Warm mem­o­ries

Smell of Fanta evokes mag­i­cal mix of vodka and a beau­ti­ful bay

Central and North Burnett Times - - EXPLORE - Trav­el­ling Tales with Ann Rickard

ASK any trav­eller what it is that evokes a strong mem­ory of a place and he will tell you it’s not the many pho­tos he took, rather the smells.

The sense of smell is so pow­er­ful, it takes you back in time to a place you vis­ited and en­joyed, even if it was decades ago.

I can never go past a laven­der bag in a gift shop with­out be­ing in­stantly whipped back to Provence in sum­mer when the fields were a sea of pur­ple to the hori­zon and the fra­grance per­me­ated ev­ery­thing.

When­ever I smell gar­lic min­gled with tomato and seafood I am once again walk­ing the streets of Nice where ev­ery hole-in-the-wall bistro seemed to be serv­ing

moules mariniere out on the foot­path to a busy crowd of cus­tomers.

One whiff of ver­mouth and I am taken back to that first and most mag­i­cal time I vis­ited Venice more than 40 years ago.

Ob­vi­ously ver­mouth was the drink du jour – its herby aroma wafted from ev­ery tiny bar in ev­ery busy street.

Let me pass by a char­grill, and there I am, right back in a tav­erna on a Greek is­land wait­ing for my oc­to­pus to cook.

One un­mis­tak­able smell that takes me back to a heady day spent sail­ing in a wooden craft in Ha­long Bay is an un­likely one: the sweet fake or­ange smell of Fanta.

There we were, a group of travel writ­ers sail­ing on the still and green and se­duc­tive wa­ters of Ha­long Bay, when some­one (could it have been me?) pro­duced a bot­tle of vodka. The vodka was warm. There was no ice or fridge on board, and the only thing avail­able to put with it was warm Fanta.

As travel writ­ers, they quickly im­pro­vised, found some paper cups and drank the aw­ful warm mix as though it was nec­tar from the gods.

It was the beauty of the bay, the glory of the is­lands, the tran­quil­lity of the area, the over­all heady air of the ex­otic, washed down with warm vodka and Fanta that made us so happy that day, and later had us jump­ing off the top deck of the wooden boat like bois­ter­ous teenagers into wa­ter ev­ery bit as warm as the fizzy Fanta.

It may not be a mem­ory to ap­peal to most, but it is a mag­i­cal one for me.

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