From Hotel Mittelhauser in Cologne – 14th August 1913

My Grandfather wrote from the Hotel Mittelhauser in Cologne on 14th August 1913.


 

This is probably the right hotel. (Note that it does not show up on the published page  – but click the link to see it)


Hôtel Mittelhäuser Cöln.
Fernsprecher No 611
Cöln, den 14 August 1913
Am Haupbahnhof, Dom und Hauptpost
Dear Mummie & Daddie/
Just a line to help keep my English in form. Thought I must admit that up to the present my German seems limited to enquiring for the way and for grub.
However grub seems to be the one and and object of existence over here; no wonder the Germans are so fat.
 You will see I have arrived at Cologne where the "Eau de" comes from. This is really the start of my campaign for a job. Horrid thought !
 I got your card just before I left London - fancy troubling when in the grip of Sciatica. I'm so sorry, because I know it must be pretty bad, for you to ?strike.
 You really must try my infernal machine !
No more 60 mile cycle rides, unless you take at least 2 days over it. If I cycled 60 miles in one day I should have all the -aticas under the sun.
 When at Hamburg I paid a visit to Hagenbecks Zoo. The kiddies would have loved it. The animals are more or less in natural surroundings and are kept from devouring the spectators by trenches or parapets. One of these days a specially expert bear will give an extra long leap & set up a record.
 In one place there were dogs, wolves, teddy bears and lion cubs and a hyaena all living in perfect bliss. The teddy bears were the cheekiest though, and seemed to rule the roost. The hyaena was a surly beggar.
 It is funny here to see dogs helping to pull carts in the streets; everyone seems to work and the women hardest of all. But I suspect the Manager at 3 Abbey Gardens, could give them points. Everyone seems to be in an official position here, and really you could mistake the policeman for field-marshals. They are all very good tempered however and I am no longer frightened of them. By the by, I have seen hundreds of our old friends the British-Holsteins over here. Apparently it is their native place.
 I have been getting lovely peaches for about 6d a pound off the street merchants, but in the shops as soon as they see you’re an Englishman they try & do you. Will I'm rather tired after tramping all day, and being by oneself seems to tire more quickly - so I'll get me to bed - the latter are very comic and consist of a series of different sized pillows & bolsters. Love to all Chief.

Also – diagonally at the top left is written

So sorry to hear abt. Uncle Willie. I never had the pleasure of meeting him byt I am sure he must have been very sweet from what you've told me

3, Abbey Gardens, Keynsham, near Bristol was, presumably, the home of the Stevens family at the time. It does not appear to exist today,  probably its location was under the A4 Keynsham Bypass, close to the site of Keynsham Abbey.

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