Travels with a Tangerine – Tim Mackintosh-Smith

The first of my post-holiday reading (so watch the rate of consumption drop off!), and I decided to continue the travel theme. I’ve long been interested in the life, times and travels of Ibn Battutah, but I was put off by the rather dry academic texts which were all I could find……. until I discovered Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s tales his own 20th century travels in the footsteps of this travel-bug from Tangiers.

Starting from IB’s Moroccan homeland, in the far west of the arabian, muslim lands, Tim follows his trail to Mecca, with a short excursion to the Crimea. This sidetrip within the then muslim world made for interesting reading as H and I head off to Yalta at the end of September. In particular it highlighted the fact that the Crimea spent a substantial chunk of time as a Khanate, having been settled by a segment of the Mongol Hordes that converted to Islam. Not what you expect of part of the Ukraine….

Fascinating stuff, told with human insight by Yemen-based Tim Mackintosh-Smith. I’m very glad I’ve got Norton Rose’s leaving gift, Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah , ready and waiting on the bookshelf to provide coverage of further voyages, ever eastwards.

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