Return of the Author to Europe.
To return to my voyage. On my arrival at Ormuz, I found there M. Francis Berettin of Venice, and we freighted a bark in conjunction to carry us to Bussora, for which we paid 70 ducats; but as other merchants went along with us, they eased our freight. We arrived safely at Bussora, where we tarried 40 days, to provide a caravan of boats to go up the river to Babylon [Bagdat], as it is very unsafe to go this voyage with only two or three barks together, because they cannot proceed during the night, and have to make fast to the sides of the river, when it is necessary to be vigilant and well provided with weapons, both for personal safety and the protection of the goods, as there are numerous thieves who lie in wait to rob the merchants: Wherefore it is customary and proper always to go in fleets of not less than 25 or 30 boats, for mutual protection. In going up the river the voyage is generally 38 or 40 days, according as the wind happens to be favourable or otherwise, but we took 50 days. We remained four months at Babylon, until the caravan was ready to pass the desert to Aleppo. In this city six European merchants of us consorted together to pass the desert, five of whom were Venetians and one a Portuguese. The Venetians were Messer Florinasca, and one of his kinsmen, Messer Andrea de Polo, Messer Francis Berettin, and I. So we bought horses and mules for our own use, which are very cheap there, insomuch that I bought a horse for myself for eleven akens, and sold him afterwards in Aleppo for 30 ducats. We bought likewise a tent, which was of very great convenience and comfort to us, and we furnished ourselves with sufficient provisions, and beans for the horses, to serve 40 days. We had also among us 33 camels laden with merchandise, paying two ducats for every camels load, and, according to the custom of the country, they furnish 11 camels for every 10 bargained and paid for. We likewise had with us three men to serve us during the journey, which are used to go for five Dd. a man, and are bound to serve for that sum all the way to Aleppo.