Traveling to Turkey? Some advice from Charles Fellows, 1838

“Hoping that my friends shall be induced to visit this interesting country, I shall give a few hints as to the machinery of traveling, which may be found of use to them. A tent is a first requisite, the old cities and places of interest being frequently distant from the modern towns or khans; and a good tent makes the traveler quite independent of the state of health of the town…It is desirable that the tent should be of waterproof material. I found great use in old-cloth hammock….always of service to spread under my mattress when the ground was wet. A carpet may be procured in the country, but a mattress must be taken; also a canteen, containing the usual requisites for cooking and for making tea, and a lantern…Rice is necessary, and tea a great pleasure. The traveller will of course be prepared with every requisite for the tailor and will take a few sample medicines.

For economy of traveling it is well to take only five or six horses; if this number be exceeded, another guide is required, and the pay to the ostlers is increased…However proficient the European traveller may be in the Turkish language, I should recommend his taking a servant who can act as dragoman, as he will be thus enabled far better to understand and fall into the manners and customs of the people.

The most acceptable presents to the inhabitants are not such as are of the greatest intrinsic value, but articles of use which it is difficult for them to procure. The traveller will do well to supply himself with copper caps for the people in authority who have had percussion guns given to them, but which are rendered useless from the want of these, and also gunpowder for the peasantry: by all classes a sheet of writing paper is mot valued; leads for patent pencil cases are very acceptable; and a common box compass will furnish much pleasure, occasionally directing the Mahometan to the point for his prayers. I have often been asked in a delicate manner by the Greeks if I possess a picture of our queen or reigning sovereign; a common print of this kind would be highly prized.”

(Charles Fellows, A Journal Written During an Excursion in Asia Minor, London 1839, “Remarks for the Guidance of Travellers,” pp. 304-309)

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