In the spring of 2009, Simon Pridmore and his wife Sofie travelled for 15,000 kilometres overland through Russia, Mongolia, and China. A trip that started off as an adventure ended up being an education. Everywhere they stopped, they found people and cultures on the cusp of change. This was a watershed period for many nations that found themselves having to deal with the challenges of a new century, while still recovering from the consequences of the tumultuous events of the previous one.
Simon tells the tale of the journey with insight and wit as he and Sofie cross two continents, taking plenty of time out from the train to go off piste into the Siberian hinterland, Mongolian desert and Chinese cities. They go scuba diving in a glacier lake in the Altai Mountains and then again in Baikal, the world’s largest and deepest lake, just after the ice has melted. They practice herding goats on camel-back in the Gobi Desert, are entertained by Siberian marching bands, nose flute players and outdoor ballroom dancers and survive potentially life-threatening close encounters with encephalitis ticks, smiling provodnitsas and Mongolian cuisine.
This is a story that will make you think about how lives are lived in far-flung regions. It will teach you how to use the toilet on a Chinese train without coming to grief, how to bathe naked with dignity in a mountain stream and how not to panic when smugglers hide contraband in secret panels in the ceiling of your train compartment. Most of all, this is a story that will make you want to pack a bag and hit the road yourself.
”A vivid, witty account of a couple’s no-frills travel across Eurasia. An inspiration to real travellers - Yes! It’s Possible! Do it! - but also an entertainment for those who prefer their armchairs.” (John Man, author of Genghis Khan, Life, Death and Resurrection)
”This is great! I really enjoyed it. Under the Flight Path is entertaining and informative, written in a lively, engaging style and the narrative flows beautifully. There is plenty of historical and political comment to satisfy the reader’s curiosity and it is packed full of useful tips and advice for travellers, from someone who really has been there and done it. Some of the stories made me laugh out loud. Lucky I was on my own and didn’t have to keep on explaining what was so funny." (Jackie Winter, author of Life in Tandem and Lipsticks and Library Books)