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Alone in Mexico: The Astonishing Travels of Karl Heller, by Karl Bartolomeus Heller, Terry Rugeley

By Karl Bartolomeus Heller, Terry Rugeley

This quantity is the first-ever English translation of the memoirs of Karl Heller, a twenty-year-old aspiring Austrian botanist who traveled to Mexico in 1845 to assemble specimens. He undergone the Caribbean, lived for a time within the mountains of Veracruz, and journeyed to Mexico urban during the towns of Puebla and Cholula. After a quick place of abode within the capital, Heller moved westward to ascertain the volcanoes and silver mines close to Toluca. while the U.S. invaded Mexico in 1846–47 stipulations turned chaotic, and the enterprising botanist used to be compelled to escape to Yucat?n. Heller lived within the port urban of Campeche, yet visited M?rida, the ruins of Uxmal, and the distant southern region of the Champot?n River."   From there Heller, touring by means of canoe, journeyed via southern Tabasco and northern Chiapas and at last lower back to Vienna via Cuba and the U.S. bringing again millions of samples of Mexican vegetation and animals.   Heller's account is without doubt one of the few files we now have from tourists who visited Mexico during this interval, and it truly is really worthy in describing stipulations open air the capital of Mexico urban.   In 1853 Heller released his German-language account as Reisen in Mexiko, however the paintings has remained almost unknown to English or Spanish readers. This version now offers an entire, annotated, and hugely readable translation.

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Additional info for Alone in Mexico: The Astonishing Travels of Karl Heller, 1845-1848

Sample text

This much is certain, that it is quite poor when the magnificence of the island’s interior is considered. The low hills are bare, planted with camote or corn, while the shore is covered with ordinary cacti. The few attractive palms and trees that one encounters there are for the most part planted; nor is there to be seen anything of the tobacco cultivation that is carried out exclusively on the western and southern coasts. We returned toward evening and hastened to see the cathedral, a huge church built in the Spanish Byzantine style.

6 Most of our knowledge of the elder Heller’s personality derives from information within the text of Reisen itself. Single at the time of his epic journey, Heller later married, and in addition to Karl Maria he had at least one other son, of whom nothing is known. Heller appears to have been quiet and introspective, but almost always with a resilient sense of humor; he enjoyed the company of friends but was most at peace when wandering alone through the vegetation of rural Mexico. His eulogy refers to him as an individual of gentle demeanor, much loved by colleagues and students alike, and with a discretion that made him the confidant of an Austrian nobility long addicted to intrigue.

In this one place the visitor can see the Spaniards, clad in white with their elegant dark cloaks and followed by slaves, smoking their Havana cigars in the streets. To many, however, this stroll is excessively crowded, and they come in their twowheeled, wonderfully shaped carriages (volantes), which often display bound- Chapter 2 / 31 less luxury, driven in order to be able to hear the music without having to disembark. From there the crowd moves to the refreshment houses, of which there are many and sumptuous, in order to choose from among the numerous confections and iced drinks.

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