It’s all too easy to hop on a plane these days. The focus seems to be more on individual destinations rather than the journey between them. There’s so much to be said for travelling overland and what could be a better overland journey to undertake than travelling from the UK to India? This mammoth trail takes you through some of the most fascinating historic places in the world.
Let’s start at the beginning. Though it might not have the crumbling beauty of Rome or the romance of Paris, London is undoubtedly one of the most historic cities in the world and a fitting place to start the journey. London is home to four world heritage sites, Kew Gardens, the Tower of London, Greenwich and the site which is home to the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.
Vienna can boast having some of the most imposing architecture in the world. Its medieval and baroque influences have seen some of the world’s most beautiful palaces spring up – many of which you can still go and visit today. Vienna is a true pedigree and is home to the likes of Sigmund Freud, Egon Schiele, Schubert, Strauss, the UN and OPEC.
Sofia oozes a feeling of former glory. The capital of Bulgaria is home to architectural stunners such as Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Sofia is well worth a visit during Easter. Mass at the Cathedral is quite the sight and the weather at that time of year is perfect for meandering.
Istanbul, where to start? Steeped in history, Istanbul has very much retained its old-world charm. The Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market all feel like they’ve barely changed since their creation. Turkey, like many places on this route, has a dappled history, and whilst it’s often a tragic one, it makes for a fascinating place to visit.
By the time you get this far, you will probably be missing home and those familiar faces, so before you set off make sure you look into ways to keep in contact cheaply, for example through technology like VoIP (more information).
Finally edging closer to the final destination, we have Tehran, a hustling, bustling city with a culture so very opposite to that of the western world. Iran’s populous capital has a population of around 14 million people. It is more cosmopolitan than many people might think, but it does seem to be a city of contrasts. Yes it’s polluted, has heavy traffic and a lot of concrete, but it also has more than 800 parks and loads of museums and galleries. It seems the key lies in hunting out the best pockets of the city.
The final stop! Calcutta, or Kolkata, is the second largest city in India and one of the most fascinating on the journey. As the former capital of British India, there’s no shortage of dramatic colonial buildings. Perhaps like Tehran, Calcutta is also a city of contradictions. Poverty is rampant but there is also extreme wealth, though scarce. Bengali food and culture are quite different to other parts of India and well worth sampling.
Though this trip literally spans the globe, it’s amazing that it’s possible to make almost the entire journey by train. In fact, technology in general will make the trip so much easier. Internet calling technology means you can keep in touch with home for a fraction of the cost. Internet calling can make calls to India much more affordable, so look into VoIP before you set off.