The Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Habsburg-Lorraine and Bourbon was born in Florence in 1847. He was a very intelligent man and an adventurer. Aged 20 he decided to ignore the conventions and labels of the Court of Vienna and began exploration trips around the world with his boats Nixe I and Nixe II.
The results of his trips were compiled in more than fifty encyclopaedia type books, where using illustrations, texts, maps and photographs, he outlined the observations he had made during his travels. His interest in geography, ethnography, history and biology also led him to explore the Mediterranean.
He came to Mallorca for the first time in 1867 in order to write a book about beetles, travelling incognito under the assumed name of the Count of Neudorf. He liked the island so much that he settled here permanently. In 1872 he purchased the Miramar estate, and over time he ended up acquiring the majority of the estates between Valldemossa and Deià. He charted a large number of paths and installed vantage points in order to preserve the landscape that he felt he had discovered and make it more widely known.
The Archduke’s cousin and empress of Austria, Sisi, also came to visit him often. One of his nieces gave the following description of him:
“He lives like a country peasant, he only wears sandals and wide cloth trousers. His skin, burned by the sun, is copper coloured. He works incessantly in his paradisiacal garden, and his beautiful vineyards”.
Indeed, Ludwig Salvator exhibited a style that was very uncommon for noble people during that period. One day a Mallorcan noble family invited him for dinner, although beforehand they explained that it was necessary for him to dress in accordance with his social standing. So, it was a great surprise when he appeared wearing the uniform of an Archduke. The hosts were very happy, until the soup was served. Ludwig Salvator poured the soup into his pockets, as those present looked on dumbfounded, he then stood up and proclaimed:
“You have invited my outfit, not me. Now that my outfit has had dinner I can go”.
Sisi walked along some of the Serra de Tramontana paths that now form part of the hiking network and, with Ludwig Salvator at her side, she dreamed of the free spiritedness that the Serra de Tramuntana manages to convey.
During a long stay in Mallorca, the Archduke fell in love with the daughter of a carpenter, from a family of Mallorcan country peasants, Catalina Homar. He wrote several works concerning the Balearic Islands, including the notable Die Balearen in Wort und Bild geschildert (The Balearic Islands in Words and Images), an exhaustive study of the Balearic Islands of the second half of the 19th century.