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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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putting everything into turmoil and fright. Many public servants, including almost all the scientists with whom we wished to meet, left Lisbon; all public offices were closed, and when, on September 15, the capital also adhered to the new order of things, and a provisional government was established, we were convinced that in such a crisis we could do nothing for our own scientific purposes, so it was advisable that we depart Portugal as soon as possible. It was at the cost of much fatigue and inconvenience that we were able to remove the collections from customs and dispatch them on an Austrian ship to Trieste.

On October 10, we departed from Lisbon and sailed by the Tagus to Galician Village, at the entrance of the province of Estremadura, where we rented two open carriages, which we were supposed to drive to the Spanish border. Portugal's bare heaths and heaths were an unhappy spectacle for us, accustomed to the power of tropical nature; most unpleasant, however, it was still more comfortable than the poor villages where we had gone. Brazil, a new colony, so richly endowed with nature, gained in comparison with the desolation, depopulation, and poverty of its mother country, which was, at that time, under the breath of an autumnal climate, doubly harsh to us.

We found here the same language, the same fundamental traits of the national character, but all this seemed to us entirely different here in Portugal, reflecting the European natural conditions, the relations between the European peoples and their needs. Such a comparison would give us subject matter for an interesting explanation; but let us try to end the narrative thread. In Badajoz, the first Spanish city to which we arrived, another town, similar to the German, presented itself to us; less fine features of physiognomy, more vigorous bodies rather than gentle speech, a sonorous language of deep chest sounds, many German-style intonations. We passed Merida and Truxilo, the homeland of the conqueror Pizarro, often threatened by thieves and autumn storms, suffering all the problems of the trip on the way to Madrid, where we arrived on October 25. We were introduced by D. Filipe Bauza, the brave companion of the unfortunate Malaspina who was our member of the Bavara Academy, to Luzuriaga, Rodriguez, La Gasca, Pavon, Roxas Clemente and other worthy sages, particularly regarding geography, which I must remember here with gratitude. The Museum of Natural History of Madrid, besides many other wonders, among which the skeleton of the Buenos Aires megaterio is housed, the largest of the missing mammals today, is notable for its

Megaterio

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