Around the World in Eighty Days Paperback
'The pace of this kind of travel has not much changed since Fogg set out in 1872.
Trains may be a little faster, but there are certainly no high-speed rail links yet across India, China or the USA.
Passenger services have practically disappeared from the world's shipping lanes ...Recourse to air travel, even as a convenient means of escape, was not allowed.' Following the route taken by Phileas Fogg 115 years earlier, Michael Palin set out from the Reform Club to circumnavigate the world. The rules were simple, but nothing else about the trip was straightforward...From a tour of Venice on a rubbish barge to ship spotting at the Suez Canal and the bicycle rush hour and snake snacks in China, this is an unparalleled tribute to man's ability to make life difficult for himself.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 256 pages, 60
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date: 25/06/2009
- Category: Travel writing
- ISBN: 9780753823248
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Review by jcbrunner
To recover from his traumatic eating experience on the wonderful A Fish called Wanda, ex-Monty Python Michael Palin chose to replicate Phileas Fogg and Passepartout's epic journey around the world in eighty days in 1988, chaperoned by two BBC teams. Air travel has made the eighty days restriction pointless. To somewhat even the odds, Palin restricted himself to land- and waterborne transportation and followed Fogg's route hopping from former British possession to the next. The secret to winning this challenge is to refrain from using the slow water transport. A train will easily and comfortably carry its passengers at over 100 kilometers per hour; at sea, he will be lucky to exceed 30 kilometers per hour. An optimized route (if one neglects the Trans-Siberian route) would not embark in Venice and travel via Athens to Egypt but take the train to Istanbul and then drive through Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Palin lost too much time in the early legs of his journey - quite to the benefit of his readers, though as the crossing of the Pacific and the Atlantic are both long and boring. Thus the first half of the book is much more interesting than the second half.In typical British fussiness, the Reform Club, famous starting and endpoint of the challenge, did not let Palin enter its hallowed grounds. One part that has also changed during the last twenty years is that a modern host could not indulge in Palin's constant craving for alcoholic beverages.