Friday, October 14, 2005

Ida Pfeiffer's world travels

1797 Ida Pfeiffer (d. October 28, 1858), Viennese-born world traveller and author (A Visit to Iceland and the Scandinavian North; A Woman’s Journey Around the World) who wrote 13 books from her seven journeys around the world, visiting such countries as Egypt, Iraq, Brazil, Iceland, Tahiti, China, Madagascar and India.

On her travels, Pfeiffer collected insects and reptiles; these and other "souvenirs" she sold back in Vienna, with which to finance further journeys. Her best-sellers were translated into seven languages and showed a dry humour.

On one of her journeys, the remarkable adventuress was attacked by cannibals, fending them off alone with an umbrella. Both she and an aggressor were wounded in the incident and after this experience she decided to carry a double pistol. She kept the broken- off handle of the umbrella as a trophy.When she was in Madagascar, in May 1857 when the island was embroiled in political turmoil, Pfeiffer became unwittingly involved in the troubles ...

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