Around The World In Eighty Days [Paperback]
- Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date:
- 25 June 2009
- Travel Writing
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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.
Michael Palin's diary of his trip around the world to try and recreate the fictional voyage was entertaining and very illuminating.I listened to the unabridged audio version of this read by the author and it definitely felt like a companion piece to the series. Even though the series came out a long time ago, I definitely want to get it and watch it.
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