Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD
(1910 - 1995)
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.