A Four Months' Tour
INCLUDING BRAZIL, URUGUAY, ARGENTINE, THE TRANS- ANDINE RAILROAD, CHILI, BOLIVIA, PERU, ECUADOR AND THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN.
Pernambuco, the first port made in South America by steamers from the north or east, can be reached in fourteen days from Southampton and about the same from New York. The voyage from England is a particularly beautiful one, stops being made at Vigo, Lisbon, and at either Madeira and St. Vincent, or Teneriffe. The city is situated at the mouth of the Biberibc River, five hundred miles south of the equator, and is protected by a coral reef which extends some four hundred miles along the coast. Opposite Pernambuco it rises six feet above high-water mark, and runs parallel to the front street of the city, at a distance from it of about a third of a mile. A wide opening in the reef at the northern end of the town makes the entrance to the harbor. Ocean steamers have to land their passengers from the open roadstead in small boats, consequently landing is no small matter, both as an experience and in expense. The town is divided in a rather peculiar manner into three distinct parts: Recife, on a narrow peninsula, is the business section ; Boa Vista, on the river shore, is the residential quarter; and San Antonio is on an island in the river. All are, however, connected by iron bridges. The house-fronts in the various sections of the town are brilliantly colored, — yellow, blue, white and pink. The city is often called the Venice of Brazil, on account of its numerous waterways. The view of the town and harbor to be had from some parts of Olinda is very fine, especially when a storm is raging out at sea, when the breakers dash against the reef, sending the spray fifty feet into the air.
Bahia is the next port of call, twenty-six hours to the south, and is admirably situated on elevated ground at the entrance to All-Saints Bay. Like Quebec, the town is divided into the lower and the upper town, and these are connected by a large hydraulic elevator, the enterprise of an energetic Yankee. Bahia was the first place of settlement by English traders on this coast, and was the capital of Brazil until 1763, when the government headquarters were transferred to Rio de Janeiro. It used to be a great whaling center, but now its chief industry is the manufacture of artificial flowers from the choicest feathers of the most brilliant-plumaged birds. Its diamond market is far famed. The largest diamond yet discovered came from Brazil, and is known as the Braganza. It is still in the rough, weighs over a pound troy, and is valued at an unpurchasable price, even by the world's richest men.
Rio de Janeiro is reached in three days' sail from Bahia. It is the capital of Brazil and the largest city in South America, with a population of over half a million. Cape Frio is situated in latitude 22° 59' south, longitude 41° 57' west, on which line there is no magnetic variation. The voyager here enters the most superb harbor in the world, containing fifty square miles of good anchorage. " Few natural spectacles can equal the grand contour of this famous bay," says that world-wide traveler, Maturin M. Ballou. The most prominent features are the Sugar-Loaf and the verdure-clad hills of Gloria, Theresa and Castello, behind which extend ranges of steep, everlasting mountains, one line beyond another, until lost among the clouds. The city contains many large and commodious public buildings and elegant residences, the latter generally of a half-Moorish type of architecture. The Bank of Brazil occupies a building elaborately constructed of hammered granite, and is the most superb example of masonry in the country. The Public Library, containing upwards of 200,000 volumes, is conducted on most elaborate principles and contains many priceless Spanish and Portuguese manuscripts. The Cathedral is a large and showy edifice surrounded by narrow streets, which prevent a satisfactory view.
The most popular church in Rio is undoubtedly that which crowns the Gloria Hill, called the Igreja da Gloria do Onterio, which overlooks the bay and commands a remarkably fine outlook. The principal streets, which are very narrow, are Rua Direita, where are located the bankers and brokers; Rua de Ouvidor, where the best stores and shops are found; and Rua dos Ourives, where the display of fine jewelry, diamonds and other precious stones reminds one of the Rue de la Paix of Paris.
A delightful excursion can be made to the summit of Corcovado, which looms over the beautiful Botafogo Bay to the height of 2,275 ^ee^- The ascent is made by cog railroad. The view from the summit of the Hunchback takes in a bird's-eye view of the harbor and surroundings. A charming suburb is Nictheroy, situated across the bay. Behind Corcovado, between the mountains and the sea, are the botanical gardens, best reached by a delightful drive along the shore of Botafogo Bay. These gardens are among the finest in the world, and have an avenue of royal palms about 350 yards in length. Petropolis, the fashionable summer resort of the citizens of Rio, is situated in the Organ Mountains about thirty miles from the metropolis, and was a favorite resort of Dom Pedro II, who had a summer palace there.
Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is situated on the estuary of the Rio de la Plata, about five days' sail from Santos or Rio. The city is finely located on a rocky promontory jutting out into the estuary, and is a cool and pleasant place even in summer, extreme heat or cold being unknown. There are a few handsome buildings in the city. The Cathedral, with its lofty dome and towers, dominates the Plaza Constitution, while the fine marble facade of the Uruguay Club adds to the beauty of the plaza. The Paseo del Molino is the fashionable part of the town, while the Calle del Diezischavo de Julio ( named after the anniversary of the Uruguayan declaration of independence), a broad, tree-lined avenue, is con- sidered one of the finest boulevards in South America. The Campo Santo reminds one of Genoa and other Italian cities, and is crowded with elaborate tombs and monuments. In Montevideo one is apt to meet that proverbial anomaly, a beggar on horseback.
Buenos Ayres, the thriving capital of the Argentine Republic, is situated on the opposite bank of the Plata from Montevideo, at a distance of about 150 miles. Unlike almost all of the South American cities, there is no mountain range behind or surrounding the city. From it there is a continuous plain stretching for nearly eight hundred miles to the foot-hills of the Andes. It is a comparatively modern city, and has been appropriately called the Chicago of the southern continent. The city is well supplied with street cars, which are enormously patronized. Plaza Victoria is the central point, to which eight or ten streets converge. On this square are the Government House, the Palace of Justice, and the Cathedral. The latter is an enormous building in the Grecian style, and is capable of containing ten thousand persons. At Palermo, a short distance from the city, there is a magnificent park, covering between eight and nine hundred acres.