. Via.

Outside of Rothenberg Hildesheim is the most interesting town, from the standpoint of antiquity, that I have ever seen. We have lunch at the Wienerhof, 320 years old, and very quaint. Afterward we make a tour of inspection which brings rich rewards in the shape of architectural curiosities. The center of interest is of course the Market Place in the center of which is the fountain of Roland with the figure of that knight in bronze. On one side is the old Rathaus and Ratskellar. The façade contains a wooden oriel window; the clock in the tower is surmounted by a horn-blower and head of Judas, the steep stepped gable is ornamented with four figures, the Hildesheimer Jungfrau, a bishop, a senator and an emperor. Up the narrow opening at the side one looks into the old Judengasse.

Knochenhaueramtshaus in Hildesheim, c. 1900. Via.

On the other side of this square is the greatest gem of all, the Knochenhauer Authaus or House of the Butcher’s Guild, just 400 years old. It is entirely built of wood and painted in bright colors generously sprinkled with red and gold. Each story leans forward beyond the lower one and the entire façade is richly ornamented with pictures in horizontal rows amplified by verses and excerpts from the proverbs neatly picked out in Old German lettering, while the verses and excerpts from the proverbs neatly picked out in Old German lettering, while the joists which support the projections are elaborately carved and every design is different. For instance there is a row of animals, another of cupids holding various musical instruments, another of shields and coats-of-arms. But the interesting houses are by no means confined to this square. Another curious one, the so-called sugar-loaf hat, flaunts the names of all the virtues and various maxims in Latin. Still others, less ornate, are criss-crossed with wood paneling between which is a sort of brownish linoleum pattern. All are topped by towering, overhanding, pointed roofs usually of red tile. There are two or three very quaint old churches beside the Dom which sleeps away its ripe old age in a quiet little park in which stands the famous thousand year old rose tree. The original city moats have been filled in to form tree lined promenades. One feels an atmosphere of restfulness and peace which permeates the place, but it is by no means dead as there are several thriving industries and a nice commercial area. In the suburbs of these German towns, the people work in the community gardens in which each rents and cultivates his little patch of flowers or vegetables. Tomatoes, which they call Paradise apples, are a great delicacy and they are usually displayed in the shop windows with flowers or fruit.

On our return to Hannover we sit a while in the park. The German people are very friendly and not a little curious. Whenever one sits on a bench it is not long before his neighbor starts up a conversation. Today a Mrs. Wesser forces herself upon our notice and invites herself and son to call on us at the hotel tonight. It is pitiful to witness their eagerness to learn all about America and American ways and very sad to hear their reminiscence of the great war.


September 17, 1929

Tuesday. At 9:30 a.m. we leave Hannover in our comfortable car and ride over splendid roads, through Celle, a very pretty little town, Soltau, etc. In all these villages I notice the nicest little shops which seem well stocked to provide all the needs of the inhabitants and the homes are made gay and attractive with bright colored blooms in gardens, windows and balconies. Harburg is quite a large town, through which we pass before entering Hamburg at 1 p.m. We cross the Elbe over a massive trestle bridge on either end of which is placed the brick façade of a castle or fortress surmounted by two tessellated towers which seem to be the emblem of Hamburg as I notice the same device on the flags. We come to the Hotel Atlantic in time for lunch. It is located on the shore of the Alstar.

Neue Elbbrücke (1887). Via.

This afternoon we witness a most unusual sight here. The lake is white with the sails of yachts, sloops and schooners that are taking part in a regatta. Enormous crowds are lining the sidewalk to see the Graf Zeppelin whose approach is heralded for four o’clock. Excitement rises as the time draws near and there are many false alarms. Every window for blocks and blocks is filled with eager faces and the people overflow to the roofs and balconies. Every doorstep is thickly populated, autos park along the streets. At last about 6:15 p.m. comes an advance guard of aeroplanes performing stunts as they come on and then the giant dirigible whose aluminum painted sides catch the rays of the setting sun and turn them into tints of mother-of-pearl. It flies very slowly and close to earth, encircling the city several times so that all may have a chance to see.  We can read the name and distinguish the lights in the gondola. There are five motor gondolas. To add a touch of amusement, the little blimp, advertising a brand of chocolate, which has been frisking around all afternoon and was responsible for raising many false hopes, flies now over and under the zeppelin giving the illusion of a young and playful whale with its sedate mother swimming about in a vast tank which is the ether. Shouts go up to heaven and every horn and whistle is called into service. The people are bursting with pride.


September 18, 1929


Wednesday. We start with guide this morning to see Hamburg. It is a large city of one million two hundred thousand inhabitants and there is a great deal of traffic, underground and elevated railways, and a vehicular tube under the Elbe. Among the more important buildings we see the Town Hall, beautiful though smoke begrimed, where Dr. Eckener is being tendered a banquet today, the Courts of Justice, various museums and schools, the Borse, the Chile Building, for offices in very modernistic style, St. Michaels church, elegant though plain, the giant Bismarck statue made of huge blocks of granite, the beautiful city park with fine displays of dahlias and roses, not to mention scores of other kinds. We ride all around the Alstar and admire the homes of the merchant princes with their lovely gardens leading down to the lake.

Meißen; Albrechtsburg und Dom – Elbe mit Dampfer Bodenbach, 1929. Via.

After lunch we motor to Blankenese, formerly a fishing village, where the wealthy citizens have their beautiful summer villas. En route we ride through Altona, an important town of about two hundred thousand, which although there is no great geographical separation, does not belong to the free state of Hamburg which has its own Parliament, but to the state of Schleswig – Holstein, and formerly to Denmark. From Blankenese we ride up the Sulberg for fine panorama of the Elbe stretching out like a sheet of silver below. All about are scenes of activity, as these are great shipping and fishing ports.

Hamburg, Fährhaus Uhlenhorst, etching, 21.5 x 25.5 cm, dated 1913, by Walter Ernst Zeising. Via.

Tonight we dine at the Uhlenhorster Fahrhaus on the Alster most fashionable restaurant in Hamburg. It is quite a pretty sight in the garden, the tables spread beneath the trees, band playing, full moonlight on the water, balmy air, the quay lined so thickly with canoes that every now and then one or two capsize as others try to squeeze along the side. Yachts and lake steamers cast red and green reflections from their headlights on the water as they ply up and down. The crowd has reached goodly proportions by 10:30 when the fireworks began. The lights are turned out and we enjoy a lovely pyrotechnic display. All kinds of sky rockets and pinwheels are shot high up over the middle of the lake and there are some wonderful set pieces, one of which, marked “Viva Chile” flashes the seal and emblem of that state. Others represent colored fountains and finally comes the surprise of the evening. In honor of Dr. Eckener, who is guest at a banquet here tonight, an exact replica of the Graf Zeppelin is set off in an illuminated piece and it actually flies through the air nosing upward for the space of a few yards. When the display is over the enthusiastic crowd gathers around the restaurant entrance and cheers the hero as he departs waving his hat to all.


September 19, 1929

Front gate at Carl Hagenbeck’s TierparkHagenbeck, Carl. 1907. Carl Hagenbeck’s Tierpark: Ein Ruckblick, Hamburg: Luxusdruck von Knackstedt & Nather.

Thursday. We spend today in Carl Hagenbeck’s Park. The chauffeur pushes me about in a wheel chair. Some of the wild animals, including the lions, are not confined in cages, but are safe-guarded by means of ditches and undercut rock work so that they appear to move about freely as they would in their natural haunts. The artificial goat hill is particularly happy in the illusion that it creates of a natural setting where the animals are of the same color as the background. In one ravine are some odd varieties of ruminants. The bird and monkey collections are interesting and amusing to me as are the black, yellow and white penguins who stick their heads up in a line vertical with their bodies, emit an unearthly screech and immediately drop them again. In the snake house we see the little reptiles being fed with maggots and here is also a large collection of insects. The elephants are chained by their feet but they beg for food by stretching out their trunks to all comers. The walls are lined with brilliantly plumaged parrots squawking on their perches.

Hagenbeck has a pretty home in the park in the midst of flower gardens. The rose garden is ornamented with two huge Japanese vases. There are large bronze ornaments and red gates with Japanese characters in gold. In another part of the park are constructed cement figures of prehistoric animals on a gigantic scale. Various sections of the park are separated by lakes and streamlets. There is a fine restaurant where we have our tea and a good orchestra is playing. We see the show put on by some imported Zulus with a few Arab horses and camels, all looking quite savage. After this we see the trained lions, tigers, brown and polar bears and pumas put through their stunts on the stage by their trainer. We see huge sea lions and a sea elephant in their tanks. Also many giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, flamingoes, ostriches, and all sorts of wild fowl. The entrance to the park is worthy of mention. It is surmounted by life sized figures of animals, an Indian and Zulu in bronze.


Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


 

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