Medicinische Reisebriefe aus England und Holland: 1866 und 1867

Name of traveller

Heinrich Rohlfs (1827-1898) and Fanny Rohlfs (b. 1837)

Reason for travel

  • medical study and cultural tourism

Date of travel

autumn 1866

In Carnarvon gewesen zu sein und das Meer nicht befahren zu haben, wäre ungefähr dasselbe, als in Rom den Papst nicht zu sehen. (Rohlfs 85)


  • architecture:
    • praises general appearance of Llandudno as one of the most modern towns of Europe; impressed by the exemplary sewage system of the town
    • impressed by Thomas Telford's (1757-1834) and Robert Stephenson's (1803-1859) bridges in Conwy and Bangor
  • clothing:
    • criticises popular male fashion worn in polite society; disparaging remarks on beards, sideburns and hair styles
    • generally pleased with female sense of fashion, but critical about the most recent trends, such as wearing yellow
    • describes meeting a 97-year old local woman, wearing a black top hat as part of the Welsh costume
  • culture:
    • recognises a distinct difference between Welsh and English cultures
    • bathing and horse races identified as national past times; description of a donkey race
    • praises the Welsh for their musicality, unlike the English who lack a talent for music; identifies the harp as the national instrument of Wales
    • regrets the closure of all shops and entertainments on sundays
    • recognises Welsh interest in genealogy
    • draws parallels between the Welsh population and Jewish people
    • persistence of many folk customs and traditions, continued folk belief in goblins, fairies or corpse candles as is the case with many similar folk traditions in Germany
    • compares "courting in bed" to "Fenstern" in Switzerland and northern Germany
  • diet:
    • generally the population takes fewer, but more substantial meals throughout the day than is the habit in Germany
    • praises the quality of meat
    • notes the general simplicity of British food
  • history:
    • outlines the history of Wales, starting with Roman period, and its incorporation into England after the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (1223-1282)
    • romanticised retelling of the revolt lead by Owain Glynd?r (1355-1416)
  • industry:
    • inspection of copper mines and slate quarries; detailed description of Penrhyn Quarry
    • praises Lord Penrhyn's provision of housing for his work force
  • language:
    • passing references to Welsh place names
    • comments on the persistence of the Welsh language
    • confesses having difficulty in pronouncing Welsh placenames
  • literature:
    • reference to a travel account by Arthur Aikin (1773-1854) of his tour through Wales
    • frequent comparisons to classical literature and history to illusrtrate his touristic excursions
  • people:
    • collection of letters addressed to Alexander Göschen (1813-1875)
    • journey undertaken together with his wife; notes that his wife's grandfather went on a tour through Wales in the previous century
    • on average, the Welsh population is of smaller, stouter stature than the taller, more graceful English people
  • recreation:
    • recognises a distinct difference between sea side culture in Germany and Britain
    • ponies, donkeys and carriages available for hire by tourists in Llandudno
    • regrets the lack of public spaces for polite conversation and entertainment in the sea side towns
    • generally pleased with hotels and guest houses
    • recommends longterm visits to Llandudno for the medicinal qualities of the sea air and sea bathing, particularly for sufferers of lung deseases
  • terrain:
    • conflation of Wales and England
    • numerous romanticised descriptions of the landscape along the north Wales coast and frequent comparisons to northern Germany
    • praises Conwy as the prototype for Welsh towns
  • transport:
    • modes of travel: on foot; pony carriage; sail boat; train
    • expansion of Llandudno directly owed to the establishment of the railway between Chester and Holyhead
    • notes the greater speed of horse carriages and better road conditions than in Germany
    • describes the arrival of a passenger train in Caernarfon with a large group of tourists heading for Snowdon
  • serialised abridged version, published anonymously: "Die Königin der Wales'schen Bäder, I-IV." Klagenfurter Zeitung (1-4 Oct. 1868): 904-5, 908, 912, 915-7. Print.
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Nationality of traveller


Language of publication


Gender of traveller

Male, Female

Type of publication

letters; travelogue


Rohlfs, Heinrich. Medicinische Reisebriefe aus England und Holland: 1866 und 1867. Leipzig: Friedrich Fleischer, 1868. 32-136. Print.