Happy Birthday Marco Polo

Marco PoloOn this day in 1254, Marco Polo was born. He set out on the Silk Road when he was 17. Some say he made his travels sound more fantastic than they really were. Today he would be a travel writer for Outside or National Geographic Adventure I suppose.

He journeyed in the days before comfortable beds, showers, bus schedules, phones, or reservations. He was really a trader though–a business traveler if you will. So did he get annoyed when he couldn’t upgrade his camel to first class?

Some fun facts:

  • The Silk Road was called the Cathay, in case you wondered where that Cathay Pacific name came from.
  • After the Polos reached the Mongol court of the Gran Kublai Khan in what is now Bejing, he sent them back with instructions “requesting educated people to come and teach Christianity and Western customs to his people.” (Apparently there was no stop date on those instructions.)
  • After Marco settled down in 1299, he never traveled again. His last 25 years of life, he never set foot outside Venice.

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