I occasionally see advertisements for cruising holidays in the Rhine Valley in Germany with its magnificent castles and scenery. This is, sadly, a sign that I’ve reached an age where the kind of magazine I read and my online profile suggests that I’m a potential purchaser of such delights. They might be right in theory but I’d rather holiday in the Highlands of Scotland or visit my daughter in California with the budget I have. And the boats are always box-like, luxury, floating hotels with about as much character as a shipping container. (PS. For any Rhine Valley boat operators reading this, I’m available for talks and shows, see the relevant page on my website!)
Anyway, the point of this post is that such advertisements are not new. Many Victorians had the money and the time to ‘do’ Europe and, indeed, the ‘grand tour’ was an early, upper-class version of today’s ‘cultural’ holidays, ‘though I suspect it was less to do with history than with the sons of aristocrats spreading their own cultural seeds far enough from home to get away with it! Am I being too cynical? For those in the next social tier down, who couldn’t afford to take months away from home as they needed to earn a living, a visit to Germany or France was a must-do trip and magic lantern projection slides of sights and places to visit were used to promote such excursions.
Today’s post shows three, high resolution, pin sharp magic lantern slides from a ‘Rhine Valley’ travelogue set published in the 1890s. They illustrate, from top to bottom, St. Goarhausen and the Katz Castle, the town of Boppard and the ferry at Konigswinter. Their interest today is more to do with how these places have changed (or not) than with the river they were intended to promote.
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