Pole to Pole by Michael Palin
Following "Around the World in 80 Days", this book accompanies Michael Palin's second travel series on BBC Television. It is a record of his continuous land and sea journey from the North Pole to the South Pole, following a given line of longitude - 30 degrees East. Air travel is allowed only as a last resort. The line of travel follows as closely as possible existing roads, rivers, railways and shipping routes, and for the most part the means of transport is provided by trains, trucks, ships, rafts, sledges, skidoos, buses, barges, bicycles and balloons. The difficulty, and the enjoyment, lie in accepting and overcoming the limitations which man and nature impose on an abstract line around the globe. The route is remarkably rich and varied. It embraces, amongst others, the CIS, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It starts and ends at the frozen poles and crosses the Equator, passing through such cities as St Petersburg, Istanbul, Luxor and Johannesburg. Palin and his crew witnessed history in the making during their journey, such as the end of communism in the USSR and the end of apartheid in South Africa.