Beginning on a blustery April morning at Cleopatra’s Needle on the Thames Embankment in London, Anne Mustoe set out on another of her phenomenal lone cycle rides – this time to the Needle's original site at Heliopolis in Egypt. She set herself the challenge of journeying wherever possible near to water - via the Seine and the Rhone, then alongside the Burgundy canal, the Po and the Venetian Lagoon - inspiring her to think of her mode of transport as a set of 'waterwheels'. Leaving Europe, Ms Mustoe entered a very different terrain: the dusty and at times chaotic world of the ancient near east. Countries such as Turkey, Syria and Lebanon and, not least, Egypt itself, the site of the final waterway – the evocative Nile.
Her incident-packed journey made this the best and worst of rides and Ms Mustoe's eloquent but no-nonsense prose is immediately accessible, giving the reader a clear picture of this remarkable excursion. Woven in with fascinating and educational information regarding the history and culture of every point en route are also accounts of outrageous misfortune. Undaunted by roads and bridges washed away by freak floods; robbery in the backwater of Bari; an old knee injury flaring up and, worst of all, running out of whisky in a Muslim land, this pioneering ex-headmistress-on-a-bike soldiered on in true British spirit to reach her destination. The book is a delight for aspirant and seasoned travellers alike. Told with the exquisite detail that has become Ms Mustoe's hallmark, this unusual journey is recounted with keen observation, a relish of the open road and a rare, understated humour.
"Evocative reading" * Observer *
"A book about the true spirit found in real travellers, written by a real traveller" * Wanderlust *