Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah by Tim Mackintosh-Smith Download (read online) free eBook (PDF ePub Kindle)

Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah

Ibn Battutah was the greatest traveller of the pre-mechanical age, journeying for 29 years and covering three times the ground Marco Polo covered. Tim Mackintosh-Smith follows the first stage of Ibn Battutah’s journey, from Tangier to Constantinople. Destinations include and Islamic Butlin’s in the Egyptian desert, Assassin castles in Syria, the Kuria Maria Islands in the

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    Sovotchka

    Aug 03, 2012

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Shelves:
    region-africa

    This is going to be a really objective review.
    The book is about an intelligent and witty Englishman who travels through the Middle East in the footsteps of a great Islamic travel writer.
    Alright, so I lied. I would have given five stars without reading a single page. But I did read it, and I discovered some other reasons for doing so :).

    Tim Mackintosh-Smith starts out from Ibn Battutah’s underwhelming tomb in Tangiers, Morocco, and journeys through Egypt, Syria, Oman, Turkey and the Crimea. Ibn B

    Tim Mackintosh-Smith starts out from Ibn Battutah’s underwhelming tomb in Tangiers, Morocco, and journeys through Egypt, Syria, Oman, Turkey and the Crimea. Ibn Battutah himself had travelled further than that, even reaching China, but these places offer more than enough material for one book.
    The author recounts Ibn Battutah’s writings, meets people who can tell him more, and then compares what he has heard to his own experiences. This leads to an interesting portrait. You see how difficult it is to travel those routes today, but that it was way more difficult in the 14th century. The perception of travellers, of the importance of culture and religion has changed as well, and it is fascinating to see this documented.

    Mackintosh-Smith brings his own sense of humour, which is something I always love in a travel writer. He’s not offensive, but he is very cheeky at times. In all his observations you can feel his love for the subject, and it is always an enjoyable read for me when I can see that the author enjoyed it.

    Every now and then, his explanations are accompanied by illustrations, done by Martin Yeoman. They feel like the sort of unfinished sketches you would do if you saw something on a journey and that makes them feel authentic. (I also like it because I can then imagine what the finished painting – or place – might look like and as a result I spend more time with those than with finished paintings.)

    Mackintosh-Smith has also presented a travel documentary for the BBC that follows this book. After reading this I really want to see it.

    When Tim Mackintosh-Smith reaches the end of his journey in Istanbul, there isn’t a lot of reflection. (There isn’t in the rest of the book either. This isn’t about finding yourself, it is about tje joy of experiencing foreign places.)
    Indeed, there isn’t even a real goodbye. Mackintosh-Smith seems to think that he will be back in Ibn Battutah’s footsteps before long. I would gladly join him. And I can do so, Hall of a Thousand Columns and Landfalls: On the Edge of Islam with Ibn Battutah are out already.
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