In Pole to Pole, Michael Palin follows the success of his original global trek, Around the World in 80 Days, with a race against time to get from the North Pole to the South Pole. Palin balks at nothing, tries just about anything and always finds time for a spot of tea. En route Palin stars in a crayfish documentary in Novgorod, attends a baby-rolling ceremony at a Cypriot wedding, gets stuck in a Nile traffic jam, buys chicken in Wadi Halfa, goes camel shopping in Khartoum and is prescribed tree bark by a Mpulugu witch doctor to get rid of his evil shadow. Even when things go according to plan, Palin travels in unusual ways--by dogsled on Spitsbergen, barge down the Dnieper, train roof across the Nubian Desert, van through the Sudan, hot-air balloon over Kenya and down Lake Tanganyika on the "African Queen". With curiosity, courage and his standard aplomb, Palin plunges himself into the local cultures, beating himself with birch branches in a Finnish sauna and wallowing in mud in an Odessa sanatorium. It all makes for an armchair traveller's delight.
In this part of the journey Michael Palin crosses the Sudan. He crosses the Nubian desert in the north of the country and traverses a region ravaged by drought, poverty, famine and civil war. Unable to follow the line of 30 degrees east, he is forced to take a route along the border with Northern Ethiopia.
Palin travels from Istanbul to Aswan on the Nile.
The first leg takes Michael Palin from the North Pole to the gates of Russia.
Having struggled through the Sudan, Michael Palin is now faced with the difficulty of getting across Ethiopia, where the armed remnants of the fallen dictator Mengistu's defeated army roam. He makes a dash to Addis Ababa with a military escort. He continues his journey to reach the Kenyan border and travels on to Lerata. He passes Mount Kenya, the significance of which is that now he has completed half of his journey.
Michael Palin fails in his attempt to get a berth on board the SA "Agulhas" on its once yearly sail to the South Pole. The search is on to find some other way of reaching the South Pole, abandoning all self-imposed restraints such as following 30 degrees east or using only surface transport.
Second leg of the journey: Palin has 12 days to cross Russia and reach the port of Odessa.
Michael Palin begins this week with a tented safari in a Kenyan game park. He travels via the Ngoronoro Crater and arrives at Lake Tanganyika.