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Smart Travels - Europe With Rudy Maxa Previous Broadcasts

Out of London (Episode #110)

KQED Life: Fri, Dec 19, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

The countryside outside of London echoes with storybook images. Around every hedgerow are mythic castles, ruined abbeys and prehistoric monuments. This time, we leave London and stop at Hampton Court, where Henry VIII wooed Anne Boleyn. We gaze on Oxford's dreamy spires and browse in the real Alice in Wonderland's candy store. Next, we pay a visit to Jane Austen's house, puzzle over the mysterious megaliths of Stonehenge, and pursue tales of Camelot in the royal city of Winchester. Tips on driving in England and visiting country pubs.

Sicily (Episode #210)

KQED Life: Thu, Dec 18, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

We wend our way across this largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Once the hub of the ancient world, Sicily offers up a vibrant, sun- soaked brew of history, tradition and intense cultural pride. At Palermo, a city bursting with its atmospheric past, we visit the lively market, and marvel at Monreale Cathedral, which shows off remnants of its Arab, Norman and Byzantine past. The finest classical Greek temples outside of Greece stand near Segesta and Agrigento, while the Villa Romana del Casale houses the most extensive and unspoiled Roman mosaics surviving from the ancient world. Then it's on to ancient Syracuse, once the rival of Athens for wealth and power. Finally, we climb to the top of Mount Etna, for steaming craters and unearthly views. Tips include getting around the island and when to visit.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Fri, Dec 19, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

London (Episode #109)

KQED Life: Thu, Dec 18, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

London is a city that has come close to ruling the world. With a legacy that includes Shakespeare and the Beatles, London seems to have an endless capacity to reinvent itself. Here, we sip tea and savor traditional sights such as Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard. We pop in to see where Charles Dickens penned Oliver Twist, and get a bird's-eye view of contemporary London from the new London Eye observation wheel. Finally, we check out cutting edge artwork at the newly opened Tate Modern Art Museum. Tips on using cell phones and cash machines.

Paris (Episode #108)

KQED Life: Wed, Dec 17, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Rudy escorts us through Paris, the city of style, art and pastries. We experience extraordinary art - the Impressionist collection at the Musee D'Orsay and the garden sculpture at the Rodin Museum. Then we hit the sites from Notre Dame to the Pompidou Center to the Eiffel Tower. We stroll through the parks, markets and cafes in this city where everyday life is art. Rudy leads us to intimate neighborhoods such as the Marais and its lovely Place des Vosges, the bohemian Latin Quarter and artistic Montmartre. Tips on riding the Metro and shopping for the essentials - bread, cheese, ham and pastries.

Milan and Lake Como (Episode #209)

KQED Life: Tue, Dec 16, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

Milan symbolizes the powerhouse Italy of the 21st century-a European center for finance and fashion. We explore Italy's most extravagantly decorated Gothic cathedral, look at Leonardo da Vinci's famous Last Supper and shop, shop, shop. A visit to the Milan Design Museum shows how, for the Milanese, everyday life is art. We take a train north to serene Lake Como, where we ferry-hop among lakeside villages, explore elegant villas and stop over at the historic Villa D'Este Hotel. A side trip to the ancient city of Bergamo and an alpine festival in the Valtellina complete our journey. Tips include train travel and boat itineraries.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Wed, Dec 17, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Alpine Christmas (Episode #408)

KQED 9: Tue, Dec 16, 2014 -- 1:30 PM

Hot-spiced cider and strains of "O Tannenbaum" warm our hearts as we head to Europe for Christmas. Switzerland has a special glow this time of year and we find plenty of good cheer in the bright Christmas markets and toasty ski lodges. We begin in the magical atmosphere of Zurich, with its glittering trees and festive music. Then we veer off the beaten path to the medieval town of Bremgarten for a visit with St. Nicholas. Finally, we discover a winter paradise in glamorous St. Moritz, the famous ski resort with the "dry, sparkling champagne climate". Tips on Christmas ornaments and winter sports.

Provence (Episode #107)

KQED Life: Tue, Dec 16, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Sun, olive trees and cicadas - we're in the heart of France. With our base in the sleepy town of St. Remy, we make forays into the villages, countryside and cities of Provence. Driving tours of the Alpilles and Luberon regions take us to the red rock village of Rousillion, the lavender ensconced Abbey of Senanque, and the picture perfect village of Eygalieres. We also take in the delights of Provence's cities, Arles, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. We end our adventures with a dip in the Mediterranean at the seaside village of Cassis. Tips on how to rent a vacation home in France and enjoying the many summer festivals.

Hill Towns of Tuscany and Umbria (Episode #106)

KQED Life: Mon, Dec 15, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Castles, vineyards, walled cities and a fierce medieval rivalry that lingers today - we're out for an adventure in the Italian hill towns. Our base is dramatic Siena, home of the intensely competitive Palio horse race. From Siena we explore the multi-towered town of San Gimignano, watch grapes being harvested at a winery and drop in on the cheese festival in Pienza. Then south to Rudy's secret pick - the haunting hill towns of Pitigliano and Sovana. In Umbria we discover Etruscan tombs, visit the home of St. Francis of Assisi and pick up some pottery in quaint Gubbio. Tips on driving through the maze-like streets of a hill town and finding a place to stay.

Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Episode #101)

KQED Life: Sat, Dec 13, 2014 -- 4:00 PM

Naples is an ideal launching point for exploring the ancient city of Pompeii and the devastation of Mount Vesuvius. Trek across a still-active volcano, then to stylish Sorrento, sample luscious gelato and hop a ferry to the isle of Capri. Take in spectacular views along the thrilling Amalfi coast and further south visit Paestum, home to the best Greek ruins outside of Greece.

Florence (Episode #105)

KQED Life: Fri, Dec 12, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

In this glorious city, rich in art, Rudy brings the Renaissance to life. We visit the great museums - the Uffizi, Bargello, and Accademia, as well as the landmarks of the Renaissance - the Duomo, Bapistery and Giotto's Tower. Rudy's tip for beating the crowds is peaceful Oltr'arno on the other side of the river. An excursion outside of town leads to a Medici villa, a sleepy Tuscan town and a museum with inventions by Leonardo da Vinci. Tips on shopping and how to buy quality leather products.

Vienna and the Danube (Episode #208)

KQED Life: Thu, Dec 11, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

Hapsburg palaces, coffee houses, Strauss waltzes...all are symbolic of Vienna. Visiting elegant Schoenbrunn Palace, riding in carriages, sampling luscious apple strudel and listening to Mozart concerts, we see that Austria's capital still lives its elegant, proud past. We get a behind-the-scenes peek at how exquisite china is made at Augarten, Europe's second oldest porcelain manufacturer. For a change from urban to countryside, we cruise down the Danube past vineyards and castles, stop at the dazzling Melk Abbey, and sample " new" wines-unique young varieties special to this part of the world. Tip: Where to experience Vienna's hot new art scene.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Fri, Dec 12, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Genoa and the Italian Riviera (Episode #104)

KQED Life: Thu, Dec 11, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

We're off to the Italian Riviera seeking la dolce vita in one of the world's most romantic places. With death-defying cliffs and beaches that shimmer like jewels, the Riviera is as stunning a coastline as anywhere in Europe. In the port town of Genoa, we tour palaces for a taste of old-world elegance and dine on world-class pesto. Then we head south to the famous resort of Portofino and the sea cliff towns of the Cinqueterre. Finally, we battle vertigo at Pisa's leaning tower. Tips on using train passes and finding addresses.

Venice (Episode #103)

KQED Life: Wed, Dec 10, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Join Rudy as he surrenders himself to the charms of magical Venice. We tour the famous sites - Piazza San Marco, the fairy tale Basilica of San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. Rudy also shows us how to escape the crowds by visiting the neighborhoods of Dorsoduro, Cannaregio and San Polo. Along the way, he takes us for a rousing drink at the city's oldest wine bar, on a dreamy gondola ride and to a traditional Venetian mask shop. In search of hand blown glass, lace and the birthplace of Venice, we journey to the lagoon islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Tips on how to navigate your way around this watery city.

Rome (Episode #102)

KQED Life: Tue, Dec 9, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Rudy is in the city where all roads lead - Roma. We begin in ancient Rome - the Forum, Palatine Hill, Colosseum, and Baths of Caracalla. Then we explore modern Roman life on the streets and in cafes, pizzerias and gelaterias. We detour to another country, Vatican City, then shop along the Corso and relax at the Piazza di Spagna. Rudy's pick for best city walks are a tour of the historic center and a stroll in shady Trastevere. Tips on getting around and places for tasty snacks.

Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Episode #101)

KQED Life: Mon, Dec 8, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Naples is an ideal launching point for exploring the ancient city of Pompeii and the devastation of Mount Vesuvius. Trek across a still-active volcano, then to stylish Sorrento, sample luscious gelato and hop a ferry to the isle of Capri. Take in spectacular views along the thrilling Amalfi coast and further south visit Paestum, home to the best Greek ruins outside of Greece.

Mexico City and Ixtapa (Episode #513)

KQED Life: Fri, Dec 5, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Mexico City, the world's largest metropolis, is modern, crowded, cosmopolitan, and steeped in tradition. Rudy begins with Mexico's ancient roots just outside the city at pre-Aztec Teotihuacan. The superb National Museum of Anthropology provides more insights into ancient Mexico. For modern day excitement, we hang out at the Zocolo, the world's second largest square and the center of national life since the Aztec era. Finally we head beach-ward to the resorts of Ixtapa- Zihuatanejo on the Mexican Riviera. Tips on getting around and water sports.

Guadalajara & Puerto Vallarta (Episode #512)

KQED Life: Thu, Dec 4, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Guadalajara is alive with the music of mariachis, flowers, colonial architecture, and passionate artists. Rudy explores the rich history and culture of "The Most Mexican of Cities." Art and artists are an important part of Guadalajara and Rudy takes it all in from the papier-mache pinatas to the dramatic murals of Orozco. Rudy tours a tequila factory, learns about margaritas and samples the best of traditional Mexican cooking. Then it's an easy hop to the coast where Puerto Vallarta's traditional charm still survives next to its new resorts.

New Zealand's North Island (Episode #511)

KQED Life: Wed, Dec 3, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

With spectacular seismic activity, fascinating plant and animal life, and to-die-for natural beauty, New Zealand is a traveler's dream. In the Bay of Islands, Rudy kayaks along the North's most glorious coastline. A Maori guide shows us where local tribes signed a controversial treaty with European settlers. Known as the country's bread basket, Hawke's Bay offers bike rides through fruit and olive groves, and a town with one of the highest concentrations of art deco buildings in the world. Tips on oyster shucking and olive oil.

New Zealand's South Island (Episode #510)

KQED Life: Tue, Dec 2, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

The South Island of New Zealand weaves Kiwi culture with scenic splendor. The vast vineyards of Marlborough helped bring this country's wines to the world stage. At a local artists' colony, Rudy gets a crash course in Maori bone carving. The breathtaking city of Queenstown draws adventure enthusiasts from around the world. We brave white-water rapids on river boards and ride a hot air balloon for soaring views of "Lord of the Rings" country. Tips on Maori crafts and eating mussels.

Queensland, Australia (Episode #509)

KQED Life: Mon, Dec 1, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Sun-washed beaches, chic beachside towns, cliffs and rainforests and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland is the ultimate outdoor adventure. We begin north of Brisbane along the sunshine coast, exploring sand dune covered islands, coastal towns and parks. Then we fly north to Cairns, the gateway to the coral, multicolored sea life and azure waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Tips on avoiding poisonous creatures and diving.

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