Oct 5, 2011 2:41:19 AM
Greatest historical journeys: part two
In the second instalment taken from Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Experiences, we look at three more great historical journeys. So pack your compass, shoe your donkey and step out onto the trails of these famous travellers.
Charles Darwin: Voyage of the Beagle
British naturalist Charles Darwin set sail in 1831 on a five-year odyssey aboard the HMS Beagle to observe and document the natural environment. His Journal and Remarks was published in 1839 and is popularly known as ‘the Voyage of the Beagle’. He travelled to South America, the Galápagos Islands, Tahiti and Australia before heading home again via the Keeling Islands. His notes on biology, geology and anthropology were, in hindsight, the precursors to his world-changing ideas on evolution.
Get involved with the Beagle Project, which aims to build a replica of HMS Beagle and repeat Darwin’s epic journey.
Alexander the Great
Deemed ‘Great’ by some and ‘Grotesque’ by others, Alexander III was probably the most successful military commander of the ancient world (and modern times to boot). His conquests took him and his armies across 16 countries from Greece to India. Alexander’s period of conquests spanned almost a decade and included the defeat of the Persian Empire and the invasion of India. And he did so on a magic horse, between untangling mythical puzzles, losing friends and lovers, and variously being declared a god and a destroyer.
Start at Pella, where Alexander was born; mosaics from the palace are still intact. The Pella museum has artefacts from local archaeological sites.
Travel was in the blood for Marco Polo (1254-1324), whose father was also a well-known explorer. Born in Venice, Marco sailed along the west coast of Greece to Turkey, and followed the Silk Road through the Middle East and Central Asia to China. There is some speculation as to the extent of Marco’s travels (which he put at over 39,000km), with sceptics accusing him of being something of a fibber. Were they just jealous?
Be inspired by two filmmakers who have retraced the whole 40,000km journey. Pick your starting point along Marco’s original route.
Lonely Planet’s Great Journeys presents more than 70 of the greatest journeys you could undertake, from ancient trails, like Machu Picchu, through to modern classics, like Route 66.