Pole to Pole, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


No.1 bestseller Michael Palin's epic journey from the North Pole to the South Pole. 'The cracked and fissured ice-pack offers no comfortable reassurance - no glimmer of any reward to the traveller who has made his way to the top of the world.

The Arctic Ocean, known to the Victorians as the Sea of Ancient Ice, stares balefully back as we descend towards it, reflecting nothing but the question: Why?' Michael Palin's adventure begins when he is enrolled in the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society...Travelling by train, truck, raft, Ski-Doo, barge, balloon and bicycle, Michael Palin experiences every extreme the world has to offer.

Braving the cold grip of the Arctic Circle, and the swirling snowstorms of Spitsbergen, Palin has to cope with friendly locals, occasional gunfire and his own unruly digestive system before he can finally stand in Scott's shoes at the South Pole, in the Land of the Midnight Sun.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304 pages, 60
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Travel writing
  • ISBN: 9780753823262



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Pole to Pole is the last of Michael Palin’s travel books that I have to read. (I still need to track down a copy of Hemingway Adventures in the future, but I may watch the series first as I’m not really into Hemingway). Set in the early 1990s (just before the fall of the USSR), Palin and the regular crew (including Basil and Clem) start at the North Pole with the aim of reaching the South Pole following the same longitude as closely as possible.This takes them through Greenland, Finland, Estonia, the Ukraine (both part of the USSR at the time), Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa with an unexpected detour to Chile and finally, Antarctica. As always, the trip is not without its problems (digestive issues appear to occur quite often) and there are witch doctors, African animals and strange living quarters. I haven’t seen the series in its entirety but I think it would be interesting particularly from a retrospective point of view – there have been big changes in Europe (especially the Ukraine and Estonia) and Africa (eg. Zimbabwe) since this was made.Once again, Palin can easily transport the reader to the time and place with interesting facts about the country as well as a great insight into the people.

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