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The Zacherl Moth Damage Establishment in Vienna  |  The Journey of Anna Zacherl

On September 22nd, 1861 she set forth from Vienna on a journey to liquidate the company Zacherl in Tbilisi. After that, a salesroom under the name “Das Mottenfrass-Etablissement aus Tiflis in Asien” would be set up in Vienna.


On the 23rd gypsies played music on the ship to Galati. She watched a Walachian lady petting a rather ungainly dog. She killed time by observing the other passengers and listening to the various languages: French, Walachian, and Russian. One of the ladies, a Walachian, smoked a cigar in the salon. She most likely did not like that because this was where the female sensibilities had reached their limits.


On the 25th the steamboat arrived. What a jam it was. No talk about getting a cabin, those were for families of higher rank who paid a deftly price for them. The dining parlor turned into a dormitory. One half was for the ladies, the other for the gents. They undressed all the way to the petticoat. Bashfulness also has its limits.


On the 26th they arrived in Orsova at 2am. The peaks of the rocks were towering out of the water. She went to the steamboat office and learned to her despair that 179 suitcases were left behind, but would be sent swiftly.

 

On the 27th the shipper told her she had to stay another two days in order to go on with her goods. So she took a horse carriage to the Walachian town of Czernica. The bread that the people ate there was black like the soil. She stayed at an inn called “Zum Herkules,” and ate chicken with paprika.


The 28th. Today was her 26th birthday. A Prussian played a small concert on his violin for her. At 5 o’clock the ship departed. And so her birthday elapsed.


On the 29 they came ashore at the Turkish fort Vidin. They made a small tour through town. The Turkish women were veiled. You could only see their eyes. They looked like ghosts from the cemetery in the opera “Robert le diable.” The men got a Turkish shave.

October 5th. As a quiet observer - which she was - on the steamer “Merkur” on the way to Constantinople she found it interesting to examine the Turkish women more closely.  They stemmed from the upper class, the high society. While amongst themselves they do not use the veil, but as soon as a gentleman opens the door to the lounge, they cover their faces. The family consists of a mother, a daughter and a servant of color. They were always delighted when she came to visit. They conversed through pantomime. They dressed her up as a Turkish woman, which pleased her enormously. You should have seen her. She looked so heroic, like a ghost on a spooky night. The Turkish women had to stay in the lounge all day so no man could see or talk to them. She would have been punished severely had she dared to go up to the dining parlor.

 

On the 9th they were woken up at 5am so that they would not miss the pleasant tour from the mouth of the Bosporus, a canal stretching from the ocean to Constantinople.  They lay at anchor in Galata and she ordered a room in the hotel “Stadt Wien.”

 

 

On the 16th she spent half the day writing. In the afternoon she got some victuals for her stay in Tbilisi. In the evenings she was invited to the Imperial theater, which was more beautiful and rich than she had ever seen before. It was like “Arabian Nights.”

 

The 20th. On her trip she chatted a bit with a Persian man in French, but only a little because she was not in great spirits. The rocking of the ship did not agree with her at all. There were mainly Turks, Persians, Georgians, and Circassians present. 

 

On the 22nd at 8am, they arrived in Trabzon. She checked the status of her goods. The ship hands flung the cases around as if they were stones, and many of them broke. The goods were mended and loaded onto a boat to Poti. She had spent the whole day checking it.

 

On the 11th at 6am, the journey continued. She got over the good coffee with cream and got used to tea for the near future.  At 6pm they arrived in Bellagori. It was a beautiful valley in the Caucasian Mountains. They zigzagged slowly up the mountains until they were twice as high as St. Stephen’s Cathedral. What an impressive view!

 

On November 15, 1861 she finally arrived in Tbilisi and eagerly drove through its streets. It was 7pm before she arrived at her depot and shop in Tbilisi. She was greeted warmly by a bouquet, a festive meal and numerous verses. Trembling with excitement, she could speak only very little in the beginning.