Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure

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Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure

Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure

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This was to be their longest journey, an epic eleven-day journey across the vastness that is Siberia before it neatly dropped them off in China. WINNER OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER AWARD FOR BEST TRAVEL BOOKSHORTLISTED FOR THE STANFORD DOLMAN TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD'Monisha Rajesh has chosen one of the best ways of seeing the world. So the couple hop on the Eurostar armed with Eurail passes and a fairly detailed plan for travels through Asia and America – but for some reason almost no plan for Europe, which quickly causes them problems.

Prepare for a very fine ride’ Michael PalinFrom the cloud-skimming heights of Tibet’s Qinghai railway to silk-sheeted splendour on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Around the World in 80 Trains is a celebration of the glory of train travel and a witty and irreverent look at the world. After flying to Vancouver they head east to Toronto, travelling 2,775 miles on The Canadian, “the most efficient way to absorb the vastness of the world’s second-largest country in one sitting”. I was often afraid that I'd lose the will to continue reading it till the end but I managed to wrap this up in a week's time. Packing up her rucksack - and her fiance, Jem - Monisha Rajesh embarks on an unforgettable adventure that takes her from London's St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond.

Monisha Rajesh is a British journalist whose writing has appeared in Time magazine, the New York Times , the Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph , in which she wrote a column about her journey around the world. Born in Norfolk and mostly raised in Yorkshire - with a brief stint in Madras - she currently lives in London with her husband and daughter. Monisha tells us how much she loves train travel, it's in her blood, she just has to drop everything and travel the world for 7 months by train. They then catch the Trans-Mongolian Railway to Beijing, an 11-day journey including stopovers in Irkutsk, Siberia, to visit Lake Baikal (“the deepest, oldest and largest freshwater lake in the world”) and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which turns out to be something of a disappointment: “The city’s old culture … had collapsed under the might of … KFCs and an Imax.

We always read up about the history and learnt a lot about the particular country ourselves before going.But it wasn't long before she was carefully plotting a route that would cover 45,000 miles - almost twice the circumference of the earth - coasting along the world's most remarkable railways; from the cloud-skimming heights of Tibet's Qinghai railway to silk-sheeted splendour on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

It just lacked a warmth of personality to it, I know it's a non-fiction book but I was still hoping for a story, not just an advanced version of that school assignment "What I did on my holidays. Entertaining 45,000 mile journey via rail to Europe, Asia, North America by a British journalist and her fiance. This was Rajesh’s second epic train adventure, as she had previously travelled alone around India (also in 80 trains). With their attempt to be spontaneous, their journey gets off to a rocky start of fines and fees that makes her writing about Europe decidedly gloomy.Not at all what I was hoping for, I was hoping to travel without travelling but what I got was a book about judgemental and nieve girl who doesn’t seem to plan very well and comes across as very lazy. It shouldn’t have taken more than three hours from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, but we broke down three more times, finally stopping in the middle of the jungle where creepers with pink flowers dripped down towards the tracks. This one is hard to rate - interesting read at times but I did find it hard to get through sometimes, and just wasn’t what I expected. Though it took me a while to get into, I picked the book back up this week and couldn't put it down until I finished. Despite Rajesh’s gripes about some of my favourite places in the world to take trains, this book succeeding in rekindling my love for rail travel and my very real wish to do more of it.

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