Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

Odd Places

For many years we traveled in Europe by car, using secondary roads without prior hotel reservations. We spent  nights in very odd places, indeed. While driving through some unfrequented remote part of Ireland it began to get dark and we were still without a roof over our heads. We were, therefore, pleasantly surprised when just outside a village we came to a portal with a sign "overnight guests welcome." It seemed to lead into a large estate surrounded by a rather neglected park. We arrived at a big house and when we rang the bell a nun appeared and showed us to a spare unadorned room with facilities down the hall. After we washed up we walked into large sitting room, filled with old ladies and gentlemen, who looked at us curiously and seemed glad to see us. We had strayed into a Catholic nursing home. Soon the dinner--bell rang and we all moved to the dining room. The meal consisted of the contents of one can of salmon with the center bone and skin intact and absolutely cold. I shall never forget our consternation when we confronted this meal.

On the same trip we again had difficulty finding a place to stay the night. We were near the western sea shore. All the bed and breakfast signs along the road announced "no vacancy."  It was a part of Ireland where Gaelic was spoken, which we could not read or speak. Then we suddenly came upon a sign for a hotel that appeared to point down a side road. We followed the arrow and came to a small house, what we would call, a country inn. We needed two rooms since one of my cousins, Betti Ostrowski Alexander, was traveling with us. "Oh yes, we have two rooms, one with a bath and another  behind the kitchen." A bath. I had not seen a bath for some time. We got to our room and my husband immediately took a shower. It was my turn. I sat in the bathtub and turned on the  hot and cold water faucets. No hot water. I was so disappointed that I started to cry, which did not help. After I got dressed we went down for dinner. In the meantime my cousin found her room, which must have been a maid's room, scarcely large enough to turn around in, but it had good bed. I do not remember the meal, and we went to bed early. The next morning when we came down for breakfast at eight-thirty we found ourselves in an empty dining room. The kitchen was locked and my poor cousin was locked in. The cook arrived at 9 o'clock, mumbling to herself that these damned Americans were always in a hurry, but she fed us and then we went on our way.

We had other strange encounters on our various trips, but about them some other time.


Susan Koslow - Homepage

Publications | Biography | Art | Snyders | Resources | Family History