mukikamu

The Armchair Traveler Club

Archive for February, 2007

NICK MIDDLETON: GOING TO EXTREMES

Posted by mukikamu on February 28, 2007

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With the quick development of the internet, personal travelogues have spread. Many people nowadays have websites depicting their journeys around the world. It is a good way to post pictures and share experiences, however the quality and knowledgeability of these writings remain very mixed.

I was very excited about Nick Middleton‘s book, as it seemed to have an interesting concept (going to the places on earth with the most extreme climatical features) therefore, appealed to my geographic vein. The author is an Oxford don, so I figured he would supply enough interesting facts to go with the stories. I was deceived. There is no harm in trying to simplify science and present it in an easily digestable way, but I somehow felt that the writer has been sitting in a dark study for years before coming out to the light to make amazingly non-amazing discoveries about the world. His best stories are from Oymyakon in Siberia (the coldest place on earth), where he takes a dip in a lake that is solidly frozen. Probably the disappointment is partly my fault. I should have read the book as a simple travel diary and I would have quite enjoyed it. Plus the translation to Hungarian was dreadfully poor.  I hear Nick has other books and a TV show too. I wonder…

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Posted in AFRICA, AMERICA, ASIA, Books, Chile, Etiophia, India, Russia, South America, Travelers | Leave a Comment »

LONG WAY ROUND

Posted by mukikamu on February 28, 2007

Ewan and Charley are good friends and fun-loving lads. They managed to execute a dream that many have on dull office days, namely to get away for weeks, get on a motorbike and let the hair blow in the wind. Motoring around the world eastwards from London, through Siberia and North America sounds romantic and adventurous indeed, but can turn out to be challenging for idealists. In fact you realize how luxuriously lazy your life is, when you decide to give it up and fight the elements and the tarnac lacking roads of Siberia. As a bonus, you might get to be life-long enemies with your best friend. But of course, you asked for it.

First of all, I hate motorbikes. If their is something that drives me mad is the loud roar of an engine and I can’t imagine anything more disturbing in nature than this devilish machine. Secondly, I haven’t seen the TV series that documents the trip, however I read the travelogue and am sure that the series must be better. Little is written about the places our heros press through; the focus is more on the adventure, the personal experiences and the spirit of independent travel. Part of the attraction naturally is Ewan McGregor, who is a likeable chap and an undeniable celebrity. In this unique case therefore, I suggest that pictures speak better than words.

Oh, yes and they are setting off again in 2007. This time to Africa. Watch these spaces (and their website) …

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Posted in ASIA, Books, England, EUROPE, Mongolia, North America, Russia, Slovakia, Travelers, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

MARCO POLO

Posted by mukikamu on February 9, 2007

Everybody knows his name, yet how many have read his book? It’s quite a volume I must say, but it’s mandatory literature for airmchair travelers. Persia, China, Mongolia, Tibet, India and Venice in the XIIIrd Century. A priceless historical documentary as well as magical, fairy-tale like adventures.

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Posted in Books, Travelers | Leave a Comment »

DERVLA MURPHY

Posted by mukikamu on February 9, 2007

So increadibly little is available about Irish Dervla Murphy who is one of the humblest traveler of the XXth Century. I have read her book about Ethiopia (In Ethiopia With a Mule) and was thrilled by her monk like solitude and persistance. She travelled the world in the ’60s all by herself, stubbornly fighting the elements and going to the edge of her strenght many times when faced with extreme climatical challenges. As far as I know other travel diaries are available from her with exotic destinations. Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, Eight Feet in the Andes and Muddling through in Madagascar just to name a few. Check them all out here. She was an especially hard lady I would care to know more about. Her most biographical work (Through Siberia by Accident) should give interesting clues about her motives and nature. Read in One foot in Laos here!

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Posted in AFRICA, ASIA, Books, Etiophia, India, Laos, Madagascar, Nepal, Peru, Russia, South America, Tibet, Travelers | 2 Comments »

MICHAEL PALIN

Posted by mukikamu on February 5, 2007

michael-palin.jpg High time to pay tribute to my much esteemed Mr. Palin who undoubtedly is the travel hero of our times. I am currently reading his lately published diaries from the Monty Python times and am again amazed by what an enchanting and good-natured human being he is.  He manages to fill travel documentaries with warmth naturally avoiding being commonplace and banal with a healthy sense of self irony. When most travelling showmen are directly rude and definately not funny when talking with locals, Michael Palin manages to highlight the charm and humor in his encounters with foreign cultures. I am not a singular fan I must say. He has a very community enhancing website where praise and admiration is in abundance.  His books, DVDs and audio material is available everywhere (there is quite a Palin merchandise out there), so he is certainly not a hidden gem or the great discovery of this blog, but my efforts to promote travel books would definately be incomplete without him. I can’t really make a pick from his books, the best is to start from Around the world in 80 days and work systematically through to his last appeared work Himalaya. He is currently working on a BBC  series about the “New Europe” which leaves me inpatient to see what he has to say about my homeland, Hungary. 

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PS.: I am also trying to get my hands on a DVD where Palin interviews my other contemporary hero David Attenborough ( I admire him so much that I should have written his name fully with capital letters :-)), so stay tuned for an even more subjective praise for British entertainers soon. (My family is unanimous in believing that I am obsessed with British gentlemen and BBC documentaries. Just that you know.)

Posted in AFRICA, Antarctica, ASIA, AUSTRALIA & THE PACIFIC, Books, EUROPE, North America, South America, Travelers | 1 Comment »