In­stant ex­pert: Phileas Fogg

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Contents - ■ In­stant Ex­pert How else can I fol­low in his foot­steps?

It’s been 145 years since Jules Verne’s hero was first in­tro­duced to the English-speak­ing world

Wasn’t he the glo­be­trot­ting hero of Jules Verne’s clas­sic travel yarn Around the World in Eighty Days?

Yes, that’s the chap. It’s been 145 years since the fic­tional in­trepid English­man Phileas Fogg and his French valet Jean Passep­a­rtout were in­tro­duced to the English-speak­ing world, with the first pub­li­ca­tion of Verne’s hit French se­rial in trans­la­tion.

Re­mind me – how does it go again?

Fogg claimed that a new rail­way in In­dia made it pos­si­ble to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the world in 80 days. His fel­low Re­form Club mem­bers dis­agreed, throw­ing in a £20,000 wa­ger to en­cour­age him to prove it. To­day, Fogg’s route from Mum­bai to Kolkata can still be rid­den by rail, and while it rarely fea­tures in ‘top rail­way’ lists for scenery, you’ll still ford the lush hills of the West­ern Ghats and the des­o­late Dec­can Plateau. You can even visit Lon­don’s Re­form Club (open to women since 1981), too; it’s by ap­point­ment only and you will need to obey the dress code. Plenty of ways! Copy Fogg in soak­ing up some lux­ury aboard the Ori­ent Ex­press from Lon­don to Venice, then spy the bright lights of Hong Kong as your ship pulls into Vic­to­ria Har­bour. Have a glass (or two) from one of Yoko­hama’s mi­cro­brew­eries, the city hav­ing been com­pletely flat­tened and re­built since Verne’s day, and spy the brick-red arc of San Fran­cisco’s Golden Gate Bridge (started some 60 years af­ter Fogg would have ar­rived). Or stay closer to home, tak­ing in the can­dy­coloured houses of wa­ter­front Cobh, Ire­land.

Did he make it?

Spoiler alert! Verne’s dra­matic fi­nale sees Fogg ini­tially los­ing his wa­ger by 24 hours, but the au­thor used the In­ter­na­tional Date Line as a plot de­vice – sev­eral years be­fore it had been es­tab­lished – to res­cue the day and win the bet. Michael Palin recre­ated the trip in a 1989 BBC se­ries, hook­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of arm­chair ad­ven­tur­ers and adding an In­dian dhow boat trip to ev­ery­one’s bucket list.

did you know?

Though the cov­ers of many edi­tions of Around the World in Eighty Days fea­ture a hot air bal­loon, Fogg never trav­elled in one.

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