"Sommerbilder aus England und Wales"

Name of traveller

Friedrich Althaus (1829-1897)

Reason for travel

  • leisurely travel; holidaying

Date of travel

July 1889

Heute Morgen die Droschkenfahrt durch die von der Sommersonne versengte Häuserwüste Londons -- nun die kleine Station an der Nordwestküste von Wales, mit der Aussicht auf die wellenbewegte Cardigan-Bai und die fernen blauen Berge von Carnarvonshire, und, am Abhange des mehr als tausend Fuß hohen Felsberges, die einsame Felsenstadt Barmouth, beschienen vom Dämmerlicht des scheidenden Tages. (Althaus 1)


  • architecture:
    • describes different styles of cottage architecture around Barmouth; observes simplicity of stone cottages, their whitewashed fronts and use of slates for roofing
    • builders in Barmouth blast stone out of the local cliffs
  • clothing:
    • Welsh women wear the national costume only for special occasions; Welsh men no longer wear any kind of national costume
    • only old women still wear the tall hat and the costume has become a rare curiosity
    • walking sticks are established part of male and female tourists' dress
  • customs:
    • finds the Welsh population culturally and ethnically distinct from the superior Anglo-Saxon race of the English; lists various stereotypes
    • sees the Welsh temperament most strongly realised in the continued bardic tradition and the horrible proceedings of annual eisteddfodau
    • competitions in the National Eisteddfod uphold the provinciality and inferiority of Welsh-language culture
    • calls "The March of the Men of Harlech" the Welsh "Marseillaise"
  • diet: milk as national drink of Wales as result of temperance and religion
  • industry:
    • brief reference to coal mines at Ruabon
    • reference to the slate quarries of north Wales
  • language:
    • reference to unpronouncable Welsh place names; describes etymological origin of Barmouth
    • finds it strange that the vast majority of people in Wales continue to speak Welsh; the town population also understand English
    • describes pronunciation of Welsh and his attempts to pronounce various words
  • politics:
    • lack of political consciousness in Wales
    • lower crime rate in Wales than anywhere else in the United Kingdom
  • recreation:
    • many tourists arrive by train in Barmouth
    • hiking excursions in the area around Barmouth; touristic exploration of the Clogau Gold Mine
    • Barmouth as a sea-side resort is still in its infancy; finds no entertainments there that are typically offered in established English resorts
    • observes the many holidaymakers enjoying the beach of Barmouth; watches countless children gathering shells and building sand castles
  • terrain:
    • romanticised descriptions of rural, mountainous north Wales; unique beauty of north Wales coastal landscapes; perfect unity of landscape features
    • Welsh meadows of a more intense green than the well-tended lawns in English parks; praises the rich vegetation of west Wales
  • transport:
    • modes of travel: on foot; rowing boat; train
    • ten-hour journey from London Paddington to Barmouth, three hours of which it takes to cross Wales from Ruabon to Barmouth
  • follow the links to read the full account: part 1; part 2

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication


Gender of traveller


Type of publication

serialised travelogue


Althaus, Friedrich. "Sommerbilder aus England und Wales." Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung 275, 276 (4-5 October 1889): 1-2, 2-4. Print.