Constantinople v Rio

Ida Pfeiffer.

Image via Wikipedia

1846: on her travels around the world, the redoutable Austrian traveller Ida Pfeiffer visits Rio de Janeiro and finds much to displease. If only she were in Constantinople!

“It is true that the interior of Constantinople is exceedingly dirty, and that the number of small houses, the narrow streets, the unevenness of the pavement, the filthy dogs, etc., do not strike the beholder as excessively picturesque; but then he soon comes upon some magnificent edifice of the time of the Moors or Romans, some wondrous mosque or majestic palace, and can continue his walk through endless cemeteries and forests of dreamy cypresses.  He steps aside before a pasha or priest of high rank, who rides by on his noble steed, surrounded by a brilliant retinue; he encounters Turks in splendid costumes, and Turkish women with eyes that flash through their veils like fire; he beholds Persians with their high caps, Arabs with their nobly-formed features, dervishes in fools’-caps and plaited petticoats like women, and, now and then, some carriage, beautifully painted and gilt, drawn by superbly caparisoned oxen.  All these different objects fully make up for whatever amount of dirtiness may occasionally be met with.  In Rio Janeiro, however, there is nothing that can in any way amuse, or atone for the horrible and disgusting sights which everywhere meet the eye.”

Source:  Project Gutenberg

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About rimboval

Writer, thinker and proud grandfather
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