Travel Diary: Chamonix, Villeneuve

July 24 Wednesday

Uncle Samuel staid here.  Left this morning at [].30 on the diligence for Chamonix and had a very pleasant drive to Sallanches where we had a very bad dinner all but the dessert which was good.  The cenery from here is very fine but the top of the diligence shuts off the view very much.  Just before we came to Sallanches we saw Mont Blanc.  Arrived at Chamonix about 5.30 and stopped at the Mont Blanc Hotel which we like very much.

July 25 Thursday

This morning is perfect and we started about nine oclock on mules with two gides to to the Mer de Glace.  Went up the side of a mountain for about two hours and a half until we got to Montanvert where there is a hotel and took lunch here and left the mules.  Then went down part way to the Mer de Glace we bought two pairs of socks and put them over our shoes and walked over it.  The suface looks smooth from above but when you get on it there are great crevices and little streams of water even down over the ice.  The [moraine] as they call it is the debris from the glacier and is rocks

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Mont Blanc, Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France, c. 1890-1900. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID ppmsc.06808

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Tourists crossing Sea of Ice, Chamonix, France, c. 1902-1904. Image courtesy of Zentralbibliothek Zurich.

We walked over it and climbed up the shore to a little hut where we rested and then started down the mountain.  After a rather bad walk we came to the Mauvais Pas.  A little while before we passed three beautiful waterfalls.  The Mauvais Pas is a pass cut in the rocks on the side of a precipice going down to the Mer de Glace and has steps cut in the rock and iron rail for people to hang on to.  After crossing it we arrived at the Chapeau where there is a little hut and then walked down the mountain a little farther and met the mules. Arrived at Chamonix about half past five.  Had beautiful views of Mont Blanc.

As in Grindelwald,  climate change has led to dramatic recession at Mer de Glace.  The Chapeau is now 150m (and counting) above the glacier, so no longer a convenient rest stop.   

July 26 Friday

Left this morning for Martigny by carriage over the Tete Noire Pass.  There are five glaciers near Chamonix and we passed three on the way.  The pass is very beautiful, you look down hundreds of feet from the road into the valley and see a little swift stream running over the rocks and mountains on the other side.  Stopped at Trieste to get dinner and rest the horses and before we left it began to rain and poured all the way to Martigny.  The road after leaving Trieste asands a mountain and then decends on the other side to Martigny.  The views are beautiful all the way down but we could not see much on account of the rain.  Arrived at Martigny a few minutes after our train had gone and staid and had dinner.  There is a Roman ruin here.  Left on the 6.40 train for [Villeneuve] where we spent the night at the Hotel Byron.

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Souvenir of Lake Geneva, Villeneuve and Hotel Byron, c. 1885. Courtesy of National Library of Switzerland.

Travel Diary: Switzerland

July 11 Thursday

On the way to Zurich and wrote this on the train.  Expect to arrive there at four oclock.

July 12 Friday

Bought some silk things this morning.  Taken with a very bad headace this afternoon.

July 13 — sick

July 14 — Getting better

July 15 — Went to Lecture this morning.  All right.  Went to see the lion of Lucerne it is carved on the face of the rock in commemoration of 760 soldiers and 26 officers.

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Lion of Lucerne, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. In honor of the Swiss Guards killed during the French Revolution in 1792. Photograph by Gurkan Myczko, 2009, released into Wikimedia Commons.

I saw the two old bridges one painted with the Dance of Death.

July 16 Tuesday

Went this morning on the lake as far as Vitsnaw where we took the cars and went up the Rigi.  The road is built very straight up the mountain.  The view from the Rigi Kulm is splendid and I counted elevenlakes and mamma tried to count the mountain peaks but there were too man.  Had dinner up there admired the view and then came down and took the boat back.  There were sheep feeding on the very edge of a precipice which looked as if they would fall off but they say that they do not.  Lucerne is a beautiful place and I like the lake very much.

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Vitznau, Railway, Rigi, Switzerland, c. 1890-1900. Image from Detroit Publishing Co., 1905. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID ppmsc.07335

July 17 Wednesday

Spent this morning looking around the town and this afternoon took a row with John.  Took a walk this evening.  Received a letter with the sad tidings of Uncle James death.

July 18 Thursday

Took the train this morning over the Bruning Pass.  Uncle Sam and John left us to go over the Rhone glacier and will meet us at Interlaken.  Had a lovely ride over the pass and the cenery is beautiful.  Took train as far as Brienz and there took boat on lake of Brienz to Giesbach Fall.  I liked that place very much.  The fall is beautiful and makes 7 cascades as it goes over.  Papa bought me an alpine staff and we walked up to the upper fall.  It was quite a climb and mamma went part way.  In the evening saw it lighted with colored lights.  It was very beautiful.

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Buch: “Luzern, Pilatus, Brunig-Route,” Cascade du Giessbach; Giessbachfall, Brienz. Image from Swiss National Library, nbdig-19122