From Pekin to Calais by Land
Publication Date 28 Jul 2016
OverviewThis 1889 book describes an unusual overland journey from Beijing to Calais, undertaken in 1887 by Harry de Windt (1856-1933), an explorer and travel writer, who later went from Paris to New York, also (mostly) by land. From a military family, he was the brother-in-law and aide-de-camp of Charles Brooke, the Rajah of Sarawak, but his official duties left him with plenty of time for eye-catching journeys like this one. His only guidebook was John Bell's 1763 account of travelling from St Petersburg to Beijing across Siberia, but with advice on the route from a Russian embassy official, de Windt set out from Gravesend with a companion to sail to China and commence the land journey back. Filled with anecdotes and observations (occasionally tinged with condescension), the book is an entertaining account not only of the journey but of the lands, people and customs that de Windt encountered.