Oct 18, 2011 5:19:15 AM
Greatest historical journeys: part three
In the third and final 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.
Evelyn Waugh: Labels
Between marriages, the English satirical novelist Evelyn Waugh travelled restlessly. His cruise through the Mediterranean resulted in the book Labels (1930) – republished as part of a compendium called When the Going Was Good (1945). Stops in Malta, Cairo, Naples and Constantinople (Istanbul) are less of a feature than are his wry observations, including middle-aged widows excited by advertising copy and ambiguous praise for Gaudí’s architecture in Barcelona. The real destination here is cutting satire, so remember to pack you wit.
Join Waugh’s appreciation of Gaudí in Barcelona; check the architect’s old crib at Park Guell.
Lewis & Clark
To follow these two intrepid Americans across the West you’ll need to assemble a party of about 30 companions, steel yourself to cut off a few of their frostbitten toes and get ready to tussle with bears and buffalo – just some of the fun that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark encountered on their three-year expedition (1803-06) to explore the vast lands west of the Mississippi. The real point of the journey was to ‘introduce’ themselves to the Native American population, who were (and remain) generally less than impressed with their offerings of beads, thimbles and brass curtain rings.
Burke & Wills
This ill-fated journey to cross the then unexplored (by Europeans) Australian continent eventually led Robert Burke and William Wills to their deaths. The well-equipped expedition departed from Melbourne in August 1860 and hurried north in an attempt to claim the financial reward offered by the Victorian government to the first team to cross the continent. The expedition reached its destination – Normanton in the Gulf of Carpentaria; however, the team perished (of malnutrition) in Cooper’s Creek on the return journey in June of 1861. The ‘Dig Tree’, inscribed with a message from one of the expedtion’s members, is still visible at Innamincka, South Australia.
In March the Burke and Wills winery (101km from Melbourne) hosts its annual folk festival overlooking the famous track.
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.