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26 November 2005

TURKMENISTAN

When Marco Polo travelled the Silk Road through what is present day Turkmenistan, he wrote of his encounter with "Turcomans... a primitive people speaking a barbarous language," but who deserved praise for their horses and carpets. 

Since its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Turkmenistan has opened up considerably.  Travellers and intrepid tourists are discovering its Bronze Age relics, ancient Silk Road cities, and the white marble palaces of its capital, Ashgabat.

Sandi talks to Paul Brummell, the author of the first dedicated English-language guide to Turkmenistan.

GAP YEAR TRAVEL FOR 'GROWN UPS'
It used to be that gap years were only for the young - now it seems that a more mature generation are tuning into the delights of this type of adventurous, sometimes unplanned travel.  

Sandi is joined by Gillian Woodward, Michael Jones and Lonely Planet's Laetitia Clapton, to look at the pleasures of travelling later in life.


Presented by Sandi Toksvig

gap year


This week's guests: 

Paul Brummell
Career diplomat and author of the first dedicated English-language guide to Turkmenistan. Paul Brummell served as British Ambassador to Turkmenistan (2002-2005). From December 2005 he will be Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan and non-resident Ambassador to the Krygyz Republic .

Turkmenistan
Bradt Travel Guides
ISBN 1 84162 144 7 

CIA World Fact Book: Turkmenistan
 
If you are thinking of travelling to the Turkmenistan, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office's (FCO) Travel Advice Notices aim to ensure that British travellers are well prepared before departure.

Gillian Woodward
On her sixtieth birthday, Gillian, a psychotherapist and grandmother, set off for three and half years to explore thirty-two countries, armed with just a wheely case and a few contacts. Gillian visited the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, Polynesia, New Zealand, South East Asia, India and China.

Michael Jones
After leaving school, Michael didn't have a 'gap' year so at the age of 64, a retired Bank Manager, he went round the world in 84 days. He travelled by rail, indulging his love of trains across Russia and Japan, and pursued a dream he'd had for many years, by vagabonding on container ships across both the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Laetitia Clapton
Travel writer and Career Break Expert

The Career Break Book
Lonely Planet Publications
ISBN 1740598660

Independent career break website: TheCareerBreakSite

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PRESENTER BIOGRAPHIES
Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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