Felix Fabri doesn’t write about his physical surroundings and he only identifies his geographical location by the names of the towns and cities that he visits. Instead, Fabri is focused on the people he meets: who they are, whether they’re traveling, where they’re from, etc. In his section on Venice, Fabri describes the other travelers he meets at the inn of St. George where he’s staying, identifying them by occupation, gender, social position, and which country they’ve traveled from. He is most interested in noting the religious figures he comes across, mentioning the “priests, monks, and laymen, gentle and simple, from Germany, from Gaul, and France, and especially two bishops” (3). He is mostly interested in people who are also embarking on pilgrimages. At one point, he describes six wealthy old women who are planning to embark on their own pilgrimage. He seems to admire them, writing that he ‘was astonished at [their] courage” (3). Fabri also mentions the noblemen he’s traveling with, describing them as “proud” and “haughty” (3-4). The nobles were displeased by the old women embarking on the pilgrimage with them, and refused to share the same ship with them. Fabri disagrees with this sentiment, prompting him to label the nobles “proud” and “haughty”. He goes so far as to write that he hopes the old women’s “holiness would render our voyage safer” (4).
In terms of the practical aspects of Fabri’s journey, he keeps track of how he gets from place to place and what he does there. In this section, Fabri writes that they arrive in Venice by barque, and ask about inns for knights and pilgrims when they arrive at the Fondaco de’ Tedeschi. Fabri never mentions the date or time or how long he resides and any given place. He only briefly mentions the practical details of his journey and doesn’t feel the need to elaborate.
I found Fabri’s reaction to the traveling old women very interesting considering the time and place he inhabits. Whereas other people met these women with scorn and displeasure, Fabri found them to be all the more admirable and holy for their gender and age. He writes about their love for the Holy Land and their courage, impressed with their willingness to go through the trials and hardships of travel despite their age and lack of strength. He is obviously very religious and concerned with his own piety as well as the piety of others. His descriptions of these women seem to say that he finds suffering and the conquering of tribulation to be what makes pilgrimage holy. Fabri also mentions how their “love for the Holy Land” is what allowed these women to “forget their own frailty” and undergo “the labours of strong men” (3). He finds these women holy because they are motivated by love and that love gives them the strength to overcome the labor of travel. Given the way he views these women, we can assume that Fabri is mostly concerned with other people’s motivations to go on a pilgrimage and that he highly values devotion to God and admires people’s ability to overcome hardship in the name of God.