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28159Re: Travels through Slovakia in 1844 p7

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  • Ron
    Jan 1, 2010
      <65> THIRD CHAPTER

      After his preceding descriptions, we pick up with Mr. Richter as he describes how one can travel about Hungary without great expense: <65> “In the country it is cheaper than in Buda or in Bratislava. For transportation you can buy a pair of horses for 80 – 100 Gulden coins, use them for travel and can easily sell for half that later. The Hungarian ‘national wagon’ is one of a ladder frame and with a cloth cover. A seat can be composed by stacking suitcases and padding them with straw for comfort. Such a wagon can be bought for 40-50 Gulden and sell for close to that, easily. This is a light wagon that does not cut deeply into the mud. The wagon is also a superior place to sleep when one encounters the worst of the guest houses.
      <66>To round out your outfit, you need a coach driver with command of German, Slovak and Hungarian. One can be had for a few Gulden per month plus the cost of travel home at the end of their service. Thus you have a driver, servant and translator all in one person. The alternative is to hire a wagon (Vorspan) for about 2 miles for 1 Gulden. Generally this way of travel and the right to demand a wagon (Vorspan) is only for the resident nobility and royal or county officials, and a foreigner must get permission from the county officials to requisition a wagon. This is easier to do in the winter when the field work is at a minimum.

      Regular express coaches serve the country on a network of roads. Two routes that served North Hungary went from Pest to Presov through Miskolc and Kosice, as well as to Levoca through Gemer County to Ruzomberok and Spisska Nova Ves. The advantage of the express coaches is that they are cheap and quick and travel over good roads, and passengers are protected from cold and rain. The disadvantage of the coaches is that they often depart as soon as they are fully booked and a second wagon is seldom added to the route.

      To hire casual transportation, the driver (Fuhrman) costs at least 1 Gulden per day plus room, meals and money to return to the origin.

      <67> In the High Tatras one travels by foot, while it is easy to find transportation via rafts on the Vah, Tisa and Poprad from Stara Lubovna downstream, and on the Hron from Banska Bystrica down, as well as on the Marisech and Korpos.

      It is beneficial to travel with a local driver on a wagon with straw bundles and at a relaxed speed, as there are no springs to soften the cobblestones.

      In 1839, surveys started for the railroad from Pest to Debrecen with a possible branch to Miscolc and Tokay. 1840 plans were completed and laid before the government …..
      <69,70> dress of the hungarians
      <71> highwaymen & robbers
      <76 > The timber itself has such little value that a cubic klafter of 216 cubic shoes has a worth of 20-30 Sgr. There are other years in which the value is notably better, through oak logs and Knuppern will bring in profit through one’s own work or through leasing to speculators, namely Jews. One would make a mistake to picture these woods to have the same monotone as our <German?> northern forests. Here stands of tall trees alternate with broad fields that will be used as hut and mountain meadow for animal husbandry, then again there are thick impenetrable bushes and noisy mountain streams, standing water, hills and valleys, timber forests and second grown areas. This picturesque landscape is more heavily populated with herds of cattle and sheep than human habitation. <77> These herds lead a beautiful life on the open fields, the melody of their bells ringing day in and day out, with the springs and the meadows in the woods next to the oversized Schledorn thorn hedges or in the seasonal corrals where they will spend the night. These corralled fields will be fertilized through their droppings, and in the future they will be farmed and harvested. Another use of these wooded areas is for the hunting stands that are very well cared for and are increasing in number. It is not seldom that whole herds of deer and red deer together in the field, seemingly having lost their normal wariness. <78>
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