Schlagwort-Archiv: train

From Bombay to Tandur, 20 January 1893

Having used the morning to prepare the mail, I drove to Tellery again to complete my shopping, third time being a charm.

At noon there was a group photography to preserve a fixed memory of my visit at Government House of me, Lord and Lady Harris and all the staff of the house.

Then I inspected the stables of Lord Harris. In open boxes Australian carriage horses as well as English and Arabian riding horses and polo ponies are quartered. Acting as an equerry of the governor is his personal doctor who masters this task as outstandingly as the medicinal one. The horses are in fine condition, although some are broken down due to the sharp turns, namely on chivvies on hard ground. In all of India, one preferably uses Australian horses, tall and strong with their characteristic carp back, as carriage horses. The price of these horses fluctuates between 380 and 1550 fl. in Austrian currency. To ride and play polo one uses in British India mostly Arabians and some locally raised animals. Very funny are the 12 to 14 hands high ponies of which first-rate specimen can be had for the ridiculous price of 12 to 17 fl. in Austrian currency.

Now it was time to leave Bombay behind. I said good.bye to Lady Harris and drove with Lord Harris to the station where the special train of the vice king was awaiting me which the vice king has been put at my disposition for the duration of my journey across India. With heartfelt thanks I and the governor parted ways and soon the train rode towards our next destination, Tandur, where we were expected to hunt tigers.

Well acquainted with the English grasp of the relationship between comfort and luxury and expecting to see the special train of the highest magistrate of India equipped to the utmost Oriental opulence, I was truly astonished about the simplicity of the fittings and equipment of the wagons of this train which would leave many an Englishman to miss their familiar comfort, especially in matter of the bedding. Especially remarkable was the fact that the wagons and even the individual compartments were without direct passages, corridors or doors so that the „cell mates“ of the neighboring compartments could only communicate during the rare way stations.

From Bombay to Tandur which lies in a south-eastern direction of Bombay, we made use of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway to Wadi. It first crosses Bombay’s suburbs, then past Parel and the government salt mines across a large bridge over the estuary that separates Salsette island from the mainland and then turns towards the mountains.

The physiognomy of the area changes quickly. High mountains, rich in bizarre forms, assembled out of regular parallel layers that display themselves as long strips or lines, followed by valleys dedicated mostly to growing rice. Small palm tree groves, some tall palm trees alternate with thin Euphorbia hedges, but the vegetation is not as rich and majestic as in Ceylon. Higher up the mountain, the valley are narrower with dry yellow grass and some crooked trees, steep and abrupt ridge. In the valleys and canyons deep down below us one can see teak trees (Tectona grandis), wild bananas, Ficus religiosa und Ficus indica.

The railway is built similar to the one from Colombo to Kandy with steep ascents, crosses many tunnels and offers charming views on the fancy rock needles, the long, narrow and steep wall-like rocky ridges, the mostly bare tops of the Western Ghats. Ghats are called the stair-like steps  of the numerous parallel mountain ranges on the Indian West and East coast bordering the Dekhan high plateau. To the south the seemingly less wild than arduous Western Ghats at an average altitude of 1200 m and the lower and less important Eastern Ghats continue in mountain ranges of up to 2630 m that are covered in woods, called Nilgiri Hills (blue mountains). At Lanauli Station the railway reaches its highest point and continues almost at an even altitude across cultivated land. Late at night we passed  Poona, 119 km south-east of Bombay, the favorite summer retreat of the governor. The same location also has camps for all troops that maneuver there.

Links

  • Location: Poona, India
  • ANNO – on 20.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers, The Neue Freie Presse reminds its readers about the centenary of the execution of Louis XVI of France iby guillotine on 21st January 1793 which plunged Austria into two decades of war first against the French republic then Napoleon. Much space is devoted to the report about the fourth ball of the city of Vienna. The weather is still dreadful, even though some sport is taking place on the frozen Danube canal.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Magnetische Kuren“, while the k.u.k Hof-Operntheater combines the opera „Freund Fritz“ (l’amico Fritz) by Pietro Mascagni with Carinthian songs „Am Wörthersee“.

Kandy to Kalawewa, 7 January 1893

In the morning at 6 o’clock we started on the hunting expedition into the interior of the island of an expected duration of five days, 108 km north from Kandy to the ponds and jungle of Kalawewa.

Up to Matale we took a special train to Mahaiyawa Station through smiling valleys an high mountain peaks covered in light mist while deeper down thaw was glittering on the leaves and flowers. The day was glorious and cool.

We reached Matale in a bit less than three quarters of an hour and mounted high wagons there, after the baggage, the guns, the photographic apparatus and Hodek’s sorcerer’s toolbox stuff were loaded.

The road led through the most beautiful palm and banana groves in which there were plenty of Sinhalese settlements whose inhabitants were lining the road with curious eyes. Colorful birds and majestic butterflies flew past among which was a Papilio iophon  of carmine red with white-black wings and a intensive black-yellow Ornithoptera darsius which caught my special attention given my particular professional interest to its color choice. The bearer of our colors we renamed into “Lepidopteron austriacum”. We also observed the white and orange colored Hebomoia glaucippe which followed our wagon for a long time, as well as the white black Hestia iasonia, multiple small lemon yellow Terias, also the glorious white black and light-blue speckled Papilio parinda and in the jungle swarms of Chilasa clytioides. The first parrots we saw were greeted by our wild cries.

After about 30 km the scenery and vegetation change. High tall deciduous trees mixed with impenetrable bushes and mighty Euphorbias replace palm trees. The wildlife also changes and becomes more numerous. We observed a cuckoo bird named Indian jungle crow, multiple heron species, noticeably many bee-eaters, striped squirrels and a mongoose.

Every 19 to 20 km government built small, one floor rest stop houses provide accommodation for the travelers, food and sometimes also horses along the excellent road cutting through the park-like landscape. We changed our horse teams regularly at these stops. These horse teams were sometimes 17 hands tall Australians, sometimes small Indian double ponies or military horses. Everything went according to plan and we drove extraordinarily quickly.

Towards 11 o’clock in the morning, we had travelled for 45 km to have a breakfast rest on the cone-shaped rock Dambulla after a visit to its famous Buddha temple. At the foot of the rock we were received by the most respected local nobleman escorted by his spear-armed lifeguard. As the ascent to the temple is rather long and steep, we were carried on small seats mounted on poles by teams of eight Sinhalese. The poor devils were sweating and breathing mightily but in the tropical heat my egoism has to surpass my compassion, so I staggered comfortably up to the entrance of the temple which is remarkable both due to its age and construction style.

Five important caves with very small entrances have been hacked by humans into the rock and serve as a temple for Buddha. His image and scenes from his life are depicted in countless variations. At the entrance to this temple caves one can see on the opposite side under a canopy a statue of Buddha which shows him as an example of tranquility partly standing as an instructing god partly sitting with his hands folded in his lap. The face of god which expresses nothing less than intelligence as well as his extremities are in all images covered in flashy yellow color while his dress is playfully colored. In a third posture, namely lying, Buddha is present five times in the temple caves of Dambulla. These statues are hewn out of the rock, each 20 m long and 3 m high and resemble more whales than an image of a god. Around these representations are pedestals with a number of sitting Buddhas of larger-than-life size partly made out of stone, partly made out of burned clay.

The walls and the ceiling of the caves are often covered in highly imaginative paintings which most of the times treat the life of Buddha and give the impression of a large hanging rug due to their thoughtful arrangement and disposition. Apart a few statues of Buddha we saw in the temples also those of the Indian king Räma, the legendary conqueror of Ceylon.

A mythical darkness reigns in these six-hundred-year-old rooms as only a few beautiful bronze lamps decorated with giant peacocks emit a bit of light while the scent of white flowers, temple flowers which amply grow outside the temple, are overpowering the senses.

A number of bonzes told us – naturally in Sinhalese language – apparently highly interesting things of which we understood nothing which ended with a very comprehensible demand for baksheesh.

The charming governor who cared so much about our well-being had had a tiny house built out of bamboo sticks and palm leaves on the height of the rock near a small pond. There we found a dining room with kitchen as well as a luxuriously equipped cabin for each of us to rest at noon. We blessed Sir Arthur E. Havelock in thought, as that comfortable place nor only allowed us ample refreshment and quiet rest but also an almost fairy-like panorama of that part of the island. Deep down below us was the wide green sea of palm and deciduous trees out of which one could detect a small lake or a Sinhalese settlement and, island-like, mountain peaks in blue hue. Also the famous and notorious Sigiri mountain on which the kings of yore had built important fortresses with stone galleries that could be viewed with a spyglass.

For long we could not force us to separate us from this enchanting panorama but as another 37 km were still to be covered we had to enter into the wagon again.

The heat had diminished and quickly we drove along the road. The only interruption was caused by two Sinhalese high priests who offered with many bows a long piece of writing which asked for a contribution for the restoration of a Buddha temple as one of the men in the party translated. Perhaps one head of the Buddha is now receiving an even more beautiful canary yellow coating thanks to my small contribution.

The sun was just setting when the thick tropical forest opened up in front of us.

A cry of amazement escaped from our lips after we had reached the top of the high dam in front of us which offered a completely new picture. On the one side the enormous water basin of Kalawewa, a pond in glittering blue in which hundreds of dead large trees pushed their branches to the sky – the golden red light of the sun rays relay turns this landscape into one of Dore’s fantastic landscapes. On the other side of the dam is the endless jungle with its closed canopy and the grotesque forms of the mountain peaks in the distance.

The dam on which we moved – built by king Dhatu Sena during the 5th century AD, incredibly without any technical assistance but only with the use of human labor – had a length of 9.6 km, a height of 20 m, a width of 7 m and dams the water of two rivers so that a pond is formed as a reservoir which covers a circumference of 64 km. The goal of this great land improvement work is the irrigation of numerous rice fields in the surrounding areas while a large bifurcating canal with locks supplies water to the 83 km distant Anuradhapura as well as over 100 village ponds on its way.

With time, the giant stone and earth dam had become loose and the dam broke and the whole surrounding area was flooded. Everywhere the fever, nourished by the miasma, ravaged the population so much that the survivors decided to emigrate. After the canal leading to Anuradhapura had been repaired some kilometers from that place by governor Sir William Gregory (1871-1877) did the British government order the whole canal repaired during the years from 1884 to 1887 and also to repair the dam which also restored the pond. The government intends to urge Sinhalese from the northern provinces to settle in this area offering the settlers free land, a measure only partially successful as people still fear the fever. The fear of the fever is grounded in reality as we could personally witness seeing many locals deeply marked by treacherous disease.

The accumulated water due to the restitution of the dam has made large tracts productive but flooded and killed the large trees at the edge which formerly had stood on firm ground.

We had reached our destination and found our home for the next days, the hunting camp, ready. Up on the dam crest, next to a small engineer house small bungalows out of bamboo and palm leaves had been built which made a comfortable and friendly impression. First were the small rooms for me and the men of my entourage, then a large dining room, the kitchens and, a bit lower down, a barn for about thirty horses.

For a long time we sat in front of our bungalows on this beautiful evening and enjoyed the myriads of fireflies swarming around the tree branches.

Links

  • Location: Kalawewa, Ceylon
  • ANNO – on 07.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Swiss government informs that it denies the rumors circulating in the press that it will replace its ambassador to Austria, Mr Aepli. Amidst the turmoils of the Panama scandals in France, it is unclear whether the former minister Charles Baïhaut has been arrested, as Le Figaro says, or not.
  • The Neue Freie Presse informs its readers about Franz Ferdinand’s journey with an update about his time in Aden and informs about his sightseeing trip to the city.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing Adolf von Wilbrandt’s  „Der Meister von Palmyra“; the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater again combines an opera and a ballet: Pietro Mascagni’s Die Rantzau and the ballet the „Four Seasons“.

Colombo — Kandy, 6 January 1893

There is an old tale that Ceylon had once been the location of paradise where Adam and Eve had lived prior to the fall of mankind. If that is true, our ancestors had enjoyed a truly heavenly place. Those who have seen Ceylon will understand the size of the damage caused by the frivolous game with the apple. This island, embellished by the incredible attractions and wonders of the tropical nature, inexhaustible in its delightful imagery, blessed with an exhaustive creative force, lost for all mankind for the sake of a single apple! The richness in vegetation taunts all possible description, not a single spot resembles another one. At every step, every drive, I might say, at every turn of the way the images changed. Now there are palm groves, then giant bushes covered in lianas and orchids, then cactus-like Euphorbias with magnolia-like totally straight branches that captivated us. In between are flowers of the most colorful kind such as the purple red Gloriosa superba and a sky-blue Ranunculacee. Scintillating butterflies fly from flower to flower. Striped squirrels (Sciurus palmarum) run up and down the trunks, the most colorful birds, parrots, bulbuls, kingfishers, herons and bee-eaters cross the sky.

For today, a trip to Kandy, the old capital of the kings of Ceylon and the favourite spot of the present governor, was planned. The city of 20.252 inhabitants is 119 km distant from Colombo. At 9 o’clock, I went on land and through the guard of honor to the railway station of the fort where another honor guard was waiting. Most lovely to look at was a tame antelope with gilded horns – black buck of the English – that was a mascot of the music band.

The governor and his entourage and we mounted the wagons oft he Kandy railway which are very suitably and airily built and operated for the climate. Sinhalese act as railguards while the conductors and civil servants are Europeans. In spite of the large costs of the enterprise it is highly profitable thanks to the tea exports and the native predilection for train trips.

The railway tracks led first through thick banana and palm groves which alternated with extended rice plantations. The rice harvest which occurs twice per year had been completed shortly prior to our arrival and so the heavily watered and terraced fields were most fresh and of young green color. Everywhere there were buffalos standing up to their head in the water, surrounded by cowboys who looked almost snow-white from the distance. At Rambukkana station, the railway starts to enter mountain territory and the panorama changes. Ever steeper and steeper the railway tracks snake upwards. Tunnels and overhanging stone galleries follow, everywhere there are sources, brooks, rivers which descend in the fastest path towards the plain and greatly enliven the scenery. The eye is feasting on the blue mountain peaks and the deep-cut jungle valleys – it is, I might say, a Semmering-Bahn transposed into a tropical world. A high black rock cone standing tall beside the track has gained sad notoriety as a Tarpeian rock during the time of the kings of Ceylon of the Mahawani family, as these rulers pushed inconvenient prisoners down into the abyss to their death. Close to Kadugannawa station is a monument to Captain Dawson paying tribute to his construction of the first stage of the railway.

In front of Kandy, the rice fields are displaced by tea and cacao plantations which offer a pleasant impression with their deep green leaves.

At the station at Kandy we were festively received. A honor guard of native volunteers presented arms while a newly organized mounted guard of native noblemen rode on excellent ponies in front of our government carriage and behind it. All Kandy was outside. Thousands of Sinhalese and many Europeans stood at the roadside or on the verandas to greet us and welcome us most friendly.

Kandy is very picturesque situated in a greenish smiling valley and distinguishes itself through its clean houses and mild climate.

Near the ruins of the old royal palace, gigantic, strongly anchored walls with imaginative crenelations, was installed a towerlike triumphal arch built out of bamboo and palm leaves. On the other side of it was the fairylike garden of Government House or Pavillon. Bamboo and rubber trees of unimaginable height, covered in blooming lianas, form an alley that leads to the Government House. It is built in tropical style with wide stairs and large airy halls and offers a very pleasant stay.

I first paid my compliments to Lady Havelock and was then presented by the governor to a numerous delegation of native noblemen, the old hereditary nobility of Ceylon, where the following protocol was observed: I stood in the middle of the large hall while the individual members of the delegation came up singly, bowed deeply, the vice governor declaiming their names which were particularly long.

The costumes of these dignified, long-bearded men are most imaginative: On the head they wear a four or six-pointed flat red hat on which is fixated an agraffe with a jewel. The upper body is covered by a small jacket wrought in gold. On the breast hang different amulets and badges on golden chains which are often heavily trimmed with diamonds. Among the jewelry, I especially noted a flying eagle decorated with rubies and emeralds which is said to have been owned by a minister of the last king. In broad belts are knives with richly ornamented blades. The strangest part of their attire, however, was the way they cover their lower extremities. Firstly these are covered with white narrow trousers that reach down to the ankles, around which are wrapped 54 m of muslin – a task which requires more than two hours. This somewhat strange costume turns their wearers into comically walking pears.

After the parade we rested. At the start of the cool evening we paid a visit to Buddha’s tooth, the largest sacred site of the Buddhists. With ear-shattering tam-tam noises and drum music we were received by temple guards and high priests at the foot of the temple and led inside by a number of small stairs. In the entrance hall, numerous priests, all with heads clean shaved and clad in yellow Sarongs, were smilingly bowing standing at attention. After a few rooms with images from the life of Buddha I was in a square dark Sanctuarium lit only by a few lamps in which the musty smell of decomposing cut flowers, present in great number, flowed towards me. The high priest mumbled a few prayers and then showed me the tooth which lies in a large golden rose. The god Buddha must have had giant dentures because the tooth measures 5 cm in length and 25 cm in width. It has a dark chestnut brown color and is said to be made out of ivory smuggled in by clever priests after the original tooth had been burned by the Portuguese. Many pilgrims and processions arrive here to this sanctuary annually. The tooth is encased in six or seven tower-like covers made out of massive gold and decorated with gemstones, true masterworks. The whole is kept in a barred cage that contains also another object of value, a 12 cm high statue of Buddha made out of a single pure emerald stone.

We saw here also a second relic with many especially crystalline Buddhas as well as the temple library which keeps old Sinhalese writings etched into palm leaves. Then we drove to the 6 km distant majestic botanical garden of Peradeniya which exceeds everyone’s wildest expectations by its variety of plants and trees as well as its tasteful composition into groups. The tropical climate that supports the gardener’s art is capable of achieving nearly fairy-like outcomes. Peradeniya is said to be the most beautiful botanical garden in the world. That it is unmatched I can firmly believe. The chief gardener tasked me with planting a tree to commemorate my visit, as did the Prince of Wales and the Tsesarevich. The tree planted by the first has already reached a sizeable height. The orchid collection of the park is housed indoors with straw mats replacing glass windows to safeguard the plants from the intense sun rays.

Lady Havelock which we encountered in that part of the garden with her daughter invited us to a cup of tea in the garden pavilion.

At 8 o’clock there was a grand parade dinner in Government House in Kandy which was attended by numerous dignitaries and multiple ladies. Giant Indians with long spears were set up in the staircase as a guard of honor. The table in black and yellow was richly decorated with flowers. For the delicious meal, musically accompanied by the band of the 6th regiment that played lovely melodies, I sat between Lady Havelock and the German wife of our consul general Schnell, who was born in Calcutta. At the end of the dinner the governor declared a toast to the queen’s health, to that of our emperor and to mine, accompanied to the people’s hymn.

After the conclusion of the dinner, a religious procession called the Perahera procession, which is performed but once a year and which is attended by all the nobles of the land from the most distant places with their attendants and their elephants to create the largest pomp possible, started in the large forum in front of the Buddha temple. The glittering procession of the dignitaries, the nobles and the men, the majestic elephants, the gaudy play of the colors, the glittering and sparkling gold and gems, the activities of the crowd, the performance of fantastic dances, the magic scenery – all covered in a clear light of torches, turned it into a Arabian Nights fairy tale. The procession moved with a deafening sound of the drums past the Buddha temple on whose dais all guests of the governor and the members of the English colony had taken their seats.

At the front of the parade marched a beautifully ornamented giant elephant that carried a representation of the golden hull of Buddha’s tooth on a rich silk blanket. The giant was escorted by two smaller elephants, then about a hundred Sinhalese with colors and torches came. Then, surrounded by dancers moving in grotesque jumps, followed the nobles of the land in their dress sparkling with diamonds. In the procession of at least 800 to 1000 m length were assembled forty elephants ornamented in the most diverse of trappings. All houses up to the roofs and the whole large forum were filled with the mass of the united country folk which set up a captivating strange background in their red and white Sarongs and the disquieting changing illumination. Twice the procession passed by us. Then we returned home to the governor’s pavilion, enriched by the interesting day’s events.

Huts in Colombo, Ceylon

Huts in Colombo, Ceylon

Links

  • Location: Kandy, Ceylon
  • ANNO – on 06.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Panama scandal in France is always a good topic to fill the pages, apart from the snow storm that is.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Krisen“ – a character study by Eduard von Bauernfeld; the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents a French opera „Der Prophet“.

Stuttgart — Vienna, 17 to 18 October 1893

In Stuttgart was finally realized what I had dreamed about in the hunting camp at Tandur1 to hold my sister in the arms as a new wife in her freshly constituted home. But understandably I wanted to return home and thus the next day I rushed on home.

When the train reached the marking of the black and yellow boundary posts at Braunau and knew to be once again in Austria, my heart was filled with joy that increased all the more the closer the Orient Express approached, flying through the well known beautiful regions of Upper and Lower Austria, to the heart of the homeland.

In St. Pölten I celebrated a happy reunion with my parents and siblings and arrived in their company in Vienna at last.

Safe and secure I returned home after a long voyage around the world. Thankful to providence in my heart, I saluted again after a year’s time  — the old eternally young Imperial city.

Links

  • Location: Stuttgart, Germany and on 18 October, Vienna, Austria.
  • ANNO – on 17.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Ein Nachtlager Corvins“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „A Santa Lucia“ and the ballet „Die verwandelte Katze“.
  • The Neue Freie Presse reports that Franz Ferdinand did not meet anyone in Paris and stayed in the Grand Hôtel under the incognito of Count Wartholz.
Franz Ferdinand visits the Eiffel tower in Paris.

Neue Freie Presse reported that Franz Ferdinand visited the Eiffel tower and stayed at the Grand Hôtel in Paris.

Neue Freie Presse reports about Franz Ferdinand's reunion with his family at St. Pölten. He apparently has lost weight - lanky ("schmächtig") is not a favorable descriptor.

Neue Freie Presse, 18 October 1893, reports about Franz Ferdinand’s reunion with his family at St. Pölten. He apparently has lost weight – lankier („schmächtig“) is not a favorable descriptor.


  1. While he already mentions the marriage of his sister at Tandur, it is the next day in Hyderabad on 24 January 1893 that he mentions the planned reunion in Stuttgart. 

Niagara Falls, 4 October 1893

The sleep was again severely interrupted by the heavy blows during the switchovers. In the morning we could again note the loss of multiple wine bottles and the injury of one of our serving Negroes who had been thrown against the wagon wall by the impact.

We had barely left Chicago on the Michigan Central Railroad towards our next destination, the Niagara Falls,  when we entered the territory of the states of Indiana and later that of Michigan. Near Detroit we crossed in the railway train the Detroit river on a large traject ship. The Detroit River connects Lake Huron and the smaller  Lake St. Clair with Lake Erie. And we finally reached at Windsor the territory of the Canadian province of Ontario.

The day was beautiful and the area quite charming as forests and forest lots alternated with farms, fruit gardens and fields. The trees were already bearing their autumn dress that was much more intensively colored than in our hemisphere and showed itself in the numerous oak and maple trees in a remarkably beautiful red varying from a light vermilion to a dark crimson and effectively contrasted by thee yellow and brown of the poplars and chestnuts. The fruit tress, among them a scarlet Ailanthus, were bearing fruits.

Despite these pretty images of which we could never see enough, I regretted not to spend the 4th October as usual high up in the Carinthian mountains in order to breathe clear air in my small hunting lodge and to enjoy pure nature, surrounded by the calling deer and hunting boys and bloodhounds and let the eye glance upon the incomparable landscape of our Alps. Man is thus devoted to his habits and misses what he cherishes.

The sudden stop of the train tore me out of my thoughts and everything shouted: „the Niagara, the Niagara“. The railway administration had arranged a stop of a few minutes to allow the travelers a view upon the fall that disappointed and disillusioned me in the first moment. Since my earliest childhood I had imagined this natural wonder that stood in stark contrast to its reality. The river falls in a completely flat area out of which rise cities, hotels and smoking factory stacks from a rocky ledge that is quite similar to a giant dam. Nevertheless I can not deny that this mightiest waterfall of the world has a quite great character that however loses much in my eyes by the absence of a scenic landscape. The dignified frame is missing in this picture.

The Niagara River is the outflow of the Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie and descending on its 58 km length by 100 m it develops a torrential velocity. At the edge of the fall the river bed is split by Goat Island and thus two falls are formed, namely the 322 m wide American and the 915 m wide crooked Horse Shoe or Canadian fall. The border between the United States and Canada passes straight through the middle of the Horse Shoe fall. Both falls together send 425.000 m³ water per minute downriver. Below the falls the river narrows and forms roaring rapids that one can watch from the high Cantilever Bridge of the Michigan Central Railroad, a freely suspended bridge that crosses the Niagara without any supporting pillars. About 90 m further downstream the Railway Suspension Bridge hangs suspended, a chain bridge that also carries below the railway tracks another bridge for the road traffic.

The train stops after having passed over the cantilevered bridge into American territory outside of the city of Niagara Falls that owes its existence to the foreign tourists and not to the few industrial establishments. Every year more than 400.000 visitors are coming here.

Soon we reached Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park on the Canadian shore that, well tended with lush green lawns and ornamented with mighty trees, follows alongside the river for about 4 km and offers everywhere splendid views on the falls. Table Rock is the point from which the Horse Shoe Fall makes the most dramatic impression. With a deafening noise the water masses crash down while the fine water mist in which the sun weaves gorgeous rainbows is twirled up highly.

In a nearby house one receives a rubber dress that only leaves the face uncovered. Then one drives with an elevator down to the foot of the fall, passes first through a cave and then walks on a narrow runway between the rocks and the thundering water masses. It was a strange I might say constricting feeling to be in the midst of the roaring water and the rock wall. Our voices could not overcome the enormous noise. From time to time we received a douche coming down from a considerable height. The rocks here consist of sandstone and a very crumbly slate that was continuously shedding larger pieces so that the sense of security was much weakened while walking. On steps and ladders and frequent glitches on the slippery rocks we go down another 30 m,  and came again in front of the fall and could again enjoy the greatness of the spectacle greeted by another extended water baptism. Very effectively the rays of the setting sun produced a magic reddish illumination of the fall.

My name day was celebrated during dinner in the wagon and we then wanted to enjoy a pleasurable evening in the much praised Niagara Falls Music Hall. But the art on display was quite mediocre and the audience too of the lowest sort.

Links

  • Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • ANNO – on 04.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Landfrieden“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „A Santa Lucia“ and other pieces.

Manitou — Chicago, 2 October 1893

Also during today’s long journey we had the opportunity to experience in a quite disagreeable manner the ruthlessness with which our Pullman Car was switched at all the crossing points. If a traveler dares to ask the locomotive driver or conductor for a more attentive treatment, he will be laughed at or receives the answer that nobody is forced to use the railway. As a proof of the force and intensity of the blows we received serves the case that nearly all our wine bottles were broken even though they had been well packaged and stored in wooden racks. The incessant use of the locomotive bells that serves as a warning signal gets on the nerves as the sound of the bell is striking similar to that of our passing bell.

During the night we passed through the great city of Denver that features numerous industrial companies. In the morning we no longer saw beautiful landscapes or canyons as we were driving Eastwards on the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad through the fertile area of the state of Nebraska, an endless plain. One sees corn and corn again that my please the farmer’s eye but in the length of time appears highly monotonous to the traveler. Numerous artesian aquifers are operated by wind motors and irrigate the fields. The farms and cities show the characteristics of a quick, overly hasty development and discomfort. The private houses  are unadorned except for numerous promotions and bill boards. Everywhere agricultural machines replace human labor. Herds 0f cattle and horses are roaming around.

In Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, our ambassador lost his hat and baggage during the switch-over. Here too we received the disagreeable news that we would probably not find the baggage we sent ahead there on the day of our arrival in Chicago.  The much praised American railways look quite different if seen up close as when one believes the sugar-coated descriptions. And even in Italy I have not seen similar conditions such as here. Thus there is but a single baggage wagon on these enormously long trains and the baggage of numerous passengers is left behind if there is no space left without informing the passenger and it reaching its destination only 24 hours later.

Omaha, „the gate city“, is one of the main entrance way stations to the West and will be remembered for the onrush of the local reporters upon our wagon during our quarter hour stop. When I went out for a short time to catch some fresh air, I could only with difficulties escape from imminent interviews.  The intrusiveness here in the service of public opinion I could not have imagined it, even though the American press might have let one expect everything. Liberty of the press is interpreted here as fair game on fellow men whose most intimate private life is spared nothing and made public. The newspapers, from the largest to the smallest gossip rag are full of sensational news, of vilifications as well as spicy stories. In the political arena all means are used. That my person too had to undergo such treatment, that the readers were served with lies and bloopers of the most vile kind, I had to take note with indifference  which is the only dignified response for such actions.

Near Omaha, the rail track comes close to the Missouri, then follows its right shore for some time and finally crosses it on a high and long bridge which the train, already on the Chicago, Burlington und Quincy Railroad, passes over very slowly. The Missouri is a very languid river with numerous tributaries and dirty colored water.

No game enlivened the area. The wetlands however offered a pleasing view as they reminded us of our own wetlands where one can now hear the rutting call of the stags and every hunter is spending the most beautiful hours of the year. Oaks, maples, poplars, willows, in short all representatives of the wetland forests were to be seen here. Forest areas in small submerged grounds or valleys embellished the overall view of the area, even after we had already left the current of the river.

Links

  • Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
  • ANNO – on 02.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Die Braut von Messina“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.
  • In contrast to Franz Ferdinand’s statements above, at least the digitized Omaha Bee is very respectful about the distinguished if reclusive foreigners.

 

The Omaha Bee mentions "distinguished foreigners" in Denver

The Omaha Bee of 2 October 1893 mentions „distinguished foreigners at Denver“ in the morning edition

The Omaha Bee 2 October 1893 in the evening edition includes a respectful account of the stop in Omaha.

The Omaha Bee 2 October 1893 in the evening edition includes a respectful account of the stop in Omaha.

Colorado Springs, 30 September 1893

On the line of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad we were rolling towards our next destination, Colorado Springs, after we had turned Eastwards at Provo City. As far as the landscape is concerned, this route has to be described as very interesting as the tracks cross a great number of splendid canyons. Narrow rocky valleys and gorges exist in Europe too but neither in such numbers and extent, nor showing such grotesque formations we were encountering here. Unfortunately, the bad weather spoiled our enjoyment of the scenery as it was snowing when we passed the wild canyon of the Grand River and dense flakes and masses of fog covered the mountain peaks as well as the higher wall some of which rose almost vertically up to 750 m.

In many places the gorge with its rocky walls is so narrow that the railway and the river have just enough space next to each other and daylight can only enter between the colossal jagged walls. Nevertheless crippled pines have set root in crevices and wherever there is a bit of earth between the rocks, intensely red and yellow colored bushes peek out. The sandstone rocks appear in the most adventurous forms, withered and crumbled parts alternate with deep long clefts and caves. One expects the overhanging walls and blocks to tumble down into the abyss at any moment. Down there the gushing river digs its bed deeper and deeper. Rocks that have been broken off by the force exerted by ice in places pile up to mighty masses enriching the gorgeous view that this wild romantic and dark area offers.

The Canyon of the Grand River is 27 km long until the valley in which much new snow was lying opens up without however losing its bare and rocky character. Whenever the fog was broken up by the current wind, we could also see the high mountains surrounding the canyon.

Soon we entered into Eagle River Canyon that resembled its predecessor but was still considerable narrower so that one can not look up to the walls even from the bottom of the wagon. Here too some narrow tunnels had to be dug even though the railway tracks follow the river shore closely. Like glued to the wall appear the small huts of the miners and the mine entrances that allow the extraction of the ore and are the main source of income for the thinly distributed population.

When we reached some sort of high plateau after having passed Eagle Canyon, we were received by light rays of the sun emerging from dense snow clouds. The rays illuminated multiple green fields, an unexpected sight. Grazing cattle and horse brought life into the landscape.

The two cities of Leadville and Salida were examples of the already repeatedly observed type of urban settlements even though the territory, like the whole of Colorado, had been Mexican for a long time before it had been annexed by the United States. Numerous mountain names remind of this past era, thus the snow covered Sangre de Cristo range and places like Pueblo, which we later passed.

Right after Salida we observed mighty round boulders that sometimes were piled up on top of one another that, individually, were larger than a small house. The vegetation here was very paltry and only represented by the roof-shaped dwarf spruce and cacti in yellow bloom.

As far as greatness is concerned, the latest of the canyons, the canyon of the Arkansas, is the equal of the Great Canyon in the Yellowstone Park, but it lacks the latter’s splendid light and color effects that delighted me. Instead the canyon of the Arkansas is marked by the jaggedness of the red sandstone as well by the quite amazing height of granite rocks. The rocks rise at the most narrow spot of this 13 km long pass, called Royal Gorge, up to 800 m.

Overwhelmed by the view I stood on the platform of the wagon, following the example of most other passengers, while the speeding train seemed to flee out of the area of the threatening gigantic masses. Such scary areas have certainly been imagined in our mind while we listened to accounts of Indian attacks on trains, of fights between them and the passengers and of other romances about the far West with all their ghastly elements.

Suddenly, and without any continuing spurs of the surrounding walls, the narrow valley stops and makes way to a wide prairie-like valley where timid trials of cultivating fields and fruit can be observed.

From Pueblo the railway turns North towards Colorado Springs, a spa town popular due to its healthy climate where we rested for the night in order to drive to Manitou the next day and climb Pike’s Peak of 4331 m altitude.

Links

  • Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
  • ANNO – on 30.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Der Veilchentreffer“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Afrikanerin“.

Livingston — Butte City, 28 September 1893

The train led on a branch line of the Northern Pacific Railway in a Southeastern direction across a bare and sad area, through uncultivated hilly terrain and only in the distance the peaks of the Rocky Mountains were visible. Everywhere we saw cattle in great numbers that seemed to be well nourished despite the poor soil. One and a half hour before Butte City the land turned mountainous. The train crossed deeply cut valleys and gorges on tall wooden bridges. Numerous round rock blocks of considerable size were laying around everywhere allowing only sparse tree growth in the few open places.

At many points we could see clear signs of mining that is very actively undertaken in this Rocky Mountain district rich in ore and centered on Butte City. This mining city in the purest sense of the word is situated in a bare valley surrounded by mountains and is recognizable from afar by its smoking stacks. In the middle of the surrounding area of the city rises a hill rich in ore whose copper and silver deposits are extracted by several mines. The attached machine houses, various laundries and large heaps of dead rocks covered the surface of the hill. Small tracks on which wagons and sledges with the mined ore moved led from site to site. Everywhere there was smoke, hammering and knocking.

Around this hill are arranged the city and some settlements that have in time become suburbs, so that Butte currently has 40.000 inhabitants. If American cities in general are known to have been built without taste and present a chilling sight, then Butte City must count to be among the worst.

One should imagine a community of a considerable extent where not one tree, not one spot of green, the motley houses are built on clay or sand and in the more distant roads are reminiscent of gypsy wagons. Everywhere the Non plus ultra of tastelessness is achieved. The roads are bumpy like a miserable country road. And still there are millionaires living in the city but they do not indulge in any luxuries here and do not embellish their sad homes and only amass dollars.

A dense network of wires extended over the roofs and bright boards with obtrusive ads covered the front and side walls of all buildings. In a two-hour tour I have never receiver viler impressions than here but am still satisfied to have seen Butte City as my opinion that one has to see for oneself and not let one’s judgement be formed only by descriptions was confirmed once more.

I was interesting in visiting one of the mines and thus I drove to a mine where I was informed that the officials and workers were at lunch and the mine at rest which made me conclude that a European shift organization that prevented the interruption of the work flow was not possible to install in this „free“ country here. After longer discussions, one worker was ready to show us the mine which was said to go down 335 m and we entered as seven on a sledge intended for four persons. Fortunately we stopped already at the second level and, each equipped with a flickering candle, followed a gallery until we arrived at the work place after we had climbed over multiple ladders. Here the copper and silver veins in the rock were visible in a strange clay mass.

Mining is done in terraces that lie one above the other and are supported by wooden pillars and as elsewhere, they do use plenty of the cheap wood here. The profit  of the mine seems to be small as only 60 workers were employed and everything looked quite shabby. I thus refrained from visiting the likewise resting laundry and smeltery and returned to the station.

Then started an extended period of shifting our wagons in which they were pushed together so forcefully that only their excellent construction prevented damage, as we often had had the opportunity to observe this.

Light-heartedly we parted from Butte City and drove up to dusk to the South towards Salt Lake City through a bare valley with numerous small stations. Alongside the tracks numerous herds were mingling. Some beautiful light effects were produced by the setting sun in the mountains and compensated for the strong monotony of the area.

Links

  • Location: Butte, Montana, USA
  • ANNO – on 28.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Das Heiratsnest“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel — Livingston, 27 September 1893

As the mail still had not arrived on the morning train, I used the time up to the departure to Cinnabar to pay a visit to Captain Anderson, commander of the cavalry detachment stationed here in order to have a look at the menagerie he had assembled which was to be sent to Washington. Captain Anderson had sent me into a fit of despair the evening before when he assured me that he could have arranged for a permission to hunt some predators in the park if we had announced our wishes a few days earlier. How easy it would have been to kill one of those tin-loving bears!

The captain was living in a nicely equipped log house and knew many interesting details about the affairs in the park. His squadron has a very demanding job as it requires many guards and patrols that mainly have to look out for poachers and who have to overcome many dangers given the audacity of the poachers. A poacher was just recently relieved of a nice pony that was standing near the log house.

The menagerie was small but counted among it many remarkable pieces, thus a porcupine, a young buzzard, a badger-like animal unknown to me, three rather tame beavers that could be taken out of the cage and wandered around freely. In an iron cage sat a black bear that had been caught only a few days before and was to undertake a journey to Washington. Four delightful wapiti calves were totally tame, and came running on call, sniffing us curiously, while a fox fled into its artificial cave only to peek out of a tube with a cunning glance from time to time but immediately retiring at every approach.

During the morning some caravans of „sour dough tourists“ arrived which refers to the families that move through and now out of the park with a fully packed wagon, with their children and their stuff. We had encountered several of them already on the first day of our tour. The vehicle, their baggage and the passengers showed clearly visible marks of their gypsy-like roaming. The way these nature lovers visit the park is without doubt a very strange one and a hardly comprehensible way for us to enjoy the summer time. Any demands for comfort these travelers may have to forsake, and whether they find compensation for their many deprivations of their exhausting journey in their boundless existence is dependent on the favor of hazard and the weather’s caprices and thus can not be predicted but seems to be the case.

On the small square I then inspected a cavalry detachment, about half a squadron that performed exercises to an officer’s command. The troop exercised developments and movements that were a bit more complicated than those used at home. The development of a skirmish line where the carbine is grabbed while mounted seems to be one of the most important evolutions. The horses were noticeably tall, strong and also good, mostly white horses. The riding of the soldiers and the rough treatment of the horses I found less sympathetic. The riders wore standard dark-blue uniforms with yellow lacing on the pants and gray slouch hats and tall heavy boots. The armament consisted of saber, revolver and carbine. The latter and the saber were attached on the saddle.

To Cinnabar we came faster this time than the outward journey as the route was in a better condition and was mostly downhill. In this place we had to wait for a long time for the departure of the train of the Northern Pacific Railroad which would take us to Butte City by the way of Livingston. We then intend to travel on to the center of Mormonism, Salt Lake City, our next destination.

During the waiting time in Cinnabar we spoke with an old Saxon who had run away from his homeland to lead a free life in America as a hunter and trapper that apparently pleased him very much. Currently the man engages in a very brisk trade in bear furs and fossilized wood. With special enthusiasm he told us from his hunting expeditions on which he shoots the game emerging from the park but became very agitated when I asked him whether he was married and professed himself as a confirmed bachelor (Hagestolz).

Due to a happy coincidence, I was able to see the most audacious female rider of the area who is able to tame even the most intractable and wild horse, but has been quite neglected by nature as far as beauty and female grace are concerned.

In Livingston we had to use our Pullmann Car also as our night’s lodging as the train to Butte City was only to arrive towards 4 o’clock in the morning. The former city is a known trading place for furs and hides. In the shops one may buy the following: puma, bear, wolf, fox, cat and marten furs, buffalo hides, numerous antlers among them capital ones from wapiti and black-tail deer as well as from mountain sheep. Furthermore a lot of Indian curiosities such as weapons, jewellery and various products of the local industry.

The prices demanded by the merchants were completely outrageous. Furthermore we had to accept it as a kind of grace that they sold us the desired piece for our good money or even receive some sort of packaging. A simple Indian shawl cost 10 dollars, a badly stuffed buffalo head 600 dollars and a pair of wapiti antlers up to 200 dollars. Still our shopping craze was great as we had found many beautiful objects.

When I sent two of my gentlemen with all the necessary attestations and certifications to the post master in the evening and asked him to hand out my mail here in Livingston that had arrived at almost the same time as we and was addressed to Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, I had to experience another proof of American unfriendliness that was very detrimental for our mood. Even though the gentlemen also presented a letter from the post master at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in which he asked his colleague to hand us out the late-arriving mail which was just then laying on the counter so that individual addresses could be read and one could note that among the letters there were also some whose quick reception was important for me, the impolite post master did not want to give us our mail at any price and insisted to send it on to the place of address despite all our means used to change his opinion.Finally he put on his hat and left his office without a word.

Links

  • Location: Livingston, Montana, USA
  • ANNO – on 27.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the drama „Der Meister von Palmyra“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Romeo und Julie“.

Spokane — Livingston, 20 September 1893

The morning brought us a drive through a desolate area in which bare hills covered with yellow grass rise while the mountains whose peaks were glittering with new snow were only sparsely covered with trees. We saw only a few farms but instead quite frequently Indian of which one offered a whole group of polished buffalo and ox horns for sale at a station. Men and women had their faces tattooed red or chrome yellow, the hair braided and rings made out of shells in their ears. The dress of the men seemed to be a mixture of national and European pieces. It was not without a comical element to see a son of the wilderness who still wore moccasins and original leather pants but covered his body in a worn black jacket and his head with a crushed top hat instead of eagle feathers. The women were clad in colorful capes and stared at the travellers emerging from the train. What a difference between these Indians weakened by culture and their wild free and proud ancestors who not long ago were the masters of this land!

In the afternoon we crossed for the second time the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains, this time at Mullan Pass, through a one kilometer long tunnel at an altitude of 1691 m above sea level. The crest of the mountain range rises to 1789 m. The contrast between the Western and Eastern side of this watershed is remarkable. The yellow ledges of the Western side are replaced by a broken rock landscape in which the railway twists its way up by important bends and sharp curves.  The rocks appear not seldom in fantastic forms. The vegetation leaves much to be desired both in the West and the East.

A short time later the train dashes over a sort of high prairie, a very wide flat valley; a mountain range on whose peaks lies much snow rises steeply. Half-wild cattle herds ran around on the prairie and the locomotive driver often had to use the steam whistle in order to chase the animals from the tracks. Numerous carcasses of dead pieces are bleaching on both sides of the tracks. As the territory is very rich in ores especially in gold, we saw a lot of mines around which settlements, called cities, were grouped among which Helena is the most important and the capital of Montana. Around this place that reminded me of Spokane are rich gold and silver deposits in quartz stone, besides copper, iron and lead. With considerable delay that is almost regular on American railways we arrived in Livingston where we passed the night in the wagon as no night trains were allowed to move on the smaller lines, so that one is forced to spend the night either in a hotel or in the sleeping car.

Links

  • Location: Livingston, Montana, United States
  • ANNO – on 20.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing Schiller’s tragedy „Die Räuber“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Carmen“.