Akko was one of those little serendipitous type places or moments: when you're least expecting something memorable--and suddenly there it is. As I was looking at the paint names back in Minneapolis, my mind wandered (as its nature) and I started thinking about Akko and if I were naming it a paint color...what color would it be? Part of it was the setting, obviously--it was going on sunset when I arrived there--with the sun's rays shining below a cloud, the waves crashing in to the wall (it was not a beach), a lighthouse in the distance, ships on the horizon. Alas! My blog picture does not do it justice--because you can't feel the cool sea air, or hear the waves. But that's not the whole picture. The other part of Akko was the spice shop I visited, which has been there for several generations.
At Akko, there is a wonderful market and one of its entry points (from the port) is through a tunnel. Cut in natural stone, it was once used by the ancient Templars who guarded European pilgrims arriving in the Holy Land to visit holy places. That's a "trip" in itself--but once inside, the herb, spice, and coffee house I was headed to, turned out to be like from a dream. It made me think of a quote from Kipling: "The place was packed as full of smells as a bale is of cotton." But it was not like being in a modern day Penzey's with its own array of lovely aromas; this place had a... patina of scent...if that's possible--of layers and layers of ancient herbs and spices...cardamom, curry, sumac, and cinnamon...It felt like a little magic and alot of mystery all swirled together. I could have spent hours (friends know I would have if given the opportunity). But I did the next best thing. I bought several spices. The proprietor weighed them out on a scale, packaged them up with labels, and explained how to store and use them: store in glass, sprinkle with a spoon. He gave me a quick lesson on how to make the hot curry (a glass of orange juice is key).
I haven't tried the curry yet--but every morning since I've been home, I have made myself toast sprinkled with sugar and some of the cardamom I bought there. It never fails to transport me back to that shop--a time travel place--full of past and present--and all the other women who once shopped there, or still do--cooking up meals, and memories. Meantime, I still haven't come up with a "color name" that aptly describes Akko.