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A WINTER'S JOURNEY Part 4
Nov 28, '21
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A WINTER'S JOURNEY Part 4

VLISSHOVEN - MUSIC .

The country spreads out here into a flat, apparently subject to the overflow of the Danube ; for, during the first two stages of the night, we bowled along a sort of dam that led across a swamp on either side : but it was dark, so that neither of this nor of the city itself can I say anything further, than that I got a capital dinner at the latter, and believe it on all accounts worth seeing.





Vilshofen an der Donau

Vilshofen an der Donau is a town in the German district of Passau.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilshofen_an_der_Donau

As morning broke, after passing some heavy sandy road,I was awoke--at Vlisshoven, I think- by the music of the matin service, issuing from a large church close to which we were changing horses. A choir of the sweetest voices broke forth with a full sweep of the organ, just like that delightful strain in the “ Freyschutz ” which rises from the cathedral on poor Casper when he seeks in vain to free him self from the clutches of his persecutor Zamiel. We then began once more to ascend, among hills covered with deep pine forests,interspersed with cultivation and villages.




Der Freischütz

Der Freischütz (J. 277, Op. 77 The Marksman or The Freeshooter) is a German opera with spoken dialogue in three acts by Carl Maria von Weber with a libretto by Friedrich Kind, based on a story by Johann August Apel and Friedrich Laun from their 1811 collection Gespensterbuch. It premiered on 18 June 1821 at the Schauspielhaus Berlin. It is considered the first German Romantic opera.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Freischütz

Whether the country be as populous in the interior as it appears to be in the line of the great road, I cannot say ; if so, it must be both rich and well cultivated indeed : but the few crossroads that are seen leading from the great ones might lead to a doubt on that subject; and I may remark that notwithstanding the symptoms of dense population which Bavaria certainly exhibits, I never saw many people either in the fields or in the villages. I can not help observing, too, in passing, that the transition from Prussia into Bavaria was by no means calculated to impress a traveller with favourable notions of the latter. In the former, as well as in Belgium , the peasantry were civil, even polite ; no one passed you without a salute of some sort : in the latter, no such thing was thought of.




BAVARIAN ROADS.

I have already stated the contrast in regard to the face of the country ; and that between the roads in each respectively is not less strong. The roads in Bavaria I found execrable, the posting little better ; the horses poor ; the postilions sulky sullen boors, who seem incapable of returning a civil answer to either question or remonstrance, however gently put. Whatever be the necessity of the case, or the measure of payment given them , they cannot be got to increase their speed, which seldom exceeds six miles an hour, and the smallest hill is the signal for diminishing that to a snail's pace. The horses seem to know this well, for no sooner do they reach the slightest rise than they come to a stand-still: scolding, entreaty, remonstrance, bribery, are alike use less; until you reach the top, there is no acceleration.

As we advanced through the wooded country beyond Ratisbon towards the Austrian frontiers, we found the character of the houses change, and assume that I of the Swiss cottage. I have seen similar buildings, too, on the rivers of Demerara, Berbice, and Surinam, built principally of wood, framed, and the interstices filled with bricks, or boarded and clap boarded, with far-projecting roofs, and balconies around. At one of these, in the village of Furtzunzel, I breakfasted, and experienced a laughable specimen of the inconveniences to which a total want of language exposes a traveller.




Fürstenzell

Fürstenzell (Central Bavarian: Fiaschtnzei) is a municipality in the district of Passau in Bavaria in Germany. Fürstenzell is the birthplace of former Bayern Munich defender Klaus Augenthaler.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fürstenzell

RIDICULOUS DILEMMA.

In asking what they could give me to eat, I made out coffee and bread and butter well enough ; but it came into my head to long for eggs, and I utterly failed in making myself understood. The pretty little hostess ran to everything in the house and brought it me, in hopes it might prove to be the article required; the cheese, the brandy-bottle, and drams of every kind were brought and rejected, and I heartily repented of my imprudent attempt, and would have recalled the order; but this their hospitable kindness would not consent to, so they persevered in their efforts until the whole house was in a sad commotion. I then resumed my efforts; went to the window to see whether there might not be a hen in view : luckily there was not, - luckily I say, for I am persuaded, such was their zeal and their want of apprehension, that the poor thing's neck would have been twisted before I could interfere. All was in vain, and my pretty Bavarian at length threw up her hands in despair, while casting a glance of ludicrous perplexity at me, and while the shouts of laughter, which the failure of every attempt produced from all hands, were reiterated.

At length a happy idea struck one of the men ; he uttered the magical word, which was. re-echoed from half-a-dozen mouths with another burst of laughter at their own stupidity, and, in a moment, as many of the articles in question, fair and fresh, were produced from a cupboard in the same room: I need not add that they were as quickly disposed of.




AUSTRIA.

The progress of a few hours, through tracts of natural forest of larch, spruce, and Scotch fir, among which, however, there was a remarkable scarcity of even tolerably-sized timber, brought us to the summit and elevation, from whence we were greeted by a prospect which in fine weather must be enchanting, and even at this inclement season, and dull as the sky was, appeared in delightful contrast to the dreary and sombre country through which we had passed. It was abroad valley of undulating ground, all richly varied with grove and copse, and farm and field, and bounded by hills of a similar character.

Imagination could not have given a more perfect picture of rural beauty. I do believe there were twenty fine villages in view, each clustered in old trees, from among which rose its picturesque spire; a noble river wound through the whole extent, giving a tone of majesty to a landscape which without it might have been only sweet and lovely. It was English, true English, all but the great river, beyond the size of most British streams, and the fortified town that frowned upon its banks. All else spoke of calmness and tranquillity, and agricultural riches; but the barriers and fortifications told an other tale: they spoke of Germany and war,and Austria it was,- fair Austria, tranquil and happy inspite of the despotism that characterizes her patriarchal government. This fortification was Schaerding, the frontier town in this quarter between her and Bavaria; and the river was the Inn, hastening in flood to swell the Danube. The dark-blue colours of Prussia,and the light-blue of Bavaria, had given way to the black and yellow of Austria ; and the Imperial eagle, with its double gaze of watchfulness, frowned from above the wooden bridge by which we crossed the stream .




Schärding

Schärding is a town in northern Austrian state of Upper Austria, the capital of the district of the same name, and a major port on the Inn River. Historically, it was owned by the Wittelsbach family, which reflects in the town's architecture.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schärding

AUSTRIAN CUSTOM-HOUSE.

At the further entrance of this bridge there is a shed under which you pass, and where a partial examination of all carts and waggons takes place. We were asked here, who we were?— but the tender of a couple of florins settled the matter.

We crossed the bridge, and I was congratulating myself upon the very great facility with which our transit from one State to another had been effected, when , after passing the gate which leads into the town, I was hailed by a person in the Austrian military garb, who sternly ordered us to stop. The door was unceremoniously opened, and the same person, joined by another, commanded me, with very significant gestures, to alight. Having done so,I was marshalled, much like a delinquent, into a very mean looking office, where sat half a dozen commissaires, all in military costume : this was the Austrian Custom-house, and these were its clerks. My passport was then demanded by a person in plain clothes, who came out of an inner apartment, and who, leading me to a paper posted against the wall, sternly desired me to “ read that.” It was the rules of the Austrian Customs relative to travellers, written in German , French , and Italian ; and severe enough they are. They call upon you to declare all you have got, with certain provisions in case you have anything contraband; and informing you, that after so declaring, your packages shall be all opened and searched, when, should anything contraband or contrary to your declaration be found, the Custom house has the option, in the first case,of insisting on their being returned beyond the frontier, or of passing them on payment of an arbitrary duty; or, in the second, of seizing them altogether as forfeit. In fact, one might imagine the declaration was in tended expressly to entrap travellers into some false hood which may involve the forfeiture of their

goods. Whatever may be the origin of this rule, or whatever doubts may be entertained as to its expediency, moral or political, I must say, that in my own case it was a Brutum fulmen; for the stern commencement terminated in taking my word for there being nothing in the carriage besides my despatches and baggage,—that is, nothing for sale, not anything, to my knowledge, contraband. A certificate of full and sufficient search was then handed to me, along with my passport, the former of which was to protect me from further molestation all the way to Vienna, and for this I paid three kreutzers; nothing more was demanded or received.

I gave, indeed, a florin to the man who shut the door of the carriage after me, and who looked hungry, and away I drove. What portion of this lenity may have been produced by my courier's passport, I know not; but this I know, that in no place did I meet with more real civility, or so much despatch in the matter of custom-house business.




DANUBE.--LINTZ.







For three stages, I think,— at all events, to near Lintz,— the same beautiful scenery as that surrounding Schaerding gratified the eye;- swelling lawns, undulating hills, and valleys, varied with coppice, inclosure, fields and villages, in a manner that would have defied the best landscape-gardener to improve, and cultivation which, whether perfect or not in the eye of a farmer, was at least most pleasing to that of the traveller. Near Bayerbach the hills increased in elevation, and produced upon our rate

of progress a sedative effect, which their beauty scarcely compensated; for the Austrian postilions labour under the same innate vis inertiæ as the Bavarians, and the smallest hill arrested our speed in a manner truly provoking. I was sorry to be deprived by darkness of all view of our approach to Lintz on the Danube, into the bed of which river the road sank suddenly, and proceeded for a considerable way. That glen is here narrowed to the bare course of the stream by the rocks which form its banks, and the scenery by daylight must be fine.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linz


For several miles these rocks, though not of great height, are bold and imposing, and crested with spruce and fir; and at their base, and on the very margin of the river, on either side are numerous cottages and rows of houses, the lights of which glanced cheerily as we passed, and trembled in long lines of reflected brilliancy upon the water. Of Lintz itself I can say nothing, as I passed through it about ten at night, merely refreshing myself with a morsel of dinner; but it seemed to be a fine old German town, with a large place.

The country between Lintz and Amstettin is very hilly, as I discovered by the frequent stops to pull off and on the drag ; but continued watchfulness had at length terminated in most inveterate drowsiness; the roads were better,the postilions more careful, anxiety consequently was diminished, and I awoke in the morning in the street of Amstettin, scarcely knowing how I had got there.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amstetten,_Lower_Austria








MÖELK

It was now an object to reach Vienna that night, if possible,in time sufficient to take measures for the prosecution of my journey with all despatch; so paying the postilions well, I breakfasted at Kemmelbach, served by a pretty girl, who spoke French with a Dutchified accent, and passed through Möelk, viewing with regret its splendid monastery. But let me say one word more regarding this extraordinary building,which deserves a volume. I have seldom seen anything more imposing. It is a religious edifice, built upon a rocky promontory, that juts into the Danube, and which it covers with an immense extent of towers,domes,and walls; not

in the style of a fortification,for it is not fortified; but in that rather of a palace, for again it is too gorgeous for a mere monastery. Without a drawing I can give you no idea of its magnificence; but I think if the inside in any degree corresponds with its external appearance,that it is an object of itself worth coming all the way to Vienna to see.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melk


From this point the country becomes more open and less beautiful, but still richly cultivated, and studded thickly with houses, villages, and towns, which from their white walls have a cheerful effect.

At Burkersdorf we ascended a long hill, one of that range which forms the highlands of Austria and Styria, and at the foot ofwhich lies the plain of Vienna, opening into, or rather continuous with the great steppes of Hungary.





VIENNA.

I hoped from the summit of this hill to get a view of the Austrian capital, but darkness overtook us ere we got there; and what with bad roads and wearied horses, it was ten o'clock at night ere the lamps in the streets gave me notice that I had entered it. Arrived at

the ”Römischer Kaiser,” my quarters on a former occasion, I had little disposition to do more than unload my carriage, deliver iny despatches, and get as fast as I could to the first bed I had entered for

eight days and a half, for so long had it been since I left London.

On having my carriage inspected the next day, I found that the needful repairs and alterations would occupy nearly three days ; and as some further arrangements were necessary before commencing the second part of my journey through Hungary, I was forced to submit to a delay, which, however pleasant my quarters, was, under all circumstances, very tantallizing.

Yet, assuredly, this far famed capital was not without its attractions to me. I remembered well the happy period I had once spent here, and I was not ill disposed to traverse once more and renew my acquaintance with the scenes of former pleasures: accordingly, procuring a la quais de place to assist me in my purchases, and as a guide, I sallied forth in a delightful frosty morning to roam about the city. And I was not altogether disappointed; memory had not quite failed me ; and although full twelve years had passed, I did recognise many familiar objects. Yes, it was Vienna; the same splendid iinperial Vienna I had formerly known so well; gorgeous in equipage and costume ; intoxicating with its pleasures, but grand and imposing in its very mirth;-— like a luscious peach, all melting richness and beauty without, but bearing in its heart a core of bitter policy— of astute and stern diplomacy- a drop of worse than Prussic acid, poisonous and noxious to all but those whose privileged heads and practised stomachs are capable of digesting the potent dose.

It was pleasant to retrace the very spots where interesting incidents had occurred at a time of life when all was viewed through a gayer medium than now perhaps: but it was a pleasure not unalloyed; for many of those with whom I had been formerly familiar were no longer there to gladden the scene; and even in some of those who remained, the lapse of years had effected a melancholy change.

I did, however, meet with one or two old friends, who welcomed me cordially; and the excellent “spectacle” and opera lent its aid to wile away an hour that might have been tedious : so that in point of amusement and comfort, at least, I had no cause to regret the three days I spent at Vienna.

This evening, please God, I leave this pleasant capital, so I must send off my letter; my next will probably be from Semlin, the frontier town of Hungary, opposed to Belgrade of Turkey, and,

as it may be reckoned, the boundary in that quarter of the civilised world .






https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8GFvzxLq4Y

Xxxx

Nov 28, '21
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