Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Gazeteer of Imaginary Places

Taken from the Journal of an English Tourist who as he rambled from Spa to Spa across the Germanies chanced to find himself on our own dear Alzheim.

One enters the quaintly-named Duchy or Electorate of Alzheim from Bayern via a hitherto unknown minor range of mountains. I was fortunate indeed to find myself in the delightfully inconsequential spa town of Augusts-bad. This was especially fortunate as mine syphilitics were plaguing me dreadfully. As I took the waters (and the wines and the cheeses and indeed the hams) I learned that this hamlet was the creation of the current ruler Augustus II, by all account a lesser son of greater sires. Still quite a pretty little town.

After sojourning there a day or two past the grim fortress town of Rosenthal by road, crossing the Mur Flusse at it's junction with the Grossehaber Flusse, then south on the old Roman Road all the way to Waldau, a medium-sized market town that sits at the foot of the Great Escarpment. I must admit to being a little surprised at how unlike a savage rampart of cruel cliffs this is, being more in the nature of a series of gradually rising slopes and terraces. Experience is the great undoer of Fancy.

Still, we did not stay there for long, just a couple of evenings; long enough to sample the local delights before setting out along the steeply winding road to Gehrkevale, principal town of the Alzheim uplands.

Gehrkevale is the principal arsenal and factory of Alzheim, and a grim place for that. it's people are quite unlike any of the others of the country. They are small and neuraesthenic, nothing like the hardy mountaineers of the alpine counties or the bluff, hearty peasants of the northern plains. We did not dally long. The beer was sour, the sausages small and the women best left undescribed.

Wishing we had taken the road that follows the course of the escarpment, we descended with all decent rapidity to the Capital of Alz.

This modern city was laid out by the Great Duke (or Elector), the current rulers' great-grand-sire in the Year of our Lord 1642 on the ruins of the old city, so greviously sacked and burned by Bavarian and Imperial troops during the Thirty Years' War. The work of the father was continued by the son and grandson, and now the City has much of the air of Versailles as was the fashion at the time of the Sun King. Nor did these wise rulers neglect the defences of their Capital, being as it is fortified to the last degree possible of the Military Art.

In Alz may be had ever sophisticated Entertainment or Vice and we availed ourselves fully. Doctor Smith took it upon himself to pass beyond apres un excess des femmes. As one does.

I myself was again laid low after stubbing my toe by the sheer variety of my sexual diseases and thus feared to travel east to Grunwald. I feared the doubtless damp marshlands and gloomy, spirit-depressing, forests of the region (and it's mysterious southern counties of the Uckermark) would have had a fatal effect on myself and at least two other members of our party.

Perhaps instead we shall make out way further south to the Princes' little summer place in the south - Sans Souci, he calls it. Perhaps then onto the Italies?

The journal breaks off at this point not to be resumed. We can only wonder at the cause.


Die alte Aechzener said...

Nice post, thanks

Stryker said...

I'm sure that I passed through Gehrkevale in 1975 using my under 21's Interail Card. Come to think of it I don't think I stayed very long...


tradgardmastare said...

Interesting information for my forthcoming grand Tour...

Bloggerator said...

Steer clear!