Central Asia

Odorico da Pordenone's "The Travel"
Central Asia

Odorico da Pordenone

Was this a 14th-century fact finding mission or just another Medieval mystery tale?

Odorico da Pordenone was a Franciscan monk who lived in Italy during the Late Middle Ages. He was sent on a mission to proselytize the people of Asia, and…

Sun Shuyun's "Ten Thousand Miles Without A Cloud"
Central Asia

Sun Shuyun

Is this book at its essence more about contemplation or about adventure?

Driven by the memory of her own devout Buddhist grandmother, Chinese emigrant Sun Shuyun returns to China, in order to retrace the steps of…

Jehan de Mandeville's "The Travels"
Central Asia

Jehan de Mandeville

Why is it so much fun to read Medieval travel stories that we know are at least partly untrue?

Jehan de Mandeville claims to have traveled around much of the known (and unknown) world of his time. Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, China – you name the place, and he almost surely…

Josef Martin Bauer's "As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me"
Central Asia

Josef Martin Bauer

Does it matter to us if it all really happened this way?

Sometime in the early fifties, accomplished German writer Josef Martin Bauer comes across a guy who says he has escaped from one of the Soviet prison camps in Siberia. The story sounds hardly believable, but he…

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta's "The Travels"
Central Asia

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta

Did conservative ethics turn this great adventure story into such a slow read?

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta is only a very young man when he embarks on his hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. But he doesn’t stop there. Instead he goes on and on and on, and several travels during the next three decades will take him almost everywhere in…

Johann Schiltberger's "The Bondage and Travels of Johann Schiltberger"
Central Asia

Johann Schiltberger

Is this guy our average Joe from the Middle Ages?

This is an interesting book, but there is something to consider before reading it: Johann Schiltberger, much like Marco Polo or Jehan de Mandeville, whom I will be reviewing later, is a writer of…

Marco Polo's "Description Of The World"
Central Asia

Marco Polo

Why is this one still so good today, even though a lot of it is untrue?

This could well be the most famous travel book of them all. It’s a slow read though…