“The ships that travel along the ocean coasts between a city and another are marvels of nautical progress. In a word they are sumptuous floating palaces.”
“We in Italy have a long way to go before arriving at the simplicity and readiness with which things are done in America. They are a young nation but more than two centuries ahead of us, especially with the railroad.”
On August 21, 1880, after touring New York’s sights for two days with the French-speaking guide provided by Prang, Juglaris boarded a steamship bound for Boston. His initial reservations about American culture and aesthetics did not blind him to the country’s opportunities. Nor did they jaundice his views regarding America’s very conspicuous strengths. He marveled at the efficiency, speed, and economy of the young nation’s public transportation. But the steamship carrying him to his destination was not merely clean and efficient. It was comfortable and elegant. His cabin even came equipped with a novelty: electric lights! As Juglaris remarks in his memoir: “The ships that travel along the ocean coasts between a city and another are marvels of nautical progress. In a word they are sumptuous floating palaces.”
Transferring to a train for the last leg of his journey, Juglaris continued to be impressed by America’s technological know-how and taste for comfort. The velocity of his Boston-bound train astonished him. Its speed was unmatched by anything he had experienced in Europe. Juglaris was also struck by the ease with which even ordinary people traveled in the United States, unencumbered by borders and bureaucracy. Americans knew how to make things work. What discipline, energy and drive! In his memoir, Juglaris concluded: "We in Italy have a long way to go before arriving at the simplicity and readiness with which things are done in America. They are a young nation but more than two centuries ahead of us, especially with the railroad."
Not everything on board was admirable, however. “The cuisine,” he noted, “leaves much to be desired.” He was served “tough steak with potatoes cooked in water” with just salt and pepper to give them a “bit of taste.” And where was the wine? Instead, he observed, Americans washed down their supper with coffee or tea, “both so awful that it is better to prefer fresh water.” But Juglaris had high praise for the beer! He ordered a glass of lager and pronounced it “exquisite.” He decided to forego any scruples about what was proper at the supper table. Henceforth, he would enjoy American beer when dining. Cheered by this discovery, Juglaris felt better equipped to face the challenges ahead.