Saturday, August 10, 2013

Moryson's bits and pieces on travel in XVII century part I


 English gentleman Fynes Moryson (died AD 1630) wrote the following opus magnum:
''An itinerary vvritten by Fynes Moryson gent. first in the Latine tongue, and then translated by him into English: containing his ten yeeres travell throvgh the tvvelve domjnions of Germany, Bohmerland, Sweitzerland, Netherland, Denmarke, Poland, Jtaly, Turky, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Divided into III parts'' (1908 edition), 
In the chapter of book III - Of the fit meanes to travell, and to hire Coaches and Horses. - he  wrote about traveling in Europe during the 
early 1600s (1605-17), talking about peculiarities of each region, horses, lodging, costs, dangers and, 
many other interesting aspects

I will start with Poland :), eventually add German Countries, Italy, Turkey, France, and England, Scotland and Ireland.:

  Poland for the most part (or almost all) is a plaine Countrie, fit for the passing of coches, which may be hired in Cities, and are like to those of Germany.  From Dantzke[Gdańsk] to Crakaw[Cracow, Kraków] (being ten dales journey) a coach may be hired for some 44 German guldens. My selfe paid there for my part six guldens, leaving the Coach after foure dales journey, because the horses were tired. And for my diet two of those dayes upon our guides reckoning, my part came to two guldens, but I am sure he deceived us. In one Citie by the way, five of us paid 2 dollers for one supper, but my selfe after passing alone, commonly dined in villages for 2 or 3 grosh, and supped for 4 or 6 grosh. They use to carry a bed in the Coach, and to sit upon it in the day time, for otherwise no beds are to be found, but onely in great Cities, which are very rare. And they who will have wine, must also carry it with them, for it is not to be had but onlie in great Cities. Our Horses (as I said) being tired, we left our Coach, and by the Kings letter or warrant granted to one of our company, we tooke up horses, and that for small prices, namely, one or two Grosh for a Polish or Dutch mile [ Polish mile was about 7,18 kilometers in XVII century].

  But the Polonians for the most part ride on horsebacke, and the most convenient and frugall course for passengers, is to buy horses and sell them in Italy after their journey, neither shall they want horsemen to beare them company from City to City : but he that is a horse-man, cannot carrie his bed, & so must have patience to rest upon a bench, til he shall find beds upon the confines of Germany. In the meane time his long horsmans coat (which the Polonians & Hungarians generally use) may (with straw) make his lodging more convenient, especially if it be lined with Woolves skinnes, or like furres, for the Winter time. Neither shall he neede to feare any cold, since the Polonians use hot stoves (as the Germans have), and do also lodge all the family therein at night upon straw and benches. Horsemeate will cost some two or three grosh at noone, and some foure or five grosh at night.

original spelling of early 1600s English
Paintings by Józef Brandt and Jan Brueghel

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