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Michael Palin - Pole to Pole [DVD] 
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Michael Palin's second challenge is to travel from the North to the South Pole, by land and sea. The crossing is varied and frequently gruelling, passing through Russia days before the abortive Gorbachev coup, then on through Turkey, Egypt, Sudan and South Africa, hopefully arriving in time to catch the only ship from Africa to Antarctica.
In Pole to Pole, Michael Palin follows the success of his original global trek, Around the World in 80 Days, with a race against time to get from the North Pole to the South Pole. Palin balks at nothing, tries just about anything and always finds time for a spot of tea. En route Palin stars in a crayfish documentary in Novgorod, attends a baby-rolling ceremony at a Cypriot wedding, gets stuck in a Nile traffic jam, buys chicken in Wadi Halfa, goes camel shopping in Khartoum and is prescribed tree bark by a Mpulugu witch doctor to get rid of his evil shadow. Even when things go according to plan, Palin travels in unusual ways--by dogsled on Spitsbergen, barge down the Dnieper, train roof across the Nubian Desert, van through the Sudan, hot-air balloon over Kenya and down Lake Tanganyika on the "African Queen". With curiosity, courage and his standard aplomb, Palin plunges himself into the local cultures, beating himself with birch branches in a Finnish sauna and wallowing in mud in an Odessa sanatorium. It all makes for an armchair traveller's delight. --Tara Chace
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Top Customer Reviews
Pole to Pole is the second book in the trilogy that consists of 'Around the World in 80 days', 'Pole to Pole' and 'Full circle'. All three are interesting, vibrantly discribed, and written with the right amount of humour (not too much, but not too little)
This is a good travel/adventure book, and for a relatively low price too. You should buy this.
'Pole To Pole' does not have the same sense of deadline or urgency as '80 Days', but this is entirely self-explanatory, since the former was set around the travels of fictional Verne adventurer Fogg, who did in the book travel the world in that specific time. This time round, Palin does have the opportunity to spend more time on the places he thinks would be of most interest to the viewer, and the parts in Africa are especially captivating. Filmed during the famine and millitary oppression that still haunts Africa to this day, it is a clear and at some times brutal account of life in poverty stricken Africa.
This journey takes quite some time longer to complete than '80 Days' which is not surprising since they chose to follow the thirty degree longitude line in order to cover the most amount of land; and there is a great deal in this DVD. It was recorded in 1991, a year that saw a lot of change across the world, from Russia to Africa, and Palin brushes with this change and its effects on the people with his usual light hearted humour and optimism.
Inspirational and simplicity in itself: Michael this time sets out to journey from the North Pole to the South Pole following as closely as possible the 30 degree longitude line, without resorting to air travel until absolutely necessary. Well that's it in theory anyway!
The series is filmed in the excellent spontaneous fashion of 'Around the world', which adds a genuine touch of realism which is often missing from many documentary series. Follow Michael on his journey through 17 countries experiencing many cultures and traditions along the way, as well witnessing some major historical events unfolding such as the fall of the Soviet Union and the abolition of apartheid.
This adventure does not quite surpass around the world perhaps, but none the less is avid viewing. Michael as ever is in top form with his excellent witticisms at just the right moments, as well as his uncanny knack of mixing so well with people of all nationalities and backgrounds. Relive Michael and his team's trials and tribulations as they battle ever on against various obstacles to complete this colourful journey.
The series could almost be used as a modern history study due to the sheer momentum of events which took place in the countries they had travelled through. If only all learning was this much fun!
The Series is filmed as eight 50 minute episodes spread across 3 DVD discs with a post filming interview with Michael. Each episode is very nicely chaptered at the key scenes as well as an overall scene selection for all episodes on each disc. The picture quality is excellent, shame it is only presented in 4:3 aspect ratio rather than perhaps a wide screen format (but this is just a minor gripe). This really is an excellent accompaniment to 'Around the world', do your self a big favour and buy it!!! This is one you can watch many, many times.
I would say one of the books greatest virtues is that you can either read it a few days at a time (the book is divided into days instead of chapters, each a few pages long), or (as I did later on) you can read for hours without getting board. The pictures of the very talented basil are a constant and illuminating delight, yet the book is never so flooded with them that they feel like they are taking over form the writing, they fele more like a garnish than a marinade.
All in all, I highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having been a fan of Michael Palin since his days with Monty Python, it isn't difficult to sing the praises of his literary efforts. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
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