by Caroline Sausser

When you ride Soarin’ in Walt Disney World’s Epcot, puffs of scent come out during the different scenes: jasmine above the Taj Mahal, plumeria over Hawaii, or my favorite grass smell beneath Mount Kilimanjaro. Of course, if you look to your left or right, you remember you are, in fact, just on a ride. But one thing that Disney got right is that smells are a crucial part of experiencing locations. I won’t be able to take it with me, but the smells of the Old City of Akko will always be in the back of my mind when I remember these streets.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Walking through the main markets of the old city, a myriad of spices hit me. I don’t think I could even begin to pick out all the different spices for sale, but I notice the heat of whole red peppers, the slight pepper of paprika, the bite of fresh ginger, and the slightest hint of turmeric rounding it out. Imagine if your favorite Eastern Mediterranean restaurant accidently dropped every single spice on the floor in its kitchen. It smells like that. Even though there is such a wide variety of notes wafting through the air, the aromas never clash, but combine harmoniously into my favorite smell. I wish I could just bottle it up and take home!

Akko is a port city, so just about anywhere you go in the Old City has the undeniable smell of fish: fresh fish still dripping with sea water, fish cooked right at the front of restaurants along the streets, and even the smell of too-warm fish, a sharp, pungent odor with a sharpness that won’t let you pay attention to anything else.

But of course, people cook more than fish in the Old City. Falafel sizzles in hot pans of oil at nearly every turn, and spits of meat drip with juices, beckoning you to try some. Bakeries here and there add the aroma of warmed sugar wafting by, and I occasionally catch a hint of my favorite spice, cinnamon.

We often don’t think to question what smells people experience when they go to new places. To those not present, they’re fleeting moments they can never experience as the person who was there did. In the end, fleeting moments of everyday life are what we are trying to capture in our excavations on the Tel. We may never know what those who lived there smelled walking through the streets, but fish isn’t a bad guess.

The smells of the places I’ve been forever color my experiences and memories of my time spent there. Though I could never fully describe my olfactory experience to another, it will always be there for me after I leave Akko this Saturday, whenever I catch a whiff of cinnamon, or peppers, or roasting meats and think back fondly to my time on the Tel.

Caroline Sausser
About Caroline Sausser
I am a Miami University student, Class of 2019. My majors are Classical Studies and Classical Languages, with a minor in Archaeology.

3 Comments

  • Julanne Sausser
    8:43 PM - 10 August, 2017

    Love the olfactory descriptions of what it is like to be there and the pictures to go with them! Can’t wait to see you Sunday and hear all about your time there–in person! xoxo143 Mom

  • Myrna Sausser
    9:36 PM - 10 August, 2017

    I know what you mean by the aroma of a place. It seems that every place I have traveled had its own distinctive smell no matter how faint. Looking forward to your return this weekend. Love you. Grandma Myrna

  • Maurene Newkirk
    1:14 AM - 11 August, 2017

    I have enjoyed your blogs, especially this one with the pictures. Looking forward to reading one when you get home. Oh yes I wish you safe travel. Love ya, Aunt Sissy and Uncle Chrtis

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