“Nothing compares to the Alps” wrote the great French historian Jules Michelet in 1868. At the very heart of Europe, the gigantic Alpine mountain range includes some of the most grandiose natural sites in the world, such as Mont Blanc, the Jungfrau, the Matterhorn, and their glaciers. Tourism began in the late 1800s and grew tremendously over the next centuries, especially with the rise of winter sports. This book offers a charming tour of a bygone era, when the first mountain trains and cog railways were carrying men in lederhosen and women in long dresses to the foot of the glacier, when local guides accompanied tourists riding on mules; a time when the first alpinists were considered mad, and skiers were a curiosity.
Through photochromes, photographs, and color postcards of the 19th and 20th centuries, through travel posters and tourist brochures, we cross passes such as the Mont-Cenis, Simplon, Brenner, and St. Gotthard; climb Mont Blanc, the Eiger, the Wetterhorn, and the Dolomites; marvel at crystal-clear lakes in Switzerland, Italy, Bavaria, and Slovenia; explore Tyrol, the Via Mala, and the Engadin; and spend the winter season at grand hotels in Gstaad, Grindelwald, Davos, St. Moritz, and Cortina. This is a journey dotted with literary quotes by travel writers that evokes these happy days of pristine snow and untouched slopes!