Travel Letters: Ischi, Austria (1870)

DEAR FATHER, — You have written me twice, and well deserve that this Sunday’s letter should go to you. This Ischl is the great watering-place of Austria. Here the Emperor has his summer palace, and the great Vienna swells come hither to be under the shadow of his magnificence. Of course we Americans come, too, to see the fun. Besides this, it is one of the most beautiful spots on the face of the earth. It is at the junction of five of the most lovely wild Tyrolese valleys, and is a pretty little open piece of plain with two bright streams running through it.

We were at Andermatt last Sunday. We crossed the Oberalp on Monday, a long day’s ride to Coire. There we spent a day, making a visit to the famous baths of Pfaffers. From Coire we went by the lake of Constance and by rail to a quiet little Bavarian town, called Kempten. Here we heard what we had rumors of before, that the great Ober-Ammergau Passion Play was given up on account of the war, several of the principal characters having been drafted into the Bavarian army. This was a disappointment, for it was one of the great things which I had hoped to see in coming abroad. On Thursday we pushed on to Munich. Friday morning I saw at Munich a great mass in the cathedral on behalf of the German side of the war. The King and all his court were present. Bavaria seems very enthusiastic on the German side. From Munich on Friday afternoon to Salzburg, the most picturesque of towns, where I had been five years ago, but was very glad to be again. Yesterday the loveliest ride, first by rail to the head of the Traun See ; then a beautiful sail down the lake, and a ride of two hours up the valley of the Traun River to Austria, and here we are.

The preparations for war go on. They interfere with us only so far as money is concerned. At Munich we had to lose eight per cent. on a draft on Paris. We have had no disappointment yet, except Ober-Ammergau. The Masons are here. I saw the Morrills at Munich. Your letters received up to July 9th. Now we go out of reach of letters for several weeks. I am very well. Love to all.

Affectionately,

PHILL.