Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Planning a Silk Road adventure with (and without) Google Maps

I chanced on one of those things that happen on Facebook, a guy asking his followers

If you cold go on a big adventure, what would it be?

Or something to that effect.
Now I don’t have to think a lot about it – granted, it’s a big world and there’s adventures everywhere, but my first, instinctive response is the usual

From Paris to Shanghai by car, following the Silk Road

If you’re here, you know I love the Silk Road, its history, its stories – going along the old road, driving leisurely in my car, would be a dream come true. Stop to look at the landscape, take a few photos, eat a bite…

Fiat_panda_1_v_sstAnd when I say car, I’d mean my old reliable Panda – a tin can on wheels if ever there was one, so basic and stripped down it did not even come with a radio tuner, but in my experience the best, most reliable, more easily maintained ride I ever had.

But alas, Google Maps at this point lets me down

Sorry, we could not calculate driving directions from “Paris, France” to “Shanghai, China”

But please!
Google can provide me with a flight from Charles Degaulle Airport to Shanghai, for as cheap as 80 euro, but its Maps/Earth tools won’t calculate my route by land.
OK, let’s do it the old way. Continue reading

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Google: Maps or Earth?

Putting together equipment and supplies for the Karavansara Reading Challenge 2016 means – like with any exploration project – getting maps.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ll use two folding paper maps as reference, but will rely on Google for a lot of quick-and-dirty geographical information. I’d like to plot the course of our virtual travel, following the steps of Maillart & Fleming – maybe linking the posts and other external contents to the map.

China-Silk-Road-Map-full

And as I was trying to learn how all those marvels are done, I stumbled on a nice question: Google Earth or Google Maps? Continue reading


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5 Tools Everyone Writing Adventure Stories Should Be Using

toolboxIt was suggested to me I do a list of five about adventure writing and about the sort of tools that can be a real life (or time1) saver when you are writing adventure tales.

Yes, of course, Wikipedia and Google Translate, these are quite useful. And Google maps.
And a good reference library does help, too.
But is there something more, or something more suited to writing, and adventure writing in particular?
These are of course my fave tools, and I am sure many out there are using other software/websites/services.
If you’d like to add to the list of suggestions, please do so in the comments sections.
It’s always nice discovering something we don’t know, and that might get handy.

As for me, here goes my list of five. Continue reading


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Writing with Google Maps

Isn’t technology great.
I was doing some map research yesterday, and the trip advisor utility on Google Maps caught my eye.

So I calculated – better, I had the software calculate and draw the route from Castelnuovo Belbo, Italy, and Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia.

And the software planned my trip – mentioning passingly that it does include some roads that might be interrupted, and it will require me to cross a few national borders.
My very own, on-demand Silk Road, if you will. Continue reading