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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Travel Book
In this, the best of his travel works (see also Around the World in 80 Days and Full Circle), Palin travels along the 30 degree longitude line, which takes him to many rarely-travelled places, including Chernobyl and parts of Africa where there simply are no roads to travel.
Throughout, Palin is witty and insightful, and one wishes they were with him (except for the...
Published on June 8, 1998 by R. Vosik

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting , however it becomes boring very quickly.
Michael Palin likes his travel and he keeps good journals , He took on an interesting trip and his write up is a good list of observations on his trip. It is an easy read and I had a hard time focusing in his story because a lot of the writes wer similar in style .
Published 7 months ago by Peter A. Gamba


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On top of the world, and underneath it, October 24, 2007
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This review is from: Michael Palin - Pole to Pole (DVD)
After the success of Around the World in Eighty Days, Michael Palin embarked on a highly successful career as an adventure tourist. Each of his journeys has a hook: circumnavigating the Pacific Rim, going across the Sahara Desert, or in this case making the journey from the north pole to the south pole following as best as possible longitude 30 degrees.

Along the way, from snow to savannah, from Norway to Nairobi, the charm of Palin's travels comes from the unassuming way he interacts with the people he meets on route. His personality carries the relatively unstructured travalog along on a sea of well-meaning interest and curiosity. He tells us when he's tired, anxious, and bored. We are touched by the genuine friendships he makes, however fleetingly, and the partings are often touching. In Pole to Pole the meat of the journey is Africa and we travel from relatively cosmopolitan Egypt to what in politically incorrect days was referred to as Darkest Africa. Even in 1991 witchdoctors outnumbered the western kind, and random violence was never far from view. Indeed, at one point Palin stays with a European estate owner in Zambia and his family and after the visit is concluded we learn from the voice-over that they were slaughtered six months later.

I spent a few formative years in southern Africa and it was shocking to me to see how little had changed since last I saw it. If anything, most of the change was for the worse: the old trains and buses simply have grown older, the disorder greater. Only in South Africa did time seem to have moved on. For the casual viewer the sheer range of experience in Africa should be fascinating, even though we get the merest glimpse. How can one capture a continent in just a few minutes of video? Like many people, I suspect, my favorite moments were of Palin sitting on top of the slow train creaking its way through Sudan, talking with those who can't afford to travel any other way, and seeming perfectly at home. Somehow Palin makes us forget how unlikely it all is: a well-paid BBC personality squatting among the illiterate and impoverished, interacting with them as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Perhaps no other TV presenter could really pull it off convincingly.

In the end the "hook" seems a little forced: Palin flies in to the north pole and he flies in to the south pole. It's not really much of an epic journey but it was more hazardous than it might seem: when he made the trip to the South Pole there was inadequate navigation and infrastructure and it would have been all too easy for him to have perished due to half-baked preparation and execution on the part of those tasked with ferrying him around. Fortunately all survived and went on to make several other telejourneys to various parts of the world; journeys which are now slowly being remastered onto DVD and released by the BBC. If you don't have the chance to travel much beyond the usual tourist haunts, by all means pick up a copy of Palin's travels and experience the sights, sounds, and people you will otherwise never know of.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Travel Book, June 8, 1998
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In this, the best of his travel works (see also Around the World in 80 Days and Full Circle), Palin travels along the 30 degree longitude line, which takes him to many rarely-travelled places, including Chernobyl and parts of Africa where there simply are no roads to travel.
Throughout, Palin is witty and insightful, and one wishes they were with him (except for the scene with the maggots). While travel writing might seem boring, Palin makes it interesting, and exciting. I devoured all his travel books within a very short period of time, and was left wanting more.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the series, May 18, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Pole to Pole [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This time, avoiding the obvious too-much-time-at-sea problems of "Around the World in 80 days", Palin's team becomes a marvel of light travel and problem-solving in this somewhat dangerous, honest and good-natured tour of 1990 Eastern Europe and Africa. The music's better too. The best of his series, without a doubt, and possibly the best of this genre of travelogue.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like I was there, but in book form!, June 6, 2001
By 
Jason K. (West of the Pecos) - See all my reviews
I actually purchased the book before seeing the series, noting the name Michael Palin on the cover, and remembering his adventures around the world in 80 days. The fact that I did not see the show somehow made the book more enjoyable to read. Palin has a very descriptive, yet easy-to-follow writing style, which helped me vividly imagine the exotic locales & various personalities. Of course, the photos by Basil Pao helped a lot. All in all, great work, so much so that it doesn't feel like a TV companion, but a travelogue that can stand strongly on its own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Consummate Traveller, August 25, 2006
This review is from: Pole to Pole (Paperback)
Just when I think I've written a great travel story, I go read Palin and remind myself how it's done. I just love his incredibly obtuse descriptions and attention to unimportant detail. To read this, or any of his books, is to travel side-by-side with Palin as if a companion. I raise my glass to you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING, April 1, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Pole to Pole [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Michael Palin has done it again. He has produced a video that is a "must-see" for every classroom. His travels are educational, yet humorous. It makes the viewer feel as if they are there with Michael in Tromso, or riding the Nile Valley Express train or even getting a mud bath in Russia. I recommend it to everyone. It is clean and family-friendly. I only wish I had purchased my set from Amazon. I would have saved $20.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars North Pole to South Pole via Africa, December 27, 2005
By 
Rennie Petersen (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pole to Pole [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This review is based on watching the DVD version of "Pole to Pole", the BBC TV program made in 1991 that showed Michael Palin traveling from the North Pole to the South Pole.

The trip was based on several rules. The use of aircraft was only allowed when surface travel was not possible, and public transportation was used as much as possible. The trip attempted to follow the 30 degree east longitude line, down through Scandinavia, the then-existing USSR, Turkey and all the way down through the continent of Africa.

The trip took five months and was quite arduous at times. Transportation was almost non-existent in central Africa, parts of Africa had to be avoided due to civil war and Michael Palin was hit by several health problems including two cracked ribs.

The wonderful thing about Michael Palin's travelogues is the enthusiasm, wit and charm that Mr. Palin shows. There are many impromptu encounters with the local people that are humorous and interesting. And, of course, there's the beautiful photography showing the stunning nature that was found along the way.

On the down side it was depressing to see the poverty and hints of political repression and social unrest in parts of Africa. The AIDS epidemic in Africa was also mentioned, and Michael Palin visited an evacuated village near Chernobyl.

This trip was made in 1991 and already when the trip was over world history had changed the landscape, in that the USSR completely unraveled shortly after Michael Palin traveled through it. The years that have passed since 1991 can be noticed in other ways too. For example, the situation in most of Africa has unfortunately gotten worse rather than better. And Antarctica, almost completely inaccessible in 1991, now has a tourist trade with 23,000 landed tourists during the 2004-2005 season!

The DVD version of this trip consists of three discs. These contain eight 50-minute episodes (total of six hours 40 minutes) and, as extra material, a 30-minute interview with Michael Palin. I found the interview to be very interesting and am glad that it was included.

Highly recommended, as is the book version of this trip and all of Michael Palin's other trips, both in DVD version and as books.

Rennie Petersen
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superhappyterrific fun-time video series, September 13, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Pole to Pole [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Michael Palin takes us on a voyage from North to South Pole and along the way introduces the interpid couch-traveller to some great sights, inateresting people, and the usual Palin humor. Highlights include the fjords of Norway, Russia and the Ukraine before the general's coup and a crazy long trip through the heart of Africa. Lots of fun...a great way to spend a cold autumn saturday.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palins travels, April 10, 2008
This review is from: Michael Palin - Pole to Pole (DVD)
"Pole to Pole" was the second of former Python Michael Palins great travels around the world after the groundbreaking series "Around the World in 80 days", and is equally exciting, thrilling, and entertaining.

This time the team travels along 30 degrees east longtitude from the North Pole through Scandinavia, Russia and the Soviet Union, Africa, (and forced by fate South America) to the South Pole, this being the route covering most land. As with 80 days, and his subsequent travels, "Pole to Pole" is filled with a great, warm spirit of enthusiasm, interest, and real, honest, good humour. Palin guides us, the viewers, through the many different countries and cultures with his usual witty and insightful commentary, and does what the travel industry calls 'the Palin effect' (that you want to go where Palin has gone) great honour.

Describing Palins travel programmes in one word is impossible, but if I had to choose or be beaten to death with a shoe, I'd describe them as inspiring. Truly, utterly, completely, magnificently, and really inspiring. And there cannot possibly be any other quality in a travel programme that is better than that.

The extra material on the DVDs are, as with all the other series, abundant. Lots of clips and segments that didn't make it to the final cut and a half hour interview with Michael Palin.

Highest possible recommendation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palin is inspirational, January 18, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Michael Palin - Pole to Pole (DVD)
This travel documentary is exceptional, showcasing great landscapes and
various cultures with an element of uncertainty. But what makes it
inspirational is Michael Palin with his spirit of adventure, great sense
of humor and ability to connect with local people.

Palin's journey shows us how people across different ethnicities and
cultures have one thing in common - the 30 degree longitude (as he
travels along this route from North Pole to South Pole). It gives us a
sense of how in spite of our differences in race, religion and culture
we still share the same planet.

We can learn the political, social and economic situations unfolding in
those countries during early nineties. The world has changed a lot since
Palin's journey but his adventures will always be relevant regardless of
time.

This vicarious experience inspires me to embark on a real adventure.
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Michael Palin - Pole to Pole
Michael Palin - Pole to Pole by Michael Palin (DVD - 2007)
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