You would wish every child to have an uncle like Richard Burton. He was not only immensely knowledgeable, but also a great story teller. This book tells about the first part of his trip to Mecca and Medina. Sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society, Burton made this trip in 1853. He was not the first Westerner to make the trip to Islam’s two holy cities, but it was at that time still a very rare event. Burton, fluent in Arabic and a host of other Asian languages, travelled disguised as a sufi and a doctor with a group of pilgrims and locals from Alexandria to Medina. This book covers that journey.
It is quite a traditional travel book, i.e. covering the writer’s endeavours to get from A to B, and all the problems he encountered on the way (albeit with lots and lots of footnotes on a rather eclectic list of subjects). When in Medina he visited the various sacred sites in and around the city, saying the required prayers in each location. This does not make the book boring, however. There are enough observations (as politically incorrect as the Victorian age now seems) to keep you captivated....Continua