Zeppelin over the tropics

“We ran upstairs to the open porch and saw the colossal Graf Zeppelin float by above us, sunshine reflecting from its silver sides”, describes Alicia Momsen Miller, that was five in 1930, when she first saw the dirigible. Three years later, together with her two brothers, she was one of the first kids to ever fly in the Graf Zeppelin. By then, it had an established route between South America, Europe and the US.

Alicia’s father was an American diplomat and lawyer based in Rio. He was offered a free trip from Rio to Chicago  to visit the World’s Fair, named “A Century of Progress”. Her mother visited the airship and said, shocked, that the fabric looked like you could poke a hole through it with your finger. “She was horrified, deciding never to trust her children in such a thing”, remembers Alicia. “But my father insisted they look at the accommodations in the gondola, and they ascended the short sturdy ladder. ‘What a surprise!’,  my mother said, ”The large living room with its big windows had a number of attractive chairs and tables, and down the hall were wonderful  roomy double staterooms.’ She felt the mattresses, and found them comfortable. ‘If anything happens, at least we’ll all be together’, she said”. And so they traveled.

On the following documentary, made in 1932, the Graf Zeppelin flies over many Brazilian islands and Fernando de Noronha Archipel and lands in Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco. Then, it continues its journey to Rio. The cinematographer on board registers bird eye’s views of a few cities, a wrecked sail boat and little airplanes. Enjoy!

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