Fourteen Months Abroad – Botzen, Austria

October 10.—We left Innsbruck yesterday in haste at 10:28, reaching this city at 2:30 in the afternoon. Hotel Kaiserhof did her best to keep us, but we were determined to leave, as we felt sure the day would be fine. I knocked on the window to let the Portier know that we wished to go. He was putting the horses in the stable. He said, “O you will go.” We were too late to get our trunks registered, but got off “by the skin of our teeth.” We were glad that we did, as we had a glorious day—a day we shall always remember. Our ride over the Brenner Pass from Innsbruck to Botzen was magnificent. The highest point in this Pass is at Brenner—4,485 feet above the sea level. This wonderful rail-way, with its fourteen or more tunnels, was opened in 1867.

From 1772 there has been a carriage way, which we saw much of the time. We could often look back and see the tunnels. Soldiers were drilling on the banks of the green river, but we could hardly look at anything but the mountains. How grand and majestic they were ! The clouds and snow added to their grandeur. After enjoying it all by ourselves for a while, I rushing from one side of the car to the other, fearing that I should lose some fine view, a lady and gentleman came into our apartment. We soon found that they could speak English and were intelligent, cultivated people, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Gutcher, both artists. They were born in Austria, but had been in England and in many other countries. They were perfectly willing to let me change from side to side and seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm. Oh, those gorges and deep ravines with the green river running through ! The cascades were beautiful—some of them starting from the very tops of the mountains ! We looked down into the ravines and then up at the distant mountains—some of them a mile or more high, and standing out like great domes against the sky. Some of the peaks were wholly white. Often there was one white peak, and the others around it and somewhat nearer not all white, but green with a little snow. Evergreens were on the sides of some of the mountains. A river the color of Niagara was full of white foam. Many little peaks were together in some places. Icicles were hanging from different points as we passed along. There were a number of castles, a convent, a church on the top of a lower mountain and vineyards and houses on the sides of mountains part way up or quite near the tops of the lower ones. Some of the mountains were all rocks with nothing green on them. On the roofs of the common houses stones were placed at regular or irregular intervals to prevent the high winds from blowing off the roofs of the houses .

We have been to walk about Botzen, but chiefly to see the grand mountains that surround us. From our window we have a view of them.

We should have been glad to remain longer in Innsbruck if our hotel had been pleasant and we had felt sure that we should not lose the fine weather. We were tired and needed rest, both of us, but could not run the risk of losing the the mountain views. They tell us here that they rarely have such clear air. At the close of the day the clouds had wholly passed away. As we crossed the street from the station to the hotel we had perhaps the most glorious view of all. On our right in the distance were the Dolomites. The sun was setting and oh how beautiful those bare, ragged, rose colored summits were. Some of these huge pillars of rocks appear like immense trees, and when illuminated by the setting sun a more exquisite picture can hardly be imagined ! The name Rosengarten is given to these summits. Botzen is another Austrian city among the Tyrolese Alps. We are spending the Sabbath here. Have seen but little of the town.