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The ‘respectable part’, Bavaria, 1959

Here’s the latest in a series of posts on the postcard collection I found at a car boot sale a few months ago. Once again, our writer is off on early-summer travels in Europe, this time in Bavaria, Germany.

This seems to be the complete set of postcards from this vacation, and she has written frequently – often twice a day. I don’t know if this frequency was standard for the time, or whether her recipient was an anxious mother or sister waiting at home in Edinburgh who required reassurance from frequent news. Maybe author and recipient were just very close and enjoyed writing.

London, SW1

30th May, 1959

I suppose you know what my message was last night. Have arrived in London and feel better now that I have eaten. The boys gradually dropped off but the train was packed again at Newcastle. It wasn’t a bad journey, the game and the primroses were lovely at some parts. I saw a fox in the field outside Berwick. I am sitting on a seat at the station and my next door neighbour seems to be a bit off. It is dull but very calm just now, hope it lasts. Hope you got home alright. Sorry I didn’t get out again to wave to you.

She has taken a train down the east coast of the UK, from Edinburgh to London. The Berwick she refers to is probably Berwick-upon-Tweed, through which the Edinburgh-London train still passes today. I’m not sure of the meaning of ‘off’ – just ‘grumpy’, as today (at least in my idiolect), or ‘strange’?

Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany

1st June, 1959


We have had a lazy day. We talked for ages with the German visitors in the house. The clunky [?] alphabet wasn’t in it. We finally wandered into the town and had a look around. We were in the church and it is beautifully decorated with flowers just now and then we were round the shops of course. We had tea and cream cakes in a cafe this afternoon. Have booked for a tour to-morrow. The weather is still dull but a little warmer. Wish it would clear up. Are going to dinner and then a Bavarian concert.

I am not sure what she means by her third sentence. My interpretation, if my transcription is correct, is that she can speak some German but struggles with the written form.

Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany

2nd June, 1959

Forgot to post this, this morning.

Monday night

We have had a very nice evening after dinner we saw the Bavarian concert. There was a brass band dancers and singers all very good, much the same as we saw in the Usher Hall once. Marjorie, the other girl has got a boyfriend. I don’t know if  Imogen is interested but she was doing all right I hope they don’t fight over him. We can’t get to Innsbruck it is too far but we are going to Munich and Salzburgh [sp. – ‘Salzburg’].

Her companions also seemed pretty keen on the local men in her 1954 holiday in Norway, too! These do not seem to be the same women; as usual, names have been changed. No mention of our author getting up to anything, of course. The Usher Hall is a music venue in Edinburgh that still exists today.

Königssee, Bavaria, Germany

2nd June, 1959


We have just sailed down the Königssee and have been in the Chapel. The scenery would be beautiful if you could see it but there is mist on the mountains and it is raining. This is near Hitlers hide-out, but we don’t go so high. We go over the Alpen road, it was built before the war and goes high over the mountains. There is a little snow but nothing like Norway.

Strange to hear her talking about Hitler at a time when the Second World War must still have been fresh in people’s memories.

Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany

2nd June, 1959


We have just got back from our tour and are going off to dinner. It was very good, the sun came out when we were in this place [possibly Bad Reichenhall, which is shown on the front of the postcard] and the scenery was beautiful. We could have taken dozens of photos of the mountains but the bus did not stop maybe just as well. We are having a great time, some of the people are very nice, some are ___. Going to Munich to-morrow. Got your note when we got in just now. Glad you were O.K.

I love that she simply writes a dash instead of lowering herself to write an insulting word.

Munich, Bavaria, Germany

3rd June, 1959


We are now having lunch in a beer garden but the respectable part upstairs. We are in Munich, it is a day lovely day and we have had a tour round the town it is just as well we don’t have long to shop, we could spend a fortune.  We came along the Auto-Bahn, it is a marvellous road, no stopping. Had a good time last night, it was a variety concert. We go back by a lake it should be lovely.

The first motorway was only opened in the UK in 1958, and in England, so it’s understandable that the German equivalent would be a novelty to her.

Bad Wiessee, Bavaria, Germany

3rd June, 1959


Since we arrived here on Sunday we have done nothing but eat, and we’re at it again. This time a lakeside café, we have had lovely cream cakes. We are on our way back from Munich. It is a very busy town with some huge castles and buildings but not so pretty as some. We heard the clarion playing in the tower on this card and some figures dance at the same time. I will soon be into a greasy spot [?]. Quite a change. 

A clarion could be a type of trumpet. Not sure what she means by a ‘greasy spot’ – maybe she thinks she could get fat from all the eating?

Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany

4th June, 1959


We are having a lazy day. This is our house, nice isn’t it. The Right now I am sitting on the verandah outside our room writing postcards got your letter this morning, was surprised about William Watson. Hope he is all right. We enjoyed our tour yesterday and had a very good Bavarian concert at night. We are almost locals by now. It is beautiful with the sun shining. Hope to go for a walk this afternoon, the woods seem to be lovely. [illegible word – ‘hope’ intended?] you are getting on all right.

I am a gossip, and so would love to know what had happened to William Watson (but hope it was nothing too terrible); as usual, names have been changed. Strange to think of her sat on one the very balconies shown here.

Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany

4th June, 1959


Have come a walk to the foot of the ski lift but have not gone up. The scenery is beautiful right at the foot of the mountain. We are stewed [?] as usual, a nice gentil [sp. – ‘gentle’] red. There is a concert to-night with [illegible] T.V. Stars. I hope it is good. I’ll soon be able to understand the jokes but maybe it is just as well I can’t.

St Wolfgang, Austria

5th June, 1959

We have just stopped for lunch here . We weren’t in the White Horse Inn it is too expensive but we saw it. It is a beautiful place but costly. It is on the other shore of the lake and looks on to a range of mountains. We have come through mountains all the way. I’ve never seen anything like it. The villages are so narrow the buses can hardly get through.

St Wolfgang’s White Horse Inn is the subject of a musical comedy that was successfully revived in the post-War period.

Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany

6th June, 1959


We are at the end of the holiday almost. This morning we did our shopping, now we are sitting up at the church in the shade it is so warm. We saw a christening in the church, the baby was tiny. I think this is a birthday card but it is a change from a view. Last night was an amateur night at the Kurhaus but we didn’t do an act. To-night is another Bavarian night they are the best of the lot. Everyone is such a nice brown and we are red as usual.

The Kurhaus in Ruhpolding still seems to be an events venue today.

Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany

7th June, 1959


Here we are on our last day. It has been lovely we are sorry to leave. I haven’t got my Bubbly yet. I don’t think I will get it now. We are all packed and have had a walk but it is very warm. We would love to have put our feet in the river. Our luggage will be put on the train and we have to collect our coats and leave at 4.30. We have a stop at Cologne in the morning. The tourists are just pouring into the place to-day, it will be murder next week.

Cologne, north-west Germany

8th June, 1959

We are now in Cologne at 6.30 in the morning. We had a good journey and are dressed [?] ready to start of [sp. – ‘off’] again. We all look quite sunburnt. We have been in the Cathedral and it is beautiful, lovely windows but haven’t time to see much more. It is very busy already they must start early at work.

Sightseeing at 6:30 in the morning – good on her!

As with all of the postcard posts, please don’t publicly speculate about the identity of the author or recipient. 


About SarahAnderson

I love old stuff and like to write.

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Return to Norway – with Imogen – in 1958 « The Auld from Reekie

  2. Regarding the postcard of Bad Wiessee, the writer almost certainly has misheard ‘carillon’ as clarion.


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