No Faster Than a Camel Can Walk

Sunday January 14, 2007

Camels

It’s said that there’s an old proverb that the soul can travel no faster than a camel can walk. Now, I’m not entirely sure that I’ve got a soul, or how I’d know if I had one, but at the same time I like this proverb. Our obsession with speed, with ends rather than means, is not only exhausting, but it also does not seem to be doing much for the planet.

Currently I’m planning a couple of trips to Europe for later in the year, and – aiming to avoid flying as much as possible – I’m planning to go by train which is not only less damaging environmentally, but is also a much more satisfying way of travelling. Distance means something when you go by train, whilst sitting in an aircraft is a wierd and vaguely hallucinatory experience.

Whilst trying to find out the best way of getting from Birmingham to Sofia without having to fly, I stumbled across Seat61.com, the kind of independent website that puts the massed powers of all the rail companies in Europe to shame. If you want to find out how to get from Belgium to Moldova or from Estonia to Iceland (well, perhaps not…) by train, Seat61 is the place to go.

And whilst on the subject of travelling, why not go by foot? If you live in London, walkit.com is a great place to go for finding out how to get from A to B in London without even setting foot on a bus or a tube. It’s a routefinder for those who prefer to travel under their own steam. As yet, walkit is still in the early stages (in beta as they say in the world of the web-savvy). It is restricted to London at the moment, and sadly there’s no information on how camel-friendly the routes suggested are. But if you live in London, visit walkit.com, get your walking shoes out and lend the site your support.

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