tintin and snowy

Today, 87 years ago, on 10 January 1929, a young reporter boarded a train from Brussels to Moscow accompanied by his dog, Snowy. It was the start of Tintin’s first great adventure and the beginning of Hergé’s career. Tintin and Snowy (who thinks and acts like a human) have numerous adventures, a great knack for escaping crashes and kidnappings, and exposing international criminals. Tintin is a Belgian reporter for the small newspaper “Le Petit Vingtième”, although I did not see him write or send in a story even once. Tintin is forever enroute to exotic places, both fictional and real.

Captain Haddock is bringing a few crates of whisky, Thomson and Thompson are bringing the laughs, Professor Calculus is bringing cool stuff like pendulums and pocket submarines, and Snowy is bringing the woofs. You bring your passport. LET’S GO AN ADVENTURE.  ✈️ ⛵ ? ? ? ? ?

Soviet Union

tintin in the land of soviets russia

?The first edition of the first book, which is now a collector’s item and costs a fortune! The St. Basil’s Cathedral is featured in the background

 

Russia- st basil moscow

?The colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

Tintin and snowy are sent to the the Soviet Union to report on the policies of Joseph Stalin’s Bolshevik government.

Congo

tintin congo

?Tintin in Congo got quite a bit of a bad rap for having racial undertones

Tintin is off to the Belgian Congo to report on events in the country. Amid various encounters with the native Congolese people and wild animals, Tintin unearths a criminal diamond smuggling operation run by the American gangster Al Capone.

Chicago, America

tintin in chicago america

? Tintin in what I assume is the ‘L’ train on the way to catch the bad guys and then get some deep dish pizza.

Tintin goes to Chicago to report on organized crime in Chicago. He confronts Al Capone again, who he thwarted in Congo. Tintin arrives in Chicago, in the midst of the Prohibition, and all the gangsters in the city set out to give him a tough time. Tintin in America is the highest-selling Tintin title of all time.

Egypt

Egypt pyramid giza

?The great Sphinx of Giza and the Pyramid

 

tintin egypt

?Tintin uses the local transport in Egypt

Tintin and his friend Captain Haddock are travelling in Egypt when they discover a pharaoh’s tomb filled with dead Egyptologists and boxes of cigars.

India

tintin india

?An elephant parade in India, at a time when India was under the British rule, Tintin meets the Maharaja of the Kingdom and crashes a plane into the town of Gaipajama (fictional)

Still on the trail of the mysterious pharaoh and the box of cigars, Captain Haddock and Tintin land up in India, where they reveal the secrets of an international drug smuggling enterprise. Herge’s India is full of elephants, snake charmers and tigers. The fictional town of Gaipajama literally translated means “the cow’s pajamas”! The Tintin comics and TV series are hugely popular in India. I remember huddling in front of the TV with my family to watch Tintin while having our dinner.

China

tintin china the blue lotus

?Tintin is in the beautiful country of China, trying to track down the international opium trade, fans say this comic has a certain angsty desolate quality. Solitude has never been a problem for our hero. He faces many obstacles alone. How’s that for #solotravel ?

Tintin and snowy are invited to China in the midst of the 1931 Japanese invasion, where he reveals the machinations of Japanese spies and uncovers another drug-smuggling ring.

England

london english phonebooth

?Can you totally picture Tintin making an important phone call in an English phone booth?

Tintin travels to England in pursuit of a gang of counterfeiters. He’s framed for theft and bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson are after him.

Scotland

tintin-in-scotland

?Off to the Black Island wearing a kilt, as you do in Scotland

Pursued by detectives Thomson and Thompson, Tintin and Snowy head to Scotland, discovering the the counterfeiters on the (fictional) Black Island.

Tintin uses diverse modes of transport ranging from a Belgian train, a truck, the Ostend to Dover cross channel ferry, a taxi, hitchhiking, a car, a caravan, a British train, a goods train, a private single engined light aircraft, a motorboat, and for the return journey, a commercial airliner.

Tintin would have made a great travel blogger today, right? I would totally follow Snowy’s Instagram.

Prague, and then (fictional) Syldavia

You will not not find Syldavia on a map. I remember as a child, poring over my grandfather’s many atlas volumes to find Syldavia. In the comic, King Ottokar’s Sceptre, Tintin saves the Kingdom from being overthrown by fascists. Although Syldavia is a creation of Herge, the Sceptre is real. Herge was not aware of the Sceptre actually existing when he wrote about it. In 1976, while restoring the Saint Vitus Cathedral, that is housed inside the Prague Castle, certain royal possessions of Ottokar II, King of Bohemia (1230-1278) , were discovered.

castafiore tintin

?It is in Syldavia that Tintin meets Opera singer Signora Bianca Castafiore of La Scala from Milan. He and Snowy are not fans and will not be buying her album on itunes

 

prague castle and church

?The gothic castle of Prague which houses the St Vitus cathedral

Morocco

morocco tintin herge

?The city of Baghhar is a fictional port city in the French colony of Morocco

Tintin and Snowy travel to Morocco to pursue a gang of yet another international drug smugglers.

The Artic

Tintin and Captain Haddock go on a scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean to find a meteorite that has fallen to the Earth.

the shooting star tintin

? Herge experimented with the world of fantasy in this comic with a piece of metal from a meteor creating strange phenomena in the Artic

 

drunk captain haddock


? There are numerous hilarious references to Captain Haddock’s love for liquor, his choice of poison being whisky. In The Shooting Star, we see several cases of whisky being loaded on the Aurora in front of the committee of the Society of Sober Sailors whose President is the Captain himself!

The Caribbean

caribbean tintin treasure unicorn

caribbean tintin

?On the hunt for pirate booty in the Caribbean. Herge has said that this particular frame is his personal favourite: the ship is being anchored, the dinghy is being pulled in and the exploration begins

Tintin and Captain Haddock launch an expedition to the Caribbean to locate the treasure of the pirate Red Rackham. This is where they meet Professor Calculus, genius inventor and also complete crackpot. His help in locating the treasure is invaluable, but he gets them into a lot of trouble in the comics to come.

Peru

peru tintin

?When drawing the scenery for The Temple of the Sun, Hergé was inspired by several real places, including the Sacsayhuaman fortress, the Tiwanaku site and also the sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

Hapless Professor Calculus is missing so Tintin and Captain Haddock undertake an expedition to Peru to track him down. They continue their efforts to rescue the kidnapped Professor Calculus by travelling through Andean villages, mountains, and rain forests, before finding a hidden Inca civilization.

haddock lama peru tintin

?Captain Haddock and the Llamas did not have anything nice to say to each other

 

morocco tintin

Professor Calculus has landed everyone in trouble again. What is travel without a little bit of adventure?

Middle East

middle east tintin

? The backdrop of this story was very evocative of its time, drawing inspiration from the economic and political oil crisis

Tintin travels to the middle east to to uncover a militant group responsible for sabotaging oil supplies in the Middle East.

The Moon

tintin moon

?1. Snowy is not happy or comfortable about his space outfit 2. Tintin checks out his bunk for the next few days 3. Ooh! What does this button do? 4. Captain Haddock is not very pleased with his space suit either

Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock receive an invitation from Professor Calculus. They’re all going to the moon. The comic was published in 1954, and Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon in 1969. Herge’s account of the moon was surprisingly extremely accurate. His research and attention to hyper-realistic detail ensured that there’s was no fantasy involved.

Borduria (fictional)

Tintin and Captain Haddock go to Borduria to rescue Professor Calculus. He developed a machine capable of destroying objects with sound waves, and gets kidnapped yet again.

tintin borduria tintin russia

?Fictional country Borduria had a lot of Stalin references

Tibet

tintin in tibet

?Hiking in Tibet in search of the Yeti

Tintin in Tibet was one of the best comics in the sense that there were no bad guys here. Tintin made a friend on his China trip, who invites him to come to Tibet. It’s a journey of self-exploration as much as it is of exploring another beautiful country. Herge was a voracious reader and as he became fascinated with Taoism, Buddhism and Zen he introduced his hero Tintin to them.

tintin in tibet

?Meet the monks

Indonesia

tintin indonesia drink

? Stopping to get a chlorophyll based cola drink in Indonesia, as you do.

 

lombok-island-indonesia

?Lombok Island, Indonesia is located on the west of Bali has the volcano Mt. Rinjani. at this height of 3726 metres, there’s is Lake Segara Anak. Flora & fauna enthusiasts would love it here for it has wildlife similar to that of Australia.

Tintin travels to Indonesian islands of Nusa Tenggara  or the Lesser Sunda Islands or  (“Southeastern Islands”) they are a group of islands in Maritime Southeast Asia, north of Australia. The islands are part of a volcanic arc, in the Java Sea. The only thing you need to know about me is that I’m obsessed with Indonesia and that I will be going here.

San Theodoros

The last Tintin Adventure unfolds in the fictional city of San Theodoros, located in South America. While sketching the art for this comic, Herge took his inspiration from the Mayan pyramid of Yucatan called El Castillo de Kukulcan  in South Mexico. My boyfriend, who’s lived in South America, will be delighted.

mayan Pyramid tintin

? The Mayan pyramid of El Castillo de Kukulcan that insipired this comic is about 30 metres tall, it towers over the vast Chichen Itza archaeological site

Brussels

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 1979: Herge poses for a portrait in front of a picture of his comic creation "Tintin" in Brussels,Belgium. (Photo by Marc GANTIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

? 1979: Herge poses for a portrait in front of a picture of his comic creation in Brussels,Belgium. (Photo by Marc GANTIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Tintin and his creator Herge are both from Brussels. There are a lot of places that inspired locations in various comics as well as street art and museums to keep the magic of Tintin alive. The city is very proud of their traveller detective and Herge.

tintin train station mural

?Visitors entering Belgium by train are welcomed by a gigantic mural of Tintin at Stockel metro station

 

museum herge

?The museum of Herge in the town of Louvain-la-Neuve contains Herge’s works, exhibition areas and shops. His wife Fanny privately funded the 20 million dollars to construct the museum to house her husband’s wonderful work, which prior to this had been locked in bank vaults

 

Place Jeu-de-Balle Square Flea Market Marolles Brussels Belgium

? Place Jeu-de-Balle Square Flea Market Marolles Brussels Belgium, the flea market that inspired the setting for The Secret of the Unicorn

 

flea market brussels tintin

? 1. Tintin strolls through the flea market 2. Tintin buys this antique ship for Captain Haddock

 

street art tintin brussels

? Street art of Tintin and Captain Haddock on Rue de L’Etuve made in 1993 commissioned by the Brussels city council

 

La-Monnaie-Contact

? La Monnaie is the theatre that inspired Hergé’s drawings of the opera in The Seven Crystal Balls

 

BRUXELLES - Palau Reial

? The Royal Palace, which inspired the Palace of the king of Syldavia in King Ottokar’s Sceptre.

 

tintin-and-snowy-lombard

? The first publishers of the Tintin books, Editions du Lombard, have a giant Tintin and Snowy sign on top of their office building

Rereading the Tintin comics today has both a sharp nostalgia as well as a whole new feeling. I’m now a grownup and I can actually go to all the places my traveller hero has been to! I’ll always be grateful to Tintin for showing me that adventures can be fun and above all, possible.

TRAVEL LESSONS FROM TINTIN

desination-tin-tin

 

1. One outfit is enough. Pack light.

2. Read all you can and be well-informed about countries, their people and culture.

3. Get a dog.

4. Don’t get caught up taking photos. Tintin didn’t lug around a DSLR.

5. Be optimistic.

6. Don’t lose your temper.

7. Travel with friends who would do anything to bail you out.

8. Make friends from different countries.

9. Respect local culture.

10. Pick up a few words of the local language.

11. Never miss out on local cuisine.

12. Learn to climb and drive anything. Tintin can drive any sort of transport: cars, boats, planes, tanks, hot-air balloons, life rafts, submarines, space crafts, elephants, etc.

13. Be fit. Mountaineering, jumping off cliffs, swimming, hiking a desert – Tintin and Snowy did them all.

14. No need for the guidebook. You ever saw Tintin with a Lonely Planet? Exactly.