In Xanadu: A Quest – William Dalrymple

In Xanadu turned out to be an excellent choice as my sole LHR departure lounge purchase. Having finished In the Company of Cheerful Ladies in Peshawar, I moved on to William Dalrymple’s account of his journey from Cambridge to China, accompanied by the no nonsense Laura as far as Lahore, and subsequently by ex-girlfriend Louisa.

Following as far as possible in the footsteps of Marco Polo, William and his ladies travelled from Cyprus to Israel to Syria to Turkey to Iran to Pakistan and thence across China to Beijing. Fascinating, with history and architecture interwoven with pen portraits of people they meet en route – and interesting to see/hear the young William Dalrymple. My undergraduate summer holiday activities were nowhere near so adventurous.

Buy it: Amazon link