Excerpts from Dorothy Bogen’s Journal

European Tour

June 21, 1922 - January 23, 1923

Dorothy Bogen accompanied her parents on a six-month European “Grand Tour,” from June, 1922 through January, 1923.  They traveled by train from Oakland, California to Victoria, British Columbia, then across Canada to Montreal.  There, they boarded the steamer “Astonia” on July 3, 1922 and made the Atlantic crossing in 11 days, arriving in London on July 14.  Dorothy was 17 years old at the time.  In a charmingly-written travel journal, she records her impressions of the sights seen and people met along the way.  Here are a few of her journal entries:



24 July, 1922
Stratford-upon-Avon, England


“After rapidly getting up, and hurriedly consuming breakfast, and hurriedly reaching the station, and fighting our way in spite of heavy opposition into a compartment, we arrived at Stratford.  We wound around the crooked and narrow streets to Shakespeare’s birthplace.  We inspected that thoroughly — pictures, manuscripts, furniture, and so on including the birth room in which the original panes of glass remained.  The signatures of Carlyle, Tennyson, Lamb, and Byron were visible on the walls.  We walked through the garden at back planted in flowers mentioned in his plays and, after lunch, visited the church where Shakespeare is buried.  The graves of his wife and other relatives were also there, as was the font where he was christened, and the Parish Register, where his name occurs twice.  There is an epitaph in the cemetery on a stone about three hundred years old, that said:

‘The Faults you see in me
Pray strive to shun.
But look at home —
There’s something to be done.’


The poor creature must have been glad to die!”




22 August, 1922
Paris, France

‘Wednesday, we went to Versailles, escorted by a little man who told us every ten minutes, “you ain’t going to miss nothing.” 

Della and Conrad Bogen enjoy a glass of wine at Cafe Montmartre  -  Paris, 1922.
Della and William Bogen enjoy a glass of wine at a cafe in Montmartre
Paris, 1922

And we didn’t.  We gazed at the gardens, statues, ponds, fountains outside, and at the Hall of Mirrors, the table on which the Peace Treaty was signed, the Hall of Battles, with a picture of a white horse that turned around after you.  Crystal chandeliers, paintings, tapestries, furniture, carvings, sculpture, and rugs, books, etc.  Then went to the Little Trianon, built for Du Barry, and later given to Marie Antoinette, and visited the Swiss Cottage.  That evening we took a ride through the Latin Quarter and Montmartre.   Thursday, mother and I shopped, said shopping consisting of a hat and coat for me.  That evening we went to “Phi-Phi,” and enjoyed it, although there were tense moments.”





Return to top


26 September, 1922
Bonn and Berlin, Germany

“Took a steamer up the Rhine.  Wonderful trip — saw the Mouse Tower and two U.S. soldiers in Coblenz!!  Three cheers!!  Stayed two nights in Bonn in the Versailles rooms at the Golden Stern!!  Visited Cologne and saw gobs of British soldiers — very cheering sight!  Lots of French at Bonn — first time ate Liqueur chocolates!  Took train from Cologne to Berlin — long trip but good food — first and only time in Germany.  Saw the only German soldier in Germany — he looked lonesome — but not shabby or poor, oh no!  Worn iron cross.  Got to Berlin and went to Koburger Hof. Near Fredricksburg Station.  Nice hotel, but dumbbell waiters — all hopeless cases!  Never again for Berlin. . . . Have sworn off Germany, Germans, and Berlin.  Jamais, Jamais encore!!  They gimme the pip!”




November and December, 1922
Naples, Italy

“Left for Naples on Monday.  Mr. and Mrs. Kratzer came to see us off.  Train left about three hours late — Italian time.  Arrived in Naples quite late.  Took a wild taxi drive to Parker’s Hotel.  Nearly killed five pedestrians, two officers, one soldier, and a cab horse . . . Next day, walked around and down to the marina and saw them pulling in the nets.  Visited the Aquarium.  Great moment!  Saw lots of uncanny creatures, sea horses, anemones, sea worms, eels, and a white, transparent squid with gauzy wings that sailed backwards and forwards.  We got a shock from the electric ray, and watch the octopus fed.  Dreamed about that afterwards.  Also had a squid stirred up, so that he squirted black ink! . . . .

Wednesday, took a train and went to Pozzuli.  Engaged a guide that “spoke English,” and a carriage “built for two,” drawn by a horse that deserved something better from life.  Started on our way to see Sulfatara, the volcano.  Our guide, a dried-up little shrimp that should have been in the catacomb long since, favored us with long explanations in Italian.  After much shrieking in Italian and English, the fact remained that his linguistic accomplishments were confined to French and Italian.  We proceeded on our way in stony silence . . . .

Saturday, we went up Vesuvius!!!  Changed cars about three times — each worse than the last.  Last lap I kept my eyes on the floor.  Arrived and went for a long walk around the edge of the crater on a crazy little path three feet wide, that dropped straight down a couple of hundred feet to the crater, and the other side sloped down a few miles to the plains below.  I don’t know what the volcano is like.  I didn’t look.  Did not return to normal for several hours after the descent.  My next glimpse of the place will be taken when I’m hovering over it on heavenly wings, or else from the inside.  Sunday, went to the Bertolini Palace for tea.  Went shopping and bought some gloves.  Nice shops.  Liked them very much!”


Return to top



November and December, 1922

Rome, Italy

“Sunday.  Went to see the Pope!  All dolled up in black with veils.  Scared to death.  Saw about twenty different uniforms, all gorgeous.  Kissed the Pope’s ring — not too paralyzed for that — after waiting about three hours.  

The Fascistic excitement just on.  Parades and singing all the time.  Huge thrill.  Railways stopped.  No newspapers.  Black shirts everywhere.   Flags floating, etc.  Died down just after we left, though still lots of Fascisti present.”



December, 1922

Syracuse, Sicily

“Next day took a guide and carriage, and went first to the Roman amphitheatre, which lies sunken on a hill-side.  It is in fairly good condition.  A place can be seen in the middle which was used as a means of letting in water for water battles.  From there went to the Greek theatre — it was absolutely perfect — a circle of seats cut from solid rock, and quite undestroyed.  Went back to the theatre and walked through the Street of Tombs — a deep street cut from solid rock, and lined with tombs after the manner of the catacombs.  The marks of the chariot wheels are sometimes eight or twelve inches deep in places.  Nearby were the quarries.  Went down and entered the Ear of Dionysius, a huge passage cut from the rock in the outline of an ear.  It was used as a prison, and was called the “Ear of the King” because he came and listened to prisoners plotting from a secret window.  The cave is remarkable for its echo.  The notes of a chord on a scale when sung will sound like a chord of a great organ.  The slightest sound is magnified many times.”



December, 1922

Palermo, Sicily

“Then next day, took the train for Palermo.  Arrived late and went to the Hotel de Palmes.  Quite nice — a little pep for a change.  Jazz band for tea, etc.  Quite good food — wonderful desserts.  Saw a room in the hotel where Wagner composed some of Tristan and Isolde.  Horrible room.  Looked like an interior decorator’s night mare.  Plush, gold clocks, draperies, crystal chandeliers, pictures with frames two feet broad, and a carpet with red, red roses.  Proves Wagner was a genius!”

 “Went up to Monreale one day and visited the Cathedral.  The place is full of the funniest mosaics — some show Noah building the ark.  He is dashing around juggling thirty foot planks.  The next pictures show the animals being herded two-by-two, with Noah lovingly herding the lion.  Then there is the storm with the dove somewhat waterlogged.  When that is over, the ark is balanced nicely on two little points right on the summit of Mt. Ararat — no half measures for Noah.  And the last picture shows the animals beating it as Noah gives the lion a swift kick. The horses meanwhile, looking as if they hadn’t been fed for forty days, are chewing on some cactus that apparently the deluge didn’t harm.  The Grand Finale shows the family grouped in appropriate positions with a good, healthy rainbow in the background.”


Return to top