It seems to me that the Orientals rank high in the field of ethical wisdom. From earliest times they possessed a contentment with life, they smiled at the restless antics of the Occidental and lowered their heads in contemplative silence, content with what they had. ("Festina lente", 1928)
At the turn of the year 1898/1899 Hamsun embarked on a journey through Finland, via Russia to Turkey in the company of his then-wife, Bergljot Göpfert. The trip lasted six weeks and his experiences and impressions were afterwards collected and published in a humorous travel book, In Wonderland. Experienced and Dreamt in the Caucasus (1903).
Hamsun was attracted to the culture of the Orient and its value system. In the exotic East he found points of similarity with the peasant culture of his own childhood.
For Hamsun the Orient represented contemplative quiet, fatalism and harmony, as these qualities are expressed in the poem ”The Skerry” and the article "Festina lente". In the play Queen Tamara (1903) the plot takes its inspiration from Georgian history, which Hamsun had learnt something of during his journey to the Caucasus.