Marco Polo and his journey across the Silk Road to the Far East had always fascinated Tim Severin. When he was presented with an opportunity to follow in the explorers footsteps travelling from Venice across the Middle East to Afghanistan, he jumped at the chance. There was only one minor flaw in the plan, Tim and his companions would be travelling by motorbike and sidecar, but none of them had ever ridden a motorbike.
So begins the tale of their journey as they battle across deserts, through mountain passes overcoming floods, sandstorms and crashes. They even passed through the ominous sounding he Valley of the Assassins. Not only was riding the motorbike a struggle, the languages were a bit tricky for all three too. Severin even managed to squeeze in a camel ride seeking the famed apples of paradise in the Deh Bakri Pass.
This book is an enjoyable look at a world very different to ours today. But they were foolhardy. I cannot believe that none of them could ride a motorbike at the beginning. They had a little training, but still didn’t really gain a huge amount of competence throughout the journey. They did draw a lot from their trip, being on motorbikes they came to understand the people and culture of the countries that they visited much more than they would have done in a car or truck. Not a bad read; 2.5 stars