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nearly overflowing, from the continuous rain of several weeks.
Wednesday, August 31. We left St. Johann a little after 9 o'clock. The roads were in a bad condition, being very muddy, which made heavy pulling for the car. In going up one rather steep grade, the car commenced slipping back. Gaston did not dare leave his wheel, so asked mademoiselle if she would please get out and put a rock under the back tire. This she did, but it was not large enough to hold the car, and while she was trying to find another, Gaston succeeded in getting the car to the top of the grade. Strange to say, I remained in the car, as I have perfect confidence in my chauffeur. He is cool, level-headed, and never neglects his duties, consequently has gained my confidence. Gaston needed essence, and we were looking everywhere to find some place to buy it, but did not succeed until we reached the village of Radstadt. Here he found a Frenchman and got his oil. Radstadt is one of the old walled towns. As it continued raining steadily, the heavy roads prevented our making any kind of time. It being about luncheon hour, we commenced looking for a good village where we could find it. We passed through Grobming and looked for a hotel. Not seeing any, we drove through, and just at the edge of the village saw a fine-looking country place, beautifully situated on a small elevation in the midst of lovely grounds. It looked like a country house, but was very large, and in printed letters in one place it said “Hof”—something. Hof usually means hotel, so we drove in and up to the house, to a side door. A maid appeared with a broom in hand, and we asked her if this was a hotel. She replied "Yah," and disappeared. Then we saw a hostler and several servants. Finally a good-looking man with his wife and family came out. He spoke very good English. We told him our predicament. He said this was his country home, but gave us a most cordial invitation to remain and lunch with them. He said it was quite plain, but we would be most welcome. We thanked him very kindly, but declined. He then gave us the name of the hotel in the little village we had passed through, and sent his young son with us to show us the way. They were evidently people of wealth, the village folks looking upon them as the great people of the place. The little hotel is the Gasthof zur Post. As we entered it, every one bowed politely to this young boy. Our dinner was plain, but good of its kind. Noodle soup and beeksteak with onions and potatoes. The dessert, however, was delicious chocolate cream cake that melted in your mouth. We left directly after luncheon, motoring along by the Enns river most of the afternoon. As we were traveling wholly by map, Gaston watches it, the guide books and the road guide-posts very carefully. He is never happy or satisfied unless within sight of the banhoff (railroad), and our route follows it very closely.
We stopped for essence at Lietzen, then on again. We were stopped at one place on the roadside by some men, whose horse had fallen in a ditch. We thought he was dead, but they worked with him, finally getting him on his feet, and he walked off all right. The men told us a motor in whizzing by had frightened him.
We motored on to Schover Pass. There is a beautiful gorge here. We expected to reach Bruck for our night stop, but the delays from bad roads making us late, Gaston suggested we stop at the first town this side of Bruck. This we did. It was Leoben, and Hotel Garner, where we had a good night's rest.
Thursday, September ist. We expected to leave early, but saw Gaston working on the car, so knew we would be late. He came for us at 10 o'clock. It was not raining, but still cloudy. I was hoping for a fine day, but Gaston predicted rain, and he was right, as it commenced again just before noon, and kept it up all afternoon. This has been a lovely ride, even though the mountain and scenery were obscured by mist the greater part of the time. In the afternoon we saw a man leading an immense pig by a cord. The pig was as white and clean as it was possible to make him. All animals are made pets of in these countries. We drove through miles and miles of apple trees that arched across the road, making a lovely shaded drive. Some limbs hang low enough for the car to strike as it passes under, and again the
fruit is knocked off, falling on the top of the car with a thud as if it was coming through. We carry our luggage on top of the car, and sometimes the noise made by the falling apples was so great I thought it was the luggage falling. Almost every house has fruit trees tacked and trained flat to the sides. These hang full of fruit. It looks so peculiar, but they get the full benefit of the fruit. We saw bands of Tyrolese mountain climbers. Their pointed hats were trimmed with Alpine roses and other mountain flowers. These Alpine roses and flowers grow so high up on the mountains that only climbers can get them. I would love to examine them closely, but scarcely think I will have the opportunity, as I shall do no mountain climbing. The horses here wear very peculiar collars. The collar runs to a sharp point in the center and they are decorated elaborately with brass and silk and gold embroidery. They love flowers here, as well as the Swiss, and their yards are full, as also their window boxes, of lovely flowers. They have a singular fashion of using colored glass balls to decorate their flower beds. These balls are put on long sticks and stuck about through the flower beds among the blooming plants. The roads are patroled by gendarmes. You see them everywhere and in full uniform.
England and France have gamekeepers or wardens that patrol the roads in their countries. Sometimes they are in citizens' clothing and carry heavy sticks, and are always armed.
Here in the Austrian Tyrol they wear the full Tyrol costume. The men wear short jackets with fancy trimming, pointed hats with either a bunch of feathers or single one at the back, knee pants laced at the sides and green leggings complete the costume. The children wear their leggings even when barefooted. The pointed hat is olive green and the cluster of feathers is finished with an ornament of some kind. The women wear fancy peeked straw hats and work in the field the same as men, handling scythes and rakes with equal ease.
We motored over the Semmering Pass, which is one of the oldest passes. It is not very long and the road is fine. We stopped at the top of the pass and lunched at Hotel Erzherzog Johann (Archduke John). The hotel was full, and it was quite a while before we could be served. We left here after lunch, and for a change it commenced raining again. We were nearly down the pass and just rounding a curve when a tire burst. For some unexplained reason it took very long to get it off and put on the new one. When in place, we started on again. The rain turned into a cold driving mist, accompanied by a high wind.
We arrived in Vienna, found Hotel Bristol, where we expected stopping, was full, and they advised us to go on to the Grand Hotel, which we did, and were nicely located.