Schlagwort-Archiv: December

At Sea to Steamer Point, 21 December 1892

Our national hymn, the Egyptian and the British anthem rang out from the afterdeck when we departed from the harbour at 8 o’clock in the morning and entered into the Suez Canal. The Northeast wind continued to blow; but the weather was fine and the thermometer showed 22° Celsius in the sun. The passage through the Canal does not offer beautiful impressions of the landscape but is interesting nevertheless because of its full desert character on both the African and Asiatic shores. On the right as well as on the left there is nothing but sand, glimmering yellow sand in which from time to time meagre grey-green bushes appear. On both sides a bare,  deserted plain continues seemingly without end, often the place of a treacherous Fata Morgana.

The first 20 kilometres one proceeds along Lake Menzaleh, separated only by a broad dam from the canal. Those who haven’t see it themselves will not be able to imagine the multitude of water foil that is milling around Lake Menzaleh during this time of the year: Thousands upon thousands of flamingos are standing immovable in the water, creating rose red walls; in between are flying large flocks of ducks and grebes while staid pelicans with imperturbable persistence watch for fish or fly lumberingly over the water. Most conspicuous are the huge number of sandpipers and plovers which appear, swift as an arrow flying from here to there, depending on the turns of their flights, as silvery glitters in the sun or as dark cloud and thus resemble a glittering silver band that flies in the sky.

Having reached the end of Lake Menzaleh, the ship continues at half speed between numerous buoys along the narrow Suez Canal, that modern wonder of the world created by human energy and endurance in a relatively short span of time. Every 10 kilometres, there are passing points and signal stations, small neat looking houses adorned with verandas and enclosed by little green gardens. Officials of the canal company are living there while guarding and policing the canal. Signals for the ships are hoisted on large masts. Large excavation machines are labouring assiduously during the whole year to keep the canal bed in order as the pressure from the bank and the drifting sands deposited from the desert verge to silting up. The natives carry the excavated earth with camels to a deposit farther away – and there are important restoration works going on without interruption which explains the rather high fees ships have to pay for passage. Our ship register was reduced by a fee of 13.000 francs.

The Suez Canal company offered the courtesy to considerably speed up our journey by ordering all approaching steamships by telegraph to moor at the passing points to let us pass. This will not have improved the moods of the captains of those ships, so that probably many a strong word escaped from the sailors’ mouth when we passed the impatiently waiting ships at full speed and disappeared out of their view. A large English steamship ran into ground while mooring and was working hard without success with his engine to free itself as long as we were watching.

In the evening, „SMS Elisabeth“ reached Ismailia where the pilot was switched only to continue the journey without interruption. Of Ismailia we only saw a few houses located on the bank and a little vegetation which supplied an agreeable contrast to the monotonous desert. The sun set in horizon colours typical for this place, dark saffron and crimson reds. The large electric projectors were activated and illuminated our route bright as daylight, so that one could distinguish every single buoy from a great distance. In the bitter lake we drove up on an English four mast ship and had to wait for the end of the small bitter lake until three steamships had moored at the next stop. I remained on deck until 11 ’o´clock in the evening as I found it interesting to notice the exchange of the different signals between the stations and the ships as well as observing the skilled pilot, a compatriot from Porto Rè, navigate the ship on its often tortuous course.


  • Location: Ismaïlia, Egypt
  • ANNO – on 21.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse laments that there are no public but only religious holidays in Austria. While the English commemorate Guy Fawkes Night, the French their revolution and the Italian their constitution day, Austria-Hungary does not do so due to its strange composition of its member states. Still, on 20 December 1892, Austria-Hungary commemorated the 25th anniversary of its new constitution.
  • The k.u.k. Hofoperntheater is performing Luigi Manzotti’s ballet Excelsior.

At Sea to Port Said, 19 December 1892

During the night the northeast wind had stiffened considerably. “Elisabeth” was rolling strongly, in the cabins, some of the during the day improperly fixated objects were performing a true witches’ dance.

When I came to the bridge at 6 o’clock in the morning, the officer of the watch reported that the sea had been stormy during the night. The rolling continued during the full morning even though the wind calmed down. 22 degree Celsius.

Today, no land was visible, for the first time we saw but sky and water during the whole day.


  • Location: at sea between Crete and Egypt
  • ANNO – on 19.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse mentions that the Emperor, Archduke Ferdinand of Tuscany, Archduke Leopold Salvator and Prince Louis of Bavaria spent Franz Ferdinand’s birthday on the train departing at 2.45 pm to a hunting retreat. They will return on the 21st December 1892.
  • Hunting is dangerous: The Neue Freie Presse notes that Baron Alphonse Rothschild has been hit in the eye by a piece of lead from the hunting rifle’s recoil on 18th December 1892 in France. A special private telegram from Paris informs that the eye is not fatally threatened. The doctors recommend 14 days‘ rest in bed to recover.
The Wiener Vivarium advertizes talking parrots and domesticated apes as Christmas presents.

The Wiener Vivarium advertises talking parrots and domesticated apes as Christmas presents.

At Sea to Port Said, 18 December 1892

Already while waking up, I noticed that the sea must be running high as rolling movements were felt strongly in the cabin. After having tediously dressed myself with the assistance of a marine servant, I went on deck where I met many a distraught face as Father Neptune demanded his first victims. A stiff breeze was coming from the North-East and wave upon wave crashed upon the deck. Otherwise the day was clear and the sky above us painted in an intense blue.

In the morning, the assigned meeting of the staff and the mass in the battery had to be canceled due to the strong rolling motions; only at noon, when we arrived near Crete, was the sea calming down. We changed our course slightly and navigated alongside the coast of Crete and between it and the island of Gavdos. Crete offers picturesque scenic sights. The peaks of Mount Ida at up to 2457m crowned the view, while steep rocky sides fall off towards the sea. The island seems to be almost as poor in vegetation as in human settlements, despite their numerous markings on the map. Only on a few prominent spots were visible small white buildings, apparently monasteries or churches. The snow on Mount Ida, reaching far down, the violet-red illumination of the mountains and the deep blue sky united into a powerful panorama.

After lunch, a raffle (tombola) for the crew was arranged as a Sunday distraction for which all the off-duty crews had assembled on the middle deck. Our good boatswain – the good old school type, with a certain animosity against all modern maritime fixtures – called out the numbers in the manner that he combined each number with an Italian joke word what caused much amusement. Wine, cigars and other trinkets served as prizes.

In the evening, a procession in honour of my birthday was organized by the sailors. The procession was very successful and amusing, attesting to the humour and imagination of our peoples. With the simplest means such as flax tow, grime, broken belts, fish hooks and so on, they managed to achieve the funniest effects. Behind the music band marched in first position an Italian choir that produced a number of well-tempered songs; then followed a Bohemian music band, dressed in various uniforms borrowed from the cadets, that played the known song „Nejde to“ in the most audacious modulations. At the same time, an animal tamer lead a large group of lions, apes, elephants and camels. The elephants were especially imaginatively constructed: a two-man team had covered themselves with a tarred gun cover and used the barrel protection as its trunk. A very uncanny beast with a moving mouth studded with teeth, a crossbreed between a marabou and a crocodile had been born in the shoemaker’s workshop. A Schrammel quartet filled the air with real Viennese melodies. In conclusion a magnificent chieftain led a horde of jet black Zulu kaffirs who shivered in the cold faced with the stiff north east breeze dressed only in their swimming trunks and a coat of grime. The savages carrying a banner with my name roared “hurrah” and danced lustily. Their lively movements warmed them somewhat up in their skimpy dress. As the music incidentally used the common rhythm of a jolly polka all the sailors were dancing pair-wise in rounds.

The easy gaiety of our sailors made a favourable impression. Given the severe even harsh and dangerous demands of the service, this can be seen as a proof of the physical and psychological sanity of the crew and also attributed to the good influence of a well-regulated military lifestyle. It is good to see how the members of the most diverse nationalities and countries share a common bond. Germans from Lower Austria, namely from Vienna, from Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria and from other countries, Slavs from Bohemia, the Croatian coast and from Dalmatia, Italians and Hungarians are fully intermingled. Notwithstanding the individual nationality, the polyglot crew feels to be joined together to form a part of the service under one proud and glorious flag. This nurtures and strengthens the awareness of the union of all nationalities under own ruling family and in one common fatherland – certainly an educational outcome of military service that can not be cultivated and promoted too carefully enough.


  • Location: Gavdos (Greece)
  • ANNO – on 18.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. This being Franz Ferdinand’s birthday, the newspapers naturally congratulated. The Wiener Salonblatt opened with a portrait of Franz Ferdinand and informed its readers about Franz Ferdinand’s departure from Trieste and announced his predicted arrival date at Port Said in Egypt on 20th December.
Title page of the Wiener Salonblatt with a portrait of Franz Ferdinand

Title page of the Wiener Salonblatt with a portrait of Franz Ferdinand as a Major General: Se. k. u. k. Hoheit der durchlauchtigste Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand von Österreich-Este

At Sea to Port Said, 17 December 1892

During the night, the strong Bora wind made the sea rise: the heavily rolling ship dislocated many objects that hit the walls. The noise made us get up at 3 o’clock in the morning.

The morning weather, however, turned out beautiful and the sea was calmer but still choppy from a North-eastern wind. At 8 o’clock, we had arrived alongside Corfu and saw the wonderful Albanian mountains in the distance. In the afternoon, we passed Kephalonia that had never played a historical role but still had its own moving history. Only a small canal was separating it from Ithaka, known to classicists. We could make out the distinct shape of Kephalonia despite the distance of several miles from the coast; later appeared Zante, the flower of the Levant.

The setting sun created colorful effects that reminded me of the southern sky on the stony mountains on whose flanks little hamlets with olive orchards and vineyards were situated. In the evening I was surprised by a premature birthday celebration. A tattoo was beat. The crew shouted „Hurrah“, an improvised firework started. Rocket upon rocket went up into the star spangled sky straight as an arrow, while signal lights illuminated the deck clear as day.


  • Location: Zakynthos (Greece)
  • ANNO – on 17.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse hotly discusses the government’s initiatives regarding certificates of proficiency (first introduced in 1883). In Paris, the Panama Canal Company scandal is in full force. Charles de Lesseps and his co-defendants were escorted to the Mazas prison on the evening of 16 December 1892. Ferdinand de Lesseps, staying at Le Chesnay Palace, will stay at liberty, for the moment. It is announced that Vienna’s first grand Hofburg ball will take place on 9 January 1893.
  • Vienna’s K. und k. Hof-Burgtheater offered a comedy “Gönnerschaften” (Patronages). The K. und k. Hof-Operntheater played the comic opera “Gute Nacht, Herr Pantalon”.

At Sea to Port Said, 16 December 1892

We were greeted by a wonderful day and a completely quiet sea. The stronger force of the sun was already noticeable. In the morning we viewed the landside mountains with Monte Movar at Rogoznica: around 9 o’clock we were passing between Lissa and Busi and saw the little island of Pelagosa in the distance: a few hours later the high mountains of Bocche di Cattaro appeared.

Barely visible with the eyes, a sailing warship appeared on the horizon which we thought might be one of our winter squadron, either “Nautilus” or “Albatros”.

In the morning a battle stations exercise was completed for all hands. The guns were also maneuvered. Exercises our navy completed with its own special precision. During the journey the Italian coast became visible above the tender blueish contours of the sea. After a wonderful sunset we were regaled by a clear starry sky, a spectacle we enjoyed to the fullest on the afterdeck to the music of our felicitous band.


  • Location: Lissa (now: Vis, Croatia)
  • ANNO – on 16.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse informs its readers about the riches of fertile Africa. A German expedition of 120 persons marched 3000 kilometers from Cameroon to Chad. It also notes that Maria Antonia, widowed Grand Duchess of Tuscany, arrived from Gmunden for her winter stay in Abbazia. Meanwhile, 360 persons of Steyr, on their own will as duly remarked by the paper, departed to Genoa for their emigration to Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Emigration fever is spreading.
  • Vienna’s K.k. Burgtheater offered a comedy by Gustav Freytag, „Die Journalisten“ (The Journalists). The K.k. Hof-Operntheater played Giuseppe Verdi’s „Un ballo in maschera“ (Ein Maskenball).

Trieste – At Sea to Port Said, 15 December 1892

Vienna’s sea of houses disappear on the horizon: a last salute to the beautiful city – only after a long journey around the earth will I see her again! My parents, my younger sisters, Otto and my sister-in-law accompanied me to Trieste. On 14th December we arrived there in the evening. Just after my arrival, I embarked upon the ram cruiser “Elisabeth” where I was welcomed on board by its commander, Captain of the Line v. Becker and his staff. Not far from “Elisabeth” lay moored “Greif”. My parents and my sisters passed the night on board of that ship.

Today in the morning my family – Ferdinand had also arrived – came on board of “Elisabeth” to while away the last hours before my departure.  After the belated arrival of Admiral Baron Sterneck and finally of Count and Countess Thun as well as Prince Starhemberg a thorough visit of the ship in all its parts and all its equipment for the long voyage was undertaken. The batteries, the torpedo installations, the colossal machines of 9000 horse powers, the giant 24 cm tower guns, the officers’ mess as well as the magazines with the munitions and supply depots were duly admired.

The last hours together with my family passed away all too quickly and now it was time to separate! To the salute of the guns and cries of “Hurrah” I accompanied my parents and siblings back on board of “Greif”, took my leave with a heavy heart and returned to “Elisabeth”.

At 2 o’clock the ship was unmoored; the anthem was sung, a hundred times the officers and sailors shouted “Hurrah”  – majestically, “Elisabeth” went into action. We drove past “Greif” and two Lloyd steamships “Arciduchessa Carlotta” and „Danubio“ packed tightly with ladies, officers and gentlemen. On all ships, the people’s hymn rang out; kerchiefs, caps and hats were swung as greetings. In a plethora of languages they shouted to us “Farewell” and “happy voyage” which were answered with “Hurrahs” and a flag salute. It was a touching moment!

The tender ship „Büffel“, the two Lloyd steamboats and „Greif“ went along with us. Our two ship bands added patriotic color to the air of departure – the sounds of the Radetzky march and Prince Eugene march, the glorious “O you my Austria” (O, du mein Österreich) were drifting across the sea. Home seemed to want to imprint itself as a beautiful image into my memory, as the sun was beaming out of a clear sky, reflected in the deep blue fair Adria and from afar, the snow covered mountains were offering their salutes with their glistering peaks.

But the separation has to happen at last! A few miles out of Trieste, level with Piran, “Greif” signaled on the mast top “Good journey, good bye and good hunting”, then it turned about sharply to starboard; a final salute from the bridge and we were on our own on a southern course into space. For a long time, I was observing “Greif”. The distance kept growing, the homeward bound ship grew smaller and smaller till it was but a point swimming on the horizon where the blue sky and the water seemed to flow together. Then it disappeared from my view. In my thoughts a feeling of eternal longing for my home and my dearest welled up, it was homesickness which I didn’t know before. Just a moment ago, it was wanderlust that had capture me with all its magic and now, only a few moments after the separation from my country, my parents and my siblings, it was homesickness that constant fellow of the home centered traveler which appeared unexpectedly out of the thought that I would be living abroad for a year.

Never did I experience the power more strongly that a nation can hold over its sons than when I was leaving it behind with every second.  The thought comforted me that distance does not equal separation. Hope about a fortuitous return home was building a bridge to a joyful reunion.

Willingly, I humored my mood and lost myself in the thoughts that had triggered it for a few moments. Then I banned them. It was expedient for everyone to make one’s stay on this floating piece of home as comfortable as possible. In the cabins, photographs and pictures were hanged, the books of the large travel library sorted, weapons unpacked and checked. Soon the work was completed and I went again on deck. The well-known coast of Istria with its spare rocks and the nice white hamlets was passing by: from afar, the peaks of Monte Maggiore were glistening. A glorious sunset completed the day. In the evening, we met in the lunch room, and the approaching night met us writing the first letters home.


  • Location: Trieste (Italy).
  • ANNO – on 15.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers: The morning edition of the Neue Freie Presse opens with a report on the German Reichstag discussing contentious military issues. In Vienna, too budgets are discussed in parliament.
  • Vienna’s K.k. Burgtheater announced Ludwig Fulda’s new play „Das verlorene Paradies“ (Lost Paradise), while the K.k. Hof-Operntheater played Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.
Scharf's diamond imitations, of world renown. Christmas presents for travelers by Herman Waizner, 1. Vienna.

Scharf’s diamond imitations, of world renown. Christmas presents for travelers by Herman Waizner, 1. Vienna.

At Sea to Colombo, 31 December 1892

The wind blew fresh from Northeast and cooled the temperature down a bit. A large number of flying fish swarmed around our fore, often covering considerable distances to do so. Multiple gannets flew by quickly.

To the New Year’s Eve party, I had invited all staff of the ship. Again, an improvised game of luck on the aft had to be at the center of the party in which the most incredible objects served as prizes. Hilarity and humor covered a lot of defects, especially the tropical warmth of the champagne. The ice reserve on board was totally depleted and replenishment had not been possible, as on the one hand our ship’s cook found that all reserves of ice in Aden were sold out and on the other hand our ice making machine had broken down in Steamer Point and had not been repaired yet. So instead of cool drinks, a warmed up brew had to be served, namely punch made for us by our chief medical officer.

After the ship’s clock had announced the twelfth hour and the New Year shot fired, we welcomed the new year first with the people’s hymn and then to the sound of the Radetzky march with a shout of three times Hipp Hipp Hurra, which all men joined in too.

The good old moon and the nearly cloudless starry sky illuminated the scene on deck. All congratulated one another most cordially, and again many new year greetings filled the air while many intense thoughts were sent through the silent night towards home.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 31.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse presents a recap of the scandals in France under the title „The republic of talkers“. There are still cases of cholera being reported in major European cities.

At Sea to Colombo, 30 December 1892

In the morning, we catch sight of the island Socotra and pass it at noon about 15 miles north from the east end of the island. The view of the island reminds me of the coastal region of the Red Sea. Noticeable are only the snow-white sand moraines that almost look like glaciers from a distance. This island, 7,770 km2 large with around 4,000 inhabitants, has been ruled by the sultan of Qishn. England entered into a subsidies treaty with it in 1876 and then turned it in 1886 a treaty into a British protectorate. Socotra has once been offered to our government for sale. But I think such a purchase would not have been a good investment, as one can see no vegetation apart from a few coconut palms and only as a coaling station and a prisoner colony could it have had any meaning for us.

The impressive sunset was followed by an enchanting night. It was balm for the soul to breathe in the fresh Monsoon on the bridge.


  • Location: near Socotra, in the Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 30.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse informs about the approaching date next month of the wedding in Berlin of Princess Margarethe, the youngest sister of the German Kaiser. It also lists the prominent deceased of the year, separated into categories of nobles, priests, officers, diplomats and ministers, scientists, professionals (civil servants, teachers, doctors and lawyers), poets/writers/journalists, theater/music, painters/sculptors/architects, and technicians/manufacturers/merchants.

At Sea to Colombo, 29 December 1892

Against head wind we kept the same Eastward course. Two sperm whales were observed.

Up to now, we could allocate only a few hours to study travel literature. Today was given almost entirely over to this useful activity. As quickly as we are getting closer to countries afar which are on our itinerary we are eager to prepare appropriately and educate ourselves.

In the travel library, there was no lack of choice among the rich variety of books even though its composition had to take the restricted cabin space into consideration. Besides publications, rich in scientific spirit, that serve the traveller as sources are handbooks essential for tourists as well as works that successfully combine a captivating style with scientific content about the countries and peoples. Finally, there is light reading in the genre of travel literature that are sometimes glossy and feuilletonistic in its accounts. Maps and plans of all kind complete the literary inventory.

Many of these listed books I have already studied at home, almost in a presentiment of my future activities. In the same measure I owe instruction and pleasure to Sievers’ „Asien“, to Reclus’ „Nouvelle Géographie Universelle“, to the highly interesting and sumptuously illustrated work of Schlagintweit’s „Indien“, to the reports published on order of our naval section, in part edited by Benko, and not appreciated enough, of the travels of our various warships („Nautilus“, „Aurora“, „Albatros“, „Saida“, „Frundsberg“), Lehnert’s et al. „Seehäfen des Weltverkehrs“ — a work of a relatively voluminous nature that treats a wealth of material in a most felicitous manner, Jedina’s »An Asiens Küsten und Fürstenhöfen «, Hübner’s „Promenade Autour Du Monde„, Mantegazza’s „Indien„, Wereschagin’s „Reiseskizzen aus Indien„, Schulze’s „Führer auf Java“, Jung’s „Der Weltteil Australien„, Wallace’s „Der Malayische Archipel„, Forbes‚ „Wanderungen eines Naturforschers im Malayischen Archipel“, Chalmers’ »Neu-Guinea«, Finsch‘ „Ethnologische Erfahrungen aus der Südsee„, Katscher’s „Chinesisches Leben„, Exner’s „China“ und „Japan“, Hein’s „Japan“, Kreitner’s „Im fernen Osten“, Buchner’s „Reise durch den stillen Ocean“ and other highly deserving works to numerous to mention all.

After dinner all met on the bridge to enjoy the passing away of the wonderful evening.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 29.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse offers a tribute to Thomas Cook, pioneer of tourism, who passed away that year on 18 July 1892.

At Sea to Colombo, 28 December 1892

Fierce shots whose echo resounded from the valleys of Shamsani woke us up in the morning. These were the salvoes of the battery of the English fortress that exercised shooting at moving targets out in the sea.

Again, a small market developed at our gangway, then our consulary agent bid farewell and we hoisted anchor and exited the harbour with a course towards the East.

The day is beautiful, a small blast of rain brings refreshment, even though the heat no longer feels as oppressive as in the Red Sea. Only the cabins remain steam baths, with the thermometer seldom sinking below 30° Celsius. Some steam boats are passed and a large school of fish observed.

One of the two goat kids we took on board in Aden and named Max and Moritz, namely Max, a most lovely animal, jumped over board in a suicidal manner and must have soon become the prey of a shark. Moritz got over the loss of his comrade quickly and gaily jumped around the cabins, nibbling zwieback, cigarettes and sugar.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 28.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Pester Lloyd is concerned about Russian declarations about developing their Danube trade. Hitherto, the Russians, based in Odessa, were not interested in the Danube trade. Their vehicle, the Black Sea Danube corporation, is commercially ailing and can only sustain itself with government subsidies. Currently, a new round of financial assistance is discussed in St. Petersburg.
  • A telegram informs that the Emperor arrived in Wels on 27 December on his way back from Munich. On the same day, the Japanese prime minister was caught in a traffic accident by colliding with a car of princess Komatsu’s convoy. The prime minister was gravely injured in the temples.
  • Courses are offered in an ad for amateur photographers to better take pictures with their new camera. Nothing will stand in the way of a Victorian selfie.
Photography instructions for amateurs offered

Photography instructions for amateurs offered