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Following Marco Polo's Silk Road: An…

Following Marco Polo's Silk Road: An Enthralling Story of Travels…

by Brian Lawrenson

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I found this book quite disappointing - not enough Marco Polo history, too much of "what we ate, saw, where we stayed, what we bought and where it is in our current house." ( )
  CarolynSnow | Mar 17, 2011 |
This second edition of the travel narratives describes a couple's travels along the mythical Silk Road as they follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo.
  brianlawrenson | Feb 28, 2010 |
First, I have to admit to being a complete travel book junkie. My wife and I, having done our share of traveling and trekking in our many years, are always interested in the experiences, adventures and observations of others. I will also admit that when I first scanned this work I did have some reservations as Brian Lawrenson has taken a somewhat different approach in that this journey he and his wife took spanned a twenty five year period. I had grave doubts. Fortunately I pushed on and found this to be an absolutely delightful read and the author actually made the documentation of the split journey work; and I must say work quite well! It fit seamlessly and actually enhanced their story in many ways.

The Lawrensons started their travels; roughly following some of the routes which have been documented in the travels of Marco Polo, and other travelers of the Silk Road throughout history, in the city of Venice and from there proceeded to Istanbul, Turkey by train where they began their adventuresome odyssey. It was at this point that I was completely hooked and it was at this point that all of the future observations and comments of the author were validated for me. My wife and I lived in and near Istanbul for a number of years; traveled extensively throughout the country of Turkey during that time; and literally lived with the Turkish people. The author completely nailed the essence of the country perfectly. His descriptions were completely accurate and he even got his history correct! I figured if he got this portion right, then the rest of the book must be just as good…it was!

Brian Lawrenson is obviously one of those individuals with a keen sense of observation and certainly is able to articulate those observations in an informative and accurate manner. I might state right now, that his description of the food in the different countries and lands they traveled through is worth the price of the book alone! Not only am I a travel book junkie, I am also a food junkie and the more exotic and different the food, the better I like it. His descriptions of Turkish vegetable dishes were as good as his descriptions of famous landmarks. The author had me drooling on the pages chapter after chapter.

As this couple traveled through various countries, Turkey, Syria, Iran, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, China and Tibet, just to name a few, the observations of the peoples and cultures flow from the author’s pen. Always rather nonjudgmental, something I appreciated, the author never the less was able to convey his general love off people; all people, and he and his wife’s love of travel. We also get little mini history lessons as this couple go from country to country, city to city and between. Granted, these are small survey type lessons, but they are of the type that should stimulate the reader to search out and read works that cover the subject at a greater depth. I consider these little facts thrown in here and there as “learning seeds,” and always hope they will grow within the reader leading them to further study and reading.

Now I do not recommend this be used as a travel guide for the current adventurer; after all, some of this trip took place over twenty years ago and the political climate in this part of the word has changed greatly, some for the better, some for the worse. So have travel conditions. I know that in our travels in Turkey and Iran, which took place at least fifteen years before the authors, where much different than the Lawrensons’ were and things have even changed even more since that time. Never the less, it is interesting to compare then to now and I actually loved this aspect of the work.

For a good, mellow and entertaining read, a read that will actually enlighten you and increase your knowledge, this is certainly one you should pick up and add to your library. I understand that the author and his wife have taken other extended trips to other parts of the world and it would certainly be nice if we had an account of those also.

The author has been kind enough to give us a very nice reading list at the end of the book for those who want to learn more of this fascinating area of the world.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks ( )
  theancientreader | May 3, 2009 |
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The book, Following Marco Polo's Silk Road, is a personal account of a couple's journey as they follow the footsteps of the legendary traveller, Marco Polo. As independent travellers, they explore the lands and the people along the mythical Silk Road. This is a graphic account about the lives of the people that they met along the way. It is written with engaging humour, some historic fact and always a sense of adventure. Starting in Venice the birthplace of Marco Polo, the story tells of travelling through Turkey, Syrian, Jordon, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kashmir, India, Nepal and China to eventually reach Beijing. Travel, adventure and history: Following Marco Polo's Silk Road is a winning combination for any globe-trotter or armchair traveller.… (more)

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