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Full text of "My trip to Europe / Arnold E. Siegel."

MY Tit IP TO EITKOPE 



by 



AKtJOLD E, SSIGEL 



September ^, 19<J-3 



. . i Til I Jr- TO EUROPE-- .3m!inar y 

.^n 1954 * traveled bo Eu* o_^ «s with my parents aiid my 
slater. Visiting far off countries with their strange customs 
made a lastlii^. iiiii;resalon upon me. IVe traveled through the 
North ^ea and landed on Jtoland. From Poland we went to Lithuania 
where we stayed for a month and a half. It v/es here in a small 
town In Lithuania v/here I obtained a true vie- o sclent Eharo^e, 
Leavlui^; Litim^iila., wa ti eve led ti:roUc,li Gt^rnm^^j ^ into Fra^.ce and 
staye' c P^ r_s for a short time. Finally v-e enbarked for /tmerica, 
enlightened after two and a half rnonths In the old world. 



{ 




MY TRIF TO EimOPE 

In one '3 lifetime there usually occurs an incident or 
experience, 'vhlch, because of Its eraotlonal effect, is never for- 
gotten. Such an experience was rny trip to Eurore, 

I", the sunimer of 1934 my rarents, my sister and I em- 
barked from New York, Our destination was a small country in 
northern ISurope, Lithuania, where we v/ere to vls't vrj grandparents. 
Being only eleven at this time, I experienced the wonderful sen- 
sation of starting a journey to a far off and different land, niuch 
as one would feel in starting a trip to the moon. Eagerly I roamed 
the huge liner, and I concluded tha t my first ocean trip would 
be a delightful one. 

Although I had been on the high seas for only a few 
hours, I experienced that affliction of rr^&nj 1- ndln.bbers, seft- 
sickness. For two days I was tormented by the pitching and the 
rolling of the ship. However, on the third day of our voyage I 
managed to enter the ship's swimming pool, and after a delightful 
swim found myself no longer a victim of seasickness. The succeed- 
ing days of ny ocean trip were happy ones. Deck tennis, quoits, 
moving pictures, and similar dlverslon3--all v/ere enjoyed. Through- 
out the trip I was thrilled by the brilliant evening sunsets, and 
I loved to v.'atch the gulls, who ever faithfully followed in our 
wfcke. One day I waa enchanted to see the s routing of a v»'hole, 
and I carefully noted this incident in my diary. 

cieeing the mountains of Scotland presaged the end of 
our voyage on the sea, ooon afterwards we passed Norway and then 



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fefter stopping a few hours at Gorenhsgen, Denmark, we finally 
docked at the port of Gdynia, Poland. To me ioland seemed a 
dreary land, & land of sadness and of work, and comparing it with 
my native land I could not help but appreciate living In the United 
itates. We did not stay long In Poland, but since the Poles were 
quite hostile toward the Lithuanians, we had considerable diffi- 
culty in finding our way; strange ss it may seem, the Poles won Id 
not direct us to Lltnuania. At last we obtained an antiouated 
cab and crossed the Polish border into the Free State of D^anzig. 
To my dismay I noted thr. t every house in the "Free State" was 
decort-ted with a Swastika. My parents wisely saw the beginning 
of Germany's encroachments. Having spent the night in Danzig, 
we took an old, but speedy train through East Prussia into Kaunas, 
Lithuania . 

Although Kaunas was the carltql of Lithuania and its most 
modern city, to me it appeared small and ancient, and its arrear- 
ance only heightened my already growing dislike for Burore. 
Being at an age when curiosity abounded, I recorded many of the 
unfamiliar customs of tne Lithuanians. Women wore lower heel 
shoes; men, higher h^els. The girls and women always had long 
iittair woven Into two braids and usually wore aprons and carried 
huge pocketbooks. Both th** men and boys wore short pants with a 
wide belt. Everyone seemed to ride bicyclsi, or tricycles or horses. 
Tne roads v/ere poor and their vehicles were anachroniRms . Finally 
Eioted with t^rf^Bit disappointment txhst their Ice cref-m cones were 
pitifully small. 



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In our hotel ija Kaunas I began to exnlore our new aur- 
roundlngs. To my delight I found I'e had a balcony adjoining our 
rooma. Immediately I got some firecrackers which had b'^^n left 
over from the Fourth of July, went out on the balcony, and 15.t 
one. There followed the usval ear-splitting noise of a "four 
inch salute", Hardly had I explained to my narents what had 
happened wjien tiie hotel managei* and two rolicemen entered the 
I'oom. Although beset by the dlf-*"' ■ culties o f & foreign language, 
my pta^enta finally clarified the ait^.ation, b^^t not, hoi«'evpr, be- 
fore an excited crowd had gyther<=!d on the str'^et beneath tne bal- 
cony. I later found O'lt that Llthitnls as in h state of political 
onT'-'st (as it >'.'as s ri-ounded b;y Germany, Russia aiid Poland -- all 
who had territorial clains agaiist this amall c^^i try.-). Thus, 
who kaowa, if I had lit a "six incher , I might ht.ve precl.^-itsted 
a revolution. 

Prom Kaunas we went to my mother's ta5rth ^lace by car (a 
19^:6 Chevrolet whose wheals oame off duriag the ^ourne^,). e 
finally ooveeed Una fort^ miles in 3lx honrs. It '"as in this SmAll 
couiiiiUiii ty tiiteit I lived for the next month and a half, j.t was like 
living in another world, a v'orld whai'e modern aonveni-:> ices 'rore jti- 
known. fience, x was quite relieved when ""e boarded e train ho^re- 
vtrd bound. 

Prom Lithuania we tr&veled through t'^e rol'sh Corridor, on 
into G-ermany tnro £..i Berlin,' Belgium, uid fii-t^lly we stopi ed at 
Paris for a few days. f all the places visit'^'d -i r e, 
faris was the most enjoyable, or the first time in nonths re ate 



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good food ana stayed in a bea>-tlful hotel. We enjoyed a^ght-see- 
ing to-urs, visiting all the famous sites in Paris. Neverthele: s, 
it was with alfccrity t.-.-t I left Paris to go to the French rort of 
Gherbourg. At Cherbourg we boarded a ship which v. at. to bear us 
home, tne luxury liner 0)(yjpic '. 

xcept for the usual few dsys o f sea-slckneus I greatly 
enjoyed my ocean trip, even inor^so because our destination was ho"ie, 
After five da^s X si-nted the statue of Libei'ty, and once more I 
was on free soil, fifteen pounds lighter, but twenty times happier 
than when ^h ad left, 

^ sh&ll never forget my trir t-^ urope, not alone because 
of the new reopl^^s a tic^ Irnds that had seen, or the varied ex- 
periences J. had had, btit also because of the deeper arpreciation 
i had acquired of my native land, the fJnlted States of America. 



i . 





"Deck tennis, quo its, moving pictures. . .were enjoyed . 




"the luxury linei- 01^''^'^1> 



PARIS 



tLe Palais du Trocadero et Is Poni d'lena A. L. 





^J 



"/Ve enjoyed slgntaeelng tours In FM'is..."