Destinations Rest Of The World

“Once The Travel Bug Bites There Is No Known Antidote”

Indian Railway

I’m not usually a big fan of travel quotes but thank you to Michael Palin for this one, he perfectly encapsulates how many of us feel about travel. Anyway, here’s his quote in full:

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”

I (Mr W) remember exactly when and where I was bitten by the travel bug. It was a dark November’s evening, 1989. Sitting in a one bedroom flat in Camden, North London watching Michael Palin’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days’.

Michael Palin

Michael Palin’s – “Around the world in 80 days”

It wasn’t the series in general, the epiphany occurred watching Episode 4 ‘A Close Shave’. In this episode, Michael Palin arrives in Bombay (Mumbai) and travels across India on the  Indian Railways express line called the “Southern Express” to Madras (Chennai).  The name of the episode came from the cut-throat shave he received on the streets of Mumbai from a blind barber, yes a’ blind’ barber.

I don’t know if it was the contrasting images of a golden, heat-hazed India of the 1980’s compared to a dull Autumn in London. Maybe it was watching a snake charmer or the vendors on the station platform selling a bizarre range of products including as Palin put it “…something for the weekend”, but something clicked in my brain deep under the hair-sprayed mess of my backcombed hair (photo withheld to preserve my remaining dignity).

Mumbai Gateway Of India

Gateway of India, Mumbai

Whatever it was, I now had the travel bug and less than 3 months later I had left London and was on my way to…. no, not India but Australia. I spent 12 months touring the country, embarking on some epic road trips in the disorganised, ‘roughing-it’ way you only do when you’re young.

However, after nearly 30 years and having visited many countries around the world I still haven’t visited the place whose images sparked it all, India.

Indian Rail Trip

Following Michael Palin’s route across India

Finally, with the combined force of Mrs W, we are actually planning our first trip to India and to follow in the footsteps of Micahel Palin. In particular, we both really want to experience India by train but not in the manner seen on TV documentaries about the Mumbai rush hour but in a more civilised, air-conditioned way. Possibly on an escorted tour across India,  I can see us both now sipping gin and tonics while watching the sunset over the palaces of the Mughal Emperors.

Indian Street Show

An Indian street magic show

As mentioned, in the TV series Michael Palin travels from what was then known as Bombay to Madras (Mumbai to Chennai) although on our trip we just want to get our first experience of India and haven’t really decided what tour to take, just as long as we can ride on a train.

We know India is such a vast, diverse country it will be hard to decide where to go. Whether it’s spotting tigers in the national parks of Madhya Pradesh, the beaches of Goa or the classic Golden Triangle, it all sounds fascinating and an amazingly wonderful assault on the senses.

Personally, if money was no object then we would love to try the ‘Palace on Wheels’ through historic Rajasthan.


Chennai was formerly known as Madras

Another exotic trip we would love to experience would be along the ancient Silk Road through central Asia, so many inspiring places but so little time. So let’s stop sitting around and get our bags packed! – Guardian Hub

Have you been to India? What advice do you have and what trip do you recommend taking.

Once the travel bug bites

Once The Travel Bug Bites – Pin For Later

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