I spent most of the time this year with The travels of Mendes Pinto
trying to identify place names. Those elements of a text that, instead of being searched in a dictionary, you would rather look for in an encyclopedia or an atlas.
Not that easy!
Batampina is just an example: very carefully described, with clear and well-known points of references (city of Nanjing), Mendes Pinto depicts his journey from Nanjing to Beijing through a so-called Batampina river. ...A river?! Not that I could track on a map!
Until I found the biggest network of navigable waterways and the longest canal of the world
Public works and, as far as Mendes Pinto was concerned, minimum environmental impact.