Monday, September 27, 2010

Save the Museum of the Swiss Abroad

The Museum of the Swiss Abroad in Geneva has been instrumental in my project and helping me bring Henri's journey to life.

The future of the museum is presently in peril. The Canton of Geneva, the actual owner of the beautiful Penthes estate, is trying to decide whether to grant a new long-term lease to the Museum, its Conference Centre and Restaurant or to designate these facilities for some other, as yet unknown, use, because of its convenient location. The negotiations presently under way between the Canton and the Museum may turn out to be quite difficult.

What they urgently need are expressions of support. I would be grateful if you could join others in this appeal. Your support is critical, thank you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Detailed Peruvian Destinations

I found today an extra couple of pages in my great-great-grandfather's papers that detail his every stop in Peru while with the expedition led by Manuel Ijurra and Damian de Schütz.

I have copied his locations below. When I was able to find a present day equivalent I have placed its name in ( ) parentheses. Those not in parentheses are either correct or I did not find a present-day equivalent.

Expedition from Lima to LoretoTotal distance of 554 Spanish Leagues

By Sea
Lima – Port of Huanchaco

By Land
Huanchaco – Tujillo – Ascope – Cascas – Contumasa (Contumazá) – Magdalena – Caxamarca (Cajamarca) – Celedin – Balzas (Balsas) – Carrisal (Carrizal) – Tambo Viejo – Llique – Laimbamba – Suta – Magdalena – Lebanto (Levanto) – Chachapoyas – Taulia – Ventilla – Bagasan (Bagazan) – Almirante – Tuca Tambo – Rioja – Moyobamba – Gera – Guillea Rumi – Laguarpia – Calavera – Roque – Portero – Tabalosos – San Miguel – Lamas – Zarapoto (Tarapoto) – Tambo Grande – Chasuta

By River
Chasuta – Jurimaguas (Yurimaguas) – Santa Cruz – Laguna – Urarinas – Parinari – San Refis – Nauta – Omaguas – Iquito (Iquitos) – Pucalpa – Choxo-Cocha – Pebas – Cochiquinas – Maucallacta – Peruate – Comucheros – Moromorote – Caballo-Cocha (Caballococha) – Loreto

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Saratoga Springs

During his two-year journey through the Americas, Henri de Büren lived both opulence and misery. The contrast of being with the upper crust of American society at the beginning of his journey to struggling for the lives of his expedition mates in the Peruvian jungle in quite a contrast.

Saratoga Springs, New York. Currier & Ives Print

Grand Union Hotel, Saratoga Springs, NY, 1870s. © Library of Congress

Grand Union Hotel, Saratoga Springs, NY, 1870s. © Library of Congress

The following excerpt come from an early letter home to Switzerland in 1852. One must understand that Henri came from the upper crust himself, hence his rather stark rebuke of American cultural aspirations.

"After disembarking in Albany, we stayed there for two days, without noticing anything remarkable, only people walking tranquilly on the streets. While there we saw something even less interesting, a showing of Othello which gave me a sad perspective on the American taste in theater. It does not surprise me, given the fact that Yankees do not generally have any; they are too practical in life to appreciate taste or acquire it.

From Albany, we went to Saratoga, the American Baden-Baden, where we found many members of American high society. Men were dressed up, puffing themselves up to be as big as their safes. They had good looking wives accompanied by one or two other beautiful young women. In addition to the multitude of elegant people, there was German music, and a dinning room to serve a nine hundred to a thousand guests."
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