Transylvania – Romania – Carpathian Mountains – Do I even have to say it?
– from Dracula by Bram Stoker
mighty slopes of forest up to the lofty steeps of the Carpathians themselves.
Right and left of us they towered, with the afternoon sun falling full upon
them and bringing out all the glorious colours of this beautiful range, deep
blue and purple in the shadows of the peaks, green and brown where grass and
rock mingled, and an endless perspective of jagged rock and pointed crags, till
these were themselves lost in the distance, where the snowy peaks rose grandly.
Here and there seemed mighty rifts in the mountains, through which, as the sun
began to sink, we saw now and again the white gleam of falling water. One of my
companions touched my arm as we swept round the base of a hill and opened up
the lofty, snow-covered peak of a mountain, which seemed, as we wound on our
serpentine way, to be right before us:-
he crossed himself reverently.
and rocks stuck up through the clay. There was no grass beside the road.
Looking back we could see the country spread out below. Far back the fields
were squares of green and brown on the hillsides. Making the horizon were the
brown mountains. They were strangely shaped. As we climbed higher the horizon
kept changing. As the bus ground slowly up the road we could see other
mountains coming up in the south. Then the road came over the crest, flattened
out, and went into a forest. It was a forest of cork oaks, and the sun came
through the trees in patches, and there were cattle grazing back in the trees.
We went through the forest and the road came out and turned along a rise of
land, and out ahead of us was a rolling green plain, with dark mountains beyond
it. These were not like the brown, heat-baked mountains we had left behind.
These were wooded and there were clouds coming down from them. The green plain
stretched off. It was cut by fences and the white of the road showed through
the trunks of a double line of trees that crossed the plain toward the north.
As we came to the edge of the rise we saw the red roofs and white houses of
Burguete ahead strung out on the plain, and away off on the shoulder of the
first dark mountain was the gray metal-sheathed roof of the monastery of
Germany – The Rhein – The Loreley Rock – from the poem Die Lorelei by Heinrich Heine which is the first German poem I remember reading some four years ago. It’s a haunting poem relating a legend of the siren. This is a Mark Twain translation.
(picture taken from Wikipedia)
I cannot divine
what it meaneth;
This haunting nameless pain.
A tale of the bygone ages,
in the gloaming;
And peaceful flows the Rhine.
The thirsty summits are drinking;
The sunset’s flooding wine.
The loveliest maiden is sitting;
High-throned in yon blue air.
Her golden jewels are shining;
She combs her golden hair,
And sings a weird refrain;
That steeps in a deadly enchantment
The listener’s ravished brain.
Is tranced with the sad sweet tone.
He sees not the yawing breakers,
He sees but the maid alone.
billwos engulf him;
Ushuaia – Tierra del Fuego – Argentina – the Beagle Channel – from This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson
The sun nudged aside the persistent grey clouds in
celebration. There, in a sheltered cove, nestled an acre or so of rich, sloping
pastureland, well watered by brooks and protected on three sides by low, wooded
hills. The pretty little natural harbour was studded with islets, the water
smooth and glassy, with low branches overhanging a rocky beach. It was so
beautiful, so unexpected amid the wilds of Tierra del Fuego, that it possessed
an almost dreamlike quality. It was the perfect place to build a mission.