Clara Burgener was born February 8, 1885 in Wimmis, Bern, Switzerland to Edward Durtschi and Rosina K. Hildbrand Durtschi. She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 18 years of age after which she immigrated to Utah 'for the gospel's sake.' In 1955 at the age of 70, she went on a tour of Europe and returned to her homeland of Switzerland for the first time since she was 18.
This collection consists of 8 typewritten pages from Clara's journal about her trip to Europe. Clara's three main reasons for taking the tour were: 1) to attend the dedication of the Mormon temple in Bern, Switzerland (the first Mormon temple in Europe), 2) to visit her childhood home, and 3) to see more of '[her] beautiful Switzerland and Europe.' Clara's journal is rich with description about her experiences on the tour. Clara was neither afraid nor excited for her first airplane ride, but described it as a 'thrilling experience.' In Scotland, the group visited the St Giles Cathedral, Holyrod Palace, Edinburgh Castle, and a beautiful war memorial. In London, they visited the St. Paul Cathedral, Kensington museums, Westminster Abby, and Windsor Castle. She described Amsterdam as the 'most beautiful city [they had] seen thus far.' She was pleased to learn there was no unemployment in Belgium, and wished that America could do something of the same sort. She had a 'first class thriller' while visiting the Wonders of the Grotto of Han, riding in a small boat through a long, low tunnel. In Bern, she records that although it had rained for 3 days and nights, the rain stopped and the sun broke through for the temple dedication. She said, 'It was a beautiful sight, one I shall never forget,' and that 'it was hard to leave' after the dedication. When Clara visited her childhood home, the family living there took her on a tour of the 11 room house which according to Clara had not changed. While in Bern, she ate dinner with an LDS family. In Luzern, Switzerland, the group took the world's longest and steepest cogwheel train up Mount Pilatus. Clara described the United Nations Building in Geneva, Switzerland, as very impressive. In Italy, Clara enjoyed the countryside, but after visiting a few cities said, 'by afternoon [they] were so bored with [the] vulgar art [they] asked the guide to take [them] outside the city.' In Venice, the President of Italy was to visit for which there were many elaborate preparations taking place. Clara said, 'How wicked for one man getting such costly attention when hundreds of poor kids are living out of garbage cans in the same city.' The group flew from Paris to London to begin their trip home. Of her flight over London, Clara said it was the 'most thrilling sight I ever saw. To see that picture was worth the price of the ticket to me.' Clara enjoyed the 5 week break from washing, cooking, cleaning, etc, but was grateful to be home when the trip concluded. The plane that Clara took from Denver to Salt Lake City was making the same trip three days later and crashed into a mountain killing 66 people. At the end of the entry, Clara shared a story about Mr. and Mrs. John Yoost who joined them on their tour. Mr. Yoost was baptized by David Hirschi in Bern, Switzerland at 20 years of age. His family was very bitter, and he was told to leave the house and to never write from Utah. Years later, on his return to Switzerland for this trip he wrote to his brothers and sisters and asked them to meet him at the train station. To his surprise he was welcomed back warmly. It was a sweet experience that impressed Clara greatly.