Monday, September 10, 2007

Cleopatra's Needles Book Review

Cleopatra's Needles
By Anne Mustoe
Virgin Books 2003
website Anne Mustoe

Anne Mustoe used to be the Headmistress (Principal) of a private Girls School in England. At the age of 54 (in 1987) she retired and cycled around the world. Her first book was called A Bike Ride. In 1993 she cycled around the world again - in the opposite direction. The second book was called Lone Traveller.

Since 1993 Anne has done a number of Bike rides in various parts of the world. She spent 5 winters cycling around India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. That book is called Two Wheels in the Dust.

And in 2001 Anne cycled from London to Alexandria between the Cleopatra's Needles. On September 11, 2001, Anne was in Turkey. A Muslim country. Turkey did not react to 9-11, but other countries did. Anne was able to cycle through parts of Syria and Lebanon, but had to take the bus through Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula. She did cycle along the length of the Suez canal and eventually arrived in Alexandria. Her 4th book is called Cleopatra's Needles.

This was a fascinating book. Lots of interesting historical info about Cleopatra, Mark Anthony and the Emperor Octavius. Also tons of real info about life in Europe (and the Middle East) when seen from a bicycle. Anne travelled across France and Switzerland. She cycled across the Alps into Italy and followed the Adriatic coast down to Bari where she took the ferry to Greece. The entire trip took about 10 months over 2001/2002. The one major thing that Anne comments on, (other than 9-11) is that it RAINED during most of this trip.

Since this book was written, Anne has also cycled The Amber trail, the Santa Fe Trail and the Pilgrims trail to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. That book is called Amber, Furs and Cockleshells (combining all 3 trails in one book). I want to read more about the Amber Trail. The history of the Amber industry is fascinating, and I personally would love to read a lot more about it.

Speaking of Amber, I was at another festival here in Toronto on Sunday (The Cabbagetown festival) and one of the street vendors was selling Amber necklaces & pendants. When I asked the prices, he said from $12 and upwards. Pity. I would have loved to buy a real Amber necklace.

According to Anne's website, her last Bike ride was across Australia and South America. I've just cycled across Australia and South America, and I'm busy writing my next book Che Guevara and the Mountain of Silver, due out in December, 2007.

In between books, Anne has also written a book about Escaping the Winter All you need to know about spending the winter abroad.

Check out Anne's Book page for all the details. And yes she is now over 70 years old.
This is my last book for the Armchair Travellers Challenge - which is now DONE.


Carrie K said...

Congratulations on finishing the Armchair Challenge!

Looks like a good book to finish up with.

Historia said...

Actually it looks like I am not done yet. The challenge was to read 6 books in 6 months. Between July 1st & November 30th. I have to find one more travel related book.

Diane said...

Have you read French By Heart by Rebecca Ramsey? I know you've already done a French one, but I really enjoyed it.

Historia said...

July 1st to December 31st. Thats better.

No I haven't read French by Heart, but its not in my TBR pile either.

I'll see if I can find it at the library.

Thanks for the suggestion.