Rather late in the evening we cast anchor opposite a village of no note.
Giurgewo—Interior of the town—Braila—Sanitary precautions— Galatz—Scarcity of good water—Ridiculous fear of the plague—The steamer Ferdinand—Entrance into the Black Sea—Stormy weather and sea-sickness—Arrival at Constantinople—Picturesque appearance of the city—Mosques—The dancing Dervishes—The Sultan and his barge— Pera—The great and little Campo—Wild dogs—Dirty state of the streets—Preparations in case of fire.
We started early this morning, and at eight o’clock had already reached Giurgewo. This town is situate on the left bank of the Danube, opposite the fortress of Rustschuk. It contains 16,000 inhabitants, and is one of the chief trading towns of Wallachia. We were detained here until four o’clock in the afternoon; for we had to unload above 600 cwt. of goods and eight carriages, and to take coals on board in exchange. Thus we had time to view the interior of this Wallachian city.
With what disappointed surprise did my fellow-passengers view the ugliness of this town, which from a distance promises so much! On me it made but little impression, for I had seen towns precisely similar in Galicia. The streets and squares are full of pits and holes; the houses are built without the slightest regard to taste or symmetry, one perhaps projecting halfway across the street, while its neighbour falls quite into the background. In some places wooden booths were erected along each side of the street for the sale of the commonest necessaries of life and articles of food, and these places were dignified by the name of “bazaars.” Curiosity led us into a wine-shop and into a coffee-house. In both of these we found only wooden tables and benches; there were hardly any guests; and the few persons present belonged to the humblest classes. Glasses and cups are handed to the company without undergoing the ceremony of rinsing.
We purchased some eggs and butter, and went into the house of one of the townspeople to prepare ourselves a dish after the German fashion. I had thus an opportunity of noticing the internal arrangements of a house of this description. The floor of the room was not boarded, and the window was only half glazed, the remaining portion being filled up with paper or thin bladder. For the rest, every thing was neat and simple enough. Even a good comfortable divan was not wanting. At four o’clock we quitted the town.
The Danube is now only broad for short distances at a time. It is, as it were, sown with islands, and its waters are therefore more frequently parted into several streams than united into one.
In the villages we already notice Greek and Turkish costumes, but the women and girls do not yet wear veils.
Unfortunately it was so late when we reached the fortress of Silistria that I could see nothing of it. A little lower down we cast anchor for the night. At an early hour on