European Journal of Charles K. Landis

Founder of Vineland

August 23, 1874.

Left Schulderbach, Sunday, at 8 o'clock in the morning in company with Mrs. Grohman and son for Innspruck. Had a fine drive by the mountains to the Railroad and station at Neiderdorf where we took tickets for Innspruck, with the intention of getting out at Muhlbach to visit the old castle of Rotteneck. The weather was beautiful. On the way, young Grohman decided to get out and strike across the mountains, glaciers, and all direct for Matzen. He got out at Brunecken to take up with his very hard road. Jordan is said to be a hard road to travel, but I venture to say it is nothing in comparison to this one. Mrs. Grohman and myself left the train at Muhlbach. Here we dined at a very nice hotel. A number of tourists were stopping at the house. Mrs. Grohman explained to me how the man had succeeded in gaining a large patronage by seeing to things himself and having them good. After dinner we decided to walk to the old castle of Rotteneck at the distance of an hour and a half. On the lady's account, I tried to get a carriage, but was informed that the roads were too rough. Our walk to the place was over streams and high hills. At every turn we met the pretty houses of peasants, and many peasant girls were walking on the road, it being Sunday. The women wore immese black woolen hats, shaped like a cone. Mrs. Grohman requested one of the peasant girls to remove her hat, and we felt the weight of it. Five pounds at least. The dress, otherwise, was good, blue, red and white, blue stockings. Passing by several large crosses with crucified Christ upon them, and churches, and enjoying fine views of the village of Muhlbach hundreds of feet at our feet and the valley stretching away off, we came to the old castle. A huge and imposing affair. Some of it in crumbling ruin, and a portion in preservation. The warder, guard, and garrison, now consisted of a single peasant woman, who appeared overjoyed to see us. We visited the different rooms, and these exhibited the family ruin. Old pictures in profusion, looking down from the walls upon rooms from which the family had all departed, leaving scarcely a vestige of furniture. This family was one of the oldest and most powerful in the Tyrol. The escutcheons and nanies upon the walls embraced the proudest in Europe. This branch of it has been reduced by misfortune or extravagance, and now even the old castle, the family pictures and old remnants of things are to be sold. How they can have the souls to sell pictures of their ancestors, I cannot understand. The heirs, however, are two boys at school, and this may be done by their guardians. We saw an old picture of the castle as it was centuries ago, and it was very grand. The castle itself was twice as large. The garden, surrounded by castellated walls, was laid out in French style, and filled with marble statuary. It is sad to think of the brilliant assemblages, the steel clad knights, who have ridden on horseback, the lovely women who have filled these halls and gardens with life and gayety, who like brilliant moths, should have passed away and left nothing but this ruin. We went in to the garden, now a grass plot, and walked around the walls. The views are in keeping with the old castle, on the sombre, grand and solemn order, excepting that of the valley and the village in the distance. Back of the castle and hundreds of feet below it. down a precipice rushes a mad torrent cutting the hills and rocks into deep and dark gorges. On all of this side, the view is grand and solemn. We explored the whole place, and rested upon a green spot where there used to be a moat. Mrs. Grohman informed me that this was the third time she had been to this old castle, that she had visited over a hundred and never tired, on account of their associations, beautiful situations, and things that she saw in them. She has the heart of a true poet. After resting, we left, and on the way out met three monks and three priests coming in, making quite a little procession. They were evidently visiting the place with some friends. We stopped at the little Inn at the village of the castle (there is quite a village there) and had.a bottle of wine and some bread. The cost was equivalent to about 10 cents only, in our currency. On the way home we had a lovely walk, getting views from new directions. We met many peasants, and they would say, "God greet you, don't hurry," and Mrs. Grohman would reply, "Thank you kindly." This is the civility of the country. How beautiful! In this country even the peasants show the refinement and taste of an old civilization. On the road, Mrs. Grohman related to me the story of Clythia and Appollo, also the beautiful story of the centaur, who after being frozen in an iceburg for 3 thousand years, revisited the world and his troubles. I related to her the story of Atlantis—the race, the sacrifice of Venus in a temple by the sea and her gift of the apples of gold. Our walk ended at the hotel, where we took a carriage for the railroad station of Franzenf este. A drive of about one and a half hours. The sun was now setting, and the moon soon rose over the mountains, crowning them with silver light and making the chasms and valleys of the mountains intensely dark. Our team was a pretty Tyrolese rig. The horse had a high pointed collar and was driven at the side of the pole, our driver was dressed in peasant costume with a flower in his hat, and a green band around it. As we swept around the mountains, through the shadows, out into the moonlight and along the roaring and silver lighted torrent, I could not but think somtimes that it was a different world from that of the day. We arrived at the station, took the cars and again crossed the Alps by the Brenner pass. The scenery this time was quite as interesting as the last, on account of the moonlight. We arrived at the hotel in Innspruck after 12 o'clock, and each went to our rooms.

Innspruck, August 24.

Mrs. Grohman left her room a little before 9 o'clock. We met and breakfasted together. We went out and both made some purchases in the town. We found several views of Matzen, which I obtained. We lunched in a delightful little place by the Public Park. This is a lovely place. Large old trees, flower beds, fountains, and the grand mountains within a short distance, 9000 feet high. We rested after lunch upon a bench under a lime-tree and looked upon those mountains and the scene before us. Then took a carriage for a hotel and the castle of Friedberg. We stopped at the hotel for our baggage, and then started off. Our drive was along the river Inn, through a grove of large popular trees. The mountains, the villages, villas and cottages were upon each side of us. Mrs. Grohman had recovered from her fatigue and was animated by the scenery around us to be full of conversation. Her language is so choice, her English so pure, ideas so clear and simple and grand that it is instructive and edifying to listen to her. This is not surprising in her. She came from an Irish family of great cultivation and at 14 traveled over the continent of Europe for several years with her aunt, who was a fashionable lady, and saw a great deal of society. She was married at 16, and her place at Wolfgong was the resort of the first people of Europe, both nobility and learned. She is acquainted with most all of the crowned heads of Europe, to speak to them. Her reception at Vienna she holds once a week and they are resorted to by the first and most eminent of people and she does not return calls. Such is the attraction of her manner and conversation and personal beauty that she can act in that imperial way and hold society at her feet. We stopped at the Post Hotel in Haal, and left our baggage and proceeded to the old castle of Friedberg on the other side of the Inn. At the foot of a mountain stream, we dismissed the driver, intending to walk back, a distance of several miles. We then went into a wild, romantic looking gorge or glen along a mountain torrent of great volume and tremendous force. For a man to drop into it would be instant death. Great rocks which had been cut by the stream rose up in broken masses, for several hundred feet, and down these rocks trailed the most graceful vines and ferns. A winding road was made up the mountains and along the torrent, which we ascended, enjoying new views every minute, partaking of the grand and beautiful. There is a great richness of color in the plant life of this place, and a great variety. A botanist would find a varied store whilst listening to Mrs. Grohman dilating and expressing her admiration of the beauties of the different scenes. We ascended to the top and looking over the mountain out of the shadows we saw the slanting rays of the sun lighting up the peasants' cottages. We went in to the old castle. Here everything harmonized with nature around it, was beautiful, careless and trailing. A very polite servant man was sitting in the front yard, and coming forward intimated that we could visit the court yard. Here everything was so old and in keeping that one could readily fancy he was transported back two hundred years. Coming out, we went to the back of the castle, and then front again to the road that wound past to Haal. The scenery of this place was so classic that every minute I expected to see Pan or some satyr coming from behind some huge rock, with a green garland around his head, and offer us a glass of wine. Instead of going along the ordinary country road, Mrs. Grohman took a winding road past the peasants' cottages, and up and down lovely rises of ground, consisting of meadows and parks. This was the quiet side of the river, but from which grand mountain views were obtained on the opposite side. Mrs. Grohman showed me the house she thought of buying before she purchased Matzen. By the bye, she purchased Matzen with some of her diamonds. A good exchange. The situation of the house is lovely, but Matzen is far better, as it does not only command a view of the mountains, the valley and the winding and swift rushing Inn, but of the two castles, one of the most picturesque old ruins in the Tyrol. In this way, we reached our hotel at Haal about dark. There we had an excellent supper, and went to bed. My room was a curiosity to behold. It was downstairs. The ceiling was heavily arched with massive stone. The walls were five feet thick. There was a Tyrol stove in it, made of tile or terra cotta, about the size of a furnace. The floors were bare, but the washing utensils were clean, and the bed was good, several pretty prints, common, being upon the walls. One represented a pretty girl setting upon a rock, having her foot bandaged by a young man. There was a pot containing a pretty ivy plant, sitting upon the stove. The window opened onto a small court yard where a fountain splashed all night and lulled me to sleep.