Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Different Approach with some 'Flickr' Postings

Whilst on holiday in Switzerland recently we enjoyed a wonderful mountain walk above Lauterbr√ľnnen, and towards the end of the day, as we took the train from Kleine Scheidegg back down into the valley, we stopped off in the village of Wengen. We were browsing in a gift shop there when my attention was caught by some items in the postcard rack. There they had a number of fascinating reproductions of early Swiss travel posters. The originals dated from anywhere between the 1880s to the 1940s. I quickly selected eight or ten as souvenirs, mostly choosing those that illustrated places we had ourselves visited.

But there was one that I chose, not for location, but for the subject. I knew I had seen it before, in an old album of my father’s. It was a picture of an early Postbus, full of people, making its way along a mountain road with a background of lake and mountains. On the reverse of the card was mentioned that the poster itself was originally published around 1925.

And here is the personal link. In 1923 my father went on holiday to Switzerland, and being already a keen amateur photographer, he took a number of photos of his travels. He spent some time in the area of Montreux, (where he recorded a visit to Chateau Chillon), and ventured as far south as the St. Bernard Pass. He apparently travelled with a group, and one day they went by motor coach from Aigle to the Col du Pillon. On the way back their vehicle overturned on the way back down. Looking at the photo, one would imagine there must have been injuries, but this is not mentioned in the caption. All this I have gathered from the sequence of photos my father left, as I do not remember ever discussing with him his early travels; an omission I sorely regret today.

You may see from a comparison of the ‘Alpenposten’ poster and the photo my father took of the wreck of his tour bus, that the buses are very similar (though not identical) in design.

So now I have added a brightly coloured postcard to the family history revealed in the old sepia photographs. I intend to juxtapose some more old and new pictures to Flickr, which I hope will prove interesting. And if anyone can recognize anything in the old pictures, be it location, or make of vehicle, an interesting mode of dress, or any clue which might enrich the limited descriptions I am able to give, I shall be most happy to hear your comments.