Cover image for Travels with a tangerine : a journey in the footnotes of Ibn Battutah
Travels with a tangerine : a journey in the footnotes of Ibn Battutah
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim, 1961-
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Welcome Rain Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
ix, 351 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
First published: London : J. Murray, 2001.
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G490 .M295 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Ibn Battutah, the best traveler of the pre-mechanical age, set out in 1325 from his native Tangiers on the pilgrimage to Mecca. Arabic scholar and award-winning travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith retraces the first stage of the Moroccan's eccentric journey, from Tangiers to Constantinople, traveling both in Ibn Battutah's footsteps and in the footnotes of his text.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A British expat long resident in Yemen, Mackintosh-Smith wrote Yemen: The Unknown Arabia(2000), appreciated by reviewers for its humor and discernment. He vindicates that reception in this absorbing time-out-of-joint travelogue that stretches from Morocco to Oman to the Crimea. The 1990s jostle the 1320s in this itinerary, for Mackintosh-Smith aims to see places visited centuries ago by Ibn Battutah, who wrote a venerable work of Arabic literature, the Travels.Starting in Battutah's home of Tangiers, the author seeks out the adventurer's tomb but, believing it is a fake, then seeks out a reliable source on Battutah, the most recent editor of his book. This palaver augurs happily for the entire narrative, for everyone the author meets perks up at the mention of Battutah, giving directions of varying accuracy to medieval mosques and tombs surrounded or obliterated by modern construction. The reader finishes wanting more; the good news is, there will be. The author intends to write sequels inspired by Battutah's voyages to India and China. Gilbert Taylor.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author (Yemen: The Unknown Arabia), a British Arabist who has lived in Yemen for the past 17 years, traces the footsteps of an extraordinary, but relatively unknown, medieval explorer. Ibn Battutah (1304-1368) grew up in Tangier within an educated family. At the age of 21, he embarked on a pilgrimage to Mecca and spent the next 30 years traveling throughout the Middle and Far East. When Mackintosh-Smith happened on a translated version of Battutah's travels, he was hooked and decided to make the same journey. This volume covers only the first part of Battutah's path, from Tangier to Constantinople, but has enough excitement, exotic details and information to satisfy the most exacting armchair traveler. The author brings his research skills, scholarship and respect for all cultures to bear on Battutah's adventures and his own. Written with humor and style, he describes how Battutah "schmoozed with sultans" in Denizli, Turkey. In Damascus, the author enjoys a brain burger for breakfast before visiting the Umayyad Mosque, a structure Battutah detailed in 10 pages and referred to as "the greatest Mosque on earth." Throughout this narrative, Mackintosh-Smith provides enough anecdotes about Battutah's knowledge of aphrodisiacs, the foods he ate, the hardships he endured, the people he met and, most tellingly, the wonders he beheld to bring this unique daredevil and his times to life. B&w illus. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In 1325, great Moroccan traveler Ibn Battutah set out on a 29-year pilgrimage from his native Tangiers to Mecca. In this studious and charming account, Arabic scholar Mackintosh-Smith, Thomas Cook Travel Book Award winner for Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land, attempts to retrace Ibn Battutah's route on the first stage of his legendary journey, cutting a wide swath from Tangiers to Constantinople via Egypt, Syria, Oman, Anatolia, and the Crimea. Mecca, which is verboten to the non-Muslim author, is not included. Mackintosh-Smith writes with a delectable wit, offering a fascinating glimpse into both the present-day and 14th-century Islamic worlds. He makes his experiences intelligible to the Western reader with numerous allusions, e.g., "Ibn Battutah was born not just in a medieval Age of Aquarius, but in its California." This captivating travel narrative may spur readers to tackle the original travels of Ibn Battutah. Recommended for all collections. Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Lust and lore
Morrocco - one end of the world the Delta - a dark and greenish country
Cairo - the Palace on Crimson Street upper Egypt - eastward from Edfu
Damascus - the shilling in the armpit
Nothern Syria - old men of the mountains
Oman - the coast of the fish-eaters
Dhofar - the importance of being Rasulid
Kuria Muria - minor monuments
Anatolia - Hajji Baba, the skystone and other mysteries the Crimea - 14th-century features
Constantinople - talking about Jerusalem