In the early 19th century there was a huge surge forward in travel of all kinds. Queen Victoria's accession in 1837 came barely a year after John Murray's first guidebook was published. Then in 1838 Bradshaw's famous portable railway timetable appeared. In 1841 Thomas Cook, the world's first travel agent, organised its first tour (from London to Leicester and back by train). The age of mass tourism had arrived. Side by side with it another phenomenom began to develop: exploration to wilder shores and uncharted lands. This is the focus of Nicholas Murray's fascinating book which draws upon the extraordinary stories of Livingstone's journey across Africa; Burton and Speke reaching Lake Tanganyika; John Stuart crossing Australia from south to north; Livingstone reaching the Zambezi; Richard Burton's travels across Arabia, and countless others' extraordinary and brave expeditions.
Writer, adventurer, ex-teacher and veteran of umpteen travel disasters, Will Randall has fallen off donkeys in Spain and out of canoes in the Solomon Islands, but none of this has prepared him for a disastrous season as a ski-bum with a posse of raucous, hard-drinking ex-students.
Dismally unfashionable and hopeless at skiing, Randal finds that his stay in the charming Alpine backwater of mont St Bernard brings a whole host of new opportunities for domestic catastrophe, romantic rejection and public humiliation, including a stint as a chalet girl and an encounter with a Russian oligarch and his hair-raising entourage.
Wry, self-deprecating and deliriously funny, ANOTHER LONG DAY ON THE PISTE is a rollercoaster of a travel adventure and essential apres-ski reading.
Will Randall travels with a purpose, as well as an outrageous sense of fortune. In INDIAN SUMMER he found himself, by chance, having the extraordinary experience of helping slum schoolchildren put on a play to help save their school. In Botswana he was taken up by a headmaster to teach a class of six year olds at The River of Life school. They are football crazy and one of Will's jobs is to take them to play neighbouring (sometimes as much as 100 miles away) schools. Camping en-route or staying in farms and rural villages, often travelling by foot or dug-out punts, thousands of antelope, elephant, buffalo and zebra follow their progress. The sound of lions, leopards and hyenas become the soundtrack of their dreams. Against all the odds they find themselves preparing for the Grand Final of the season - the titanic clash with arch rivals, Victoria Falls Primary school.
Both an endearing personal story and a travel book about a little-known but highly successful country, BOTSWANA TIME will win new fans for both Will Randall and the extraordinary country of Botswana.
PLAYING CARDS IN CAIRO is a fly-on-the-wall account - like THE BOOKSELLER OF KABUL - of life (for western readers) in a strange and exotic environment. Hugh Miles lives in Cairo and is engaged to an Egyptian woman. Twice a week he plays cards with a small group of Arab, Muslim women and through this medium he explores their lives in modern Cairo, the greatest of Arab cities. It is a secretive, romantic, often deprived but always soulful existence for the women as they struggle with abusive husbands and philandering boyfriends. The book is a window onto a city - and a way of life - which is at a crucial juncture in its history. Hugh Miles, who knows the Arab world intimately, is the perfect guide.
From London to New York, Ewan and Charley chased their shadows through Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia, across the Pacific to Alaska, then down through Canada and America. But as the miles slipped beneath the tyres of their big BMWs, their troubles started. Exhaustion, injury and accidents tested their strength. Treacherous roads, unpredictable weather and turbulent politics challenged their stamina. They were chased by paparazzi in Kazakhstan, courted by men with very large guns in the Ukraine, hassled by the police, and given bulls' testicles for supper by Mongolian nomads.
And yet despite all these obstacles they managed to ride more than twenty thousand miles in four months, changing their lives forever in the process. As they travelled they documented their trip, taking photographs, and writing diaries by the campfire. Long Way Round is the result of their adventures - a fascinating, frank and highly entertaining travel book about two friends riding round the world together and, against all the odds, realising their dream.