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Smart Travels - Europe With Rudy Maxa Previous Broadcasts

Oslo & Norway (Episode #309)

KQED Life: Fri, Oct 24, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

The grand panoramas of Norway prove irresistible to adventurers. In Oslo, we see testaments to maritime prowess in Viking ships and the celebrated Kon Tiki raft. We "Scream" with painter Edvard Munch before heading south to the glorious vistas of Telemark country. After dropping by the home of playwright Henrik Ibsen, we're off to a boisterous celebration of Norwegian village life, complete with traditional costumes, dancing and potato pancakes. Next, it's a ride on Europe's most spectacular railway and a boat cruise through the impossibly beautiful scenery of the fjords. We end up in Bergen, Norway's best-preserved medieval city, taking in a traditional stave church and views that inspired composer Edvard Grieg. Tips on railroad travel.

Provence (Episode #107)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 23, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

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.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Fri, Oct 24, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Stockholm & Sweden (Episode #308)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 23, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Sweden is a natural-born beauty, winning us over with luxuriant landscapes and sleek Scandinavian style. We cruise through Stockholm's sun-dappled archipelago, visit a designer hotel and sip cocktails in the trendy Ice Bar (a lounge built completely of ice!). We stroll through the Karl Milles sculpture garden, and admire the world's best-preserved 17th century warship, the Vasa. Then it's off to the woodsy "Kingdom of Crystal" where we peek in on Sweden's best glass artists and get rowdy at a traditional herring dinner. We pay tribute to a grand medieval castle once called the "key to Sweden". Then we escape to the vacation island of Oland, an out-of-the-way charmer with timeless windmills, ancient ruins and glorious sand beaches. Tips on shopping for glass.

Prague & Budapest (Episode #307)

KQED Life: Wed, Oct 22, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

We leave Western Europe behind as we venture to the exotic cities of Prague and Budapest. In Prague, we marvel at the startlingly beautiful old town and tour the labyrinthine castle that haunted writer Franz Kafka. Bohemian glass dazzles us as we browse the flourishing shops in this former Communist country, and we witness the scene of the "Velvet Revolution." Then it's off to Budapest, where we surrender ourselves to steamy mineral spas, are serenaded by Gypsy music in one of the city's most traditional restaurants, and sway to the rhythms of Hungarian dancers. We round out our trip with Budapest's regal Opera House, and monuments of a bygone era in the Communist Statue Park. Tips on luxury hotels.

Hill Towns of Tuscany and Umbria (Episode #106)

KQED Life: Tue, Oct 21, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

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.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Wed, Oct 22, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Italy's Veneto & Dolomites (Episode #306)

KQED Life: Tue, Oct 21, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Graced with charming cities, countryside villas and precious art, this corner of Northern Italy also features a playground of Alpine peaks and meadows. After a spectacular night at the opera in fair Verona's Roman arena, we set out in search of Giotto's colorful frescoes in Padua and architect Palladio's palatial villas in Vicenza and the surrounding countryside. Then we head for the hills and the dramatic peaks and meadows of the Dolomite mountains. Tips on touring the Veneto countryside, shopping for gold and staying in a mountain inn.

Bologna & Emilia Romagna (Episode #305)

KQED Life: Mon, Oct 20, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Known the world over for its wheels of golden cheese, its sweet prosciutto and divine vinegar, this slice of Northern Italy is a feast. From our base in Bologna, we eat our way across the region, taking in the glorious art and culture along the way: cheese and mosaics in Parma; balsamic vinegar and racecars in Modena; ham, pasta and university life in Bologna. An excursion to the mountainous Apennines, a trip to Ravenna's brilliant 6th-century mosaics and a beach resort at Rimini round out the adventure. Tips on sampling the region's delicacies and agri-tourism hotels.

Germany's Rhine and Mosel Rivers (Episode #304)

KQED Life: Fri, Oct 17, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

For centuries, the Rhine has been a natural border and the main route for trade, people and ideas. We start in the ancient Roman city of Trier and travel up the Mosel River visiting vineyards and ancient castles. We'll take a scenic cruise down the Rhine for a sailor's-eye view of famous Rhine castles and the lovely but dangerous Lorelei. In Koblenz, we'll see where Julius Caesar destroyed two Germanic tribes but was never able to conquer Germany, and just down stream we'll see where American troops first crossed the Rhine during World War II at the bridge at Remagen. Our trip concludes in the city of Cologne, where we'll visit the modern art museum and sample Kolsch, the local beer. Tip: Taking a cruise down the Rhine.

Florence (Episode #105)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 16, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

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.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Fri, Oct 17, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Germany's Romantic Road (Episode #303H)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 16, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

The Romantic Road winds through some of Germany's most picturesque countryside, complete with medieval villages and Baroque palaces. We start our journey in Wurzburg, where we visit the spectacular Baroque Bishop's Palace or Residenz and taste wine at one of Wurzburg's many wine festivals. Next, we visit the castle of the Teutonic Knights in Bad Mergentheim and a short distance away the Deutsches Auto Museum in the Renaissance Castle of Prince Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Every July, the medieval town of Dinkelsbuhl celebrates the day the children saved the town during the Thirty Years War. We get a front row seat complete with dancing, music and an historical reenactment. We finish our trip in Rothenburg, the best-preserved medieval walled city in Germany. Tip: Travel options along the Romantic Road.

Dublin and Beyond (Episode #302)

KQED Life: Wed, Oct 15, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Irish eyes are smiling when we explore Dublin, Ireland's urban core. There's history around every corner, and Dublin delights with Trinity College, the Book of Kells, the famous Guinness Brewery, and the infamous Kilmainham jail where Irish rebels spent their last days. We liberally sample pub life while tapping our toes to traditional music, and follow in the footsteps of famous Irish writers on a literary pub-crawl. Beyond Dublin, we find inspiration in the hillsides of Glendalough, site of Ireland's revered monastery, and the Hill of Tara, home of the ancient Irish kings. A side trip to Northern Ireland's best folk park brings the Eire of yesteryear to life. Tips on visiting Dublin's literary sites.

Genoa and the Italian Riviera (Episode #104H)

KQED Life: Tue, Oct 14, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

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.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Wed, Oct 15, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Ireland's West Coast (Episode #301)

KQED Life: Tue, Oct 14, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

We're blessed with a bit of Irish luck as we take on Ireland's ruggedly beautiful west coast. We start in Galway, Europe's fastest-growing city, shopping for Irish crystal and Celtic jewelry. Then it's a salt-sprayed boat trip to the fabled Aran Islands, where we reach breathless heights at a Stone Age fort and ferret out traditional hand-knit sweaters. Heading south, we pass through the eerie landscape of the Burren, sample the best of Irish folk music, and binge on a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle. In the lush forests of Killarney, we visit the country manor of Muckross before touring the stunning Dingle Peninsula. Tips on renting bicycles.

Europe's Getaways (Episode #213)

KQED Life: Mon, Oct 13, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

A key attraction of travel in Europe is that 30 minutes outside of any city there lurks a getaway, a quiet spot to catch one's breath. In this program, we explore a few such magic places. We begin in peaceful Holland with visits to the windmills and canals of Zaanse Schans and Delft. Then, in the Bavarian Alps, we breathe in pristine Mittenwald and check out the handiwork of a local violinmaker. In Austria, a cruise on the Danube takes us to a spectacular Baroque abbey. Finally, in Tuscany, we go underground to ancient Etruscan tombs beneath the town of Orvieto and sample great wine at Castello Banfi. Tips on how to find one's own hideaway, how to meet locals and how to avoid much tourist hassle.

Renaissance Europe (Episode #212H)

KQED Life: Fri, Oct 10, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Travelers adore Italy, and Italy adores the Renaissance. In this half-hour, we follow Western Europe's transition from medieval to modern times by exploring the arts and ambiance of that vibrant period. In Florence, Milan and Venice, we find works by Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and Titian. Side-tripping to France's lush Loire Valley, we visit Renaissance castles and abbeys, including the timeless haunts of Amboise, Chenonceau, and a few less- traveled chateaux along the way. And we drop into the Northern Renaissance with a visit to Hampton Court and Henry VIII.

Venice (Episode #103)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 9, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

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.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Fri, Oct 10, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Classical Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome (Episode #211)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 9, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Here's where we pull together some of Europe's most rewarding sites from the classical world. Ancient Greek and Roman remnants are more than cold stone. They hold centuries of stories. So we revisit some favorite classical sites around the Mediterranean, pick up some new stories and see what kinds of connections we can make. It's the Greeks in Athens, Delphi, Delos, Paestum and Syracuse-and the Romans in Pompeii, Rome and Provence, with a little history of wine and olives thrown in for good measure.

Sicily (Episode #210)

KQED Life: Wed, Oct 8, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

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.

Rome (Episode #102)

KQED Life: Tue, Oct 7, 2014 -- 11:30 PM

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.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Wed, Oct 8, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Milan and Lake Como (Episode #209)

KQED Life: Tue, Oct 7, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

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.

Vienna and the Danube (Episode #208)

KQED Life: Mon, Oct 6, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

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.

French Riviera (Episode #203)

KQED Life: Sat, Oct 4, 2014 -- 4:00 PM

From Nice to St. Tropez, we drop in on the hot spots along the Mediterranean's famous Cote d'Azur. Based in lively Nice, we visit the local beaches and superb modern art museums featuring works by Matisse, Picasso and Signac. A short hop up along the winding Grande Corniche leads to wealthy Monaco. Then it's on to glamorous Cannes and the lively beaches at Juan le Pins. In stylish St. Tropez, we visit the prettiest beaches and tour the colorful town. Inland, we make our own perfume in Grasse and explore a medieval hill town. Tips include renting a car, and accommodations.

Salzburg and the Lakes District (Episode #207)

KQED Life: Fri, Oct 3, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

In musical Salzburg, we focus on Austria's easy approach to life. We visit the city's grand cathedral, take a funicular up to Europe's greatest medieval fortress, and shop along fine Baroque streets reminiscent of Mozart's time. We visit the house where the young Amadeus was born and where he composed his first masterpiece. Investigating the sumptuous palaces of Salzburg's prince-archbishops, we discover some "secret" passions. Then we relax in Austria's woodsy "Sound of Music" land, the Salzkammergut Lakes District. We soar high into the mountains to tour magical ice caves and then stroll little spa towns where Europe's crowned heads once "took to the baths". Tip: Best bargain for seeing lots of sights in a short amount of time.

Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Episode #101)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 2, 2014 -- 11:30 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.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED Life: Fri, Oct 3, 2014 -- 5:30 AM

Munich and Bavaria (Episode #206)

KQED Life: Thu, Oct 2, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

Munich's lively Marienplatz pulses with outdoor cafes, shoppers, street musicians and happy tourists. At the famous Hofbrauhaus, we sample Bavarian beer and kick up our heels with Schuhplattler dancers clad in lederhosen. Next stop is the Residenz, the family palace built by the Wittlesbachs, who ruled Bavaria for more than 700 years. Just outside of town, a sobering visit to Dachau concentration camp reminds us of the dark side of Germany's past. Then, we move on to lighter vistas-a trip into the mountains takes us to "Mad" King Ludwig's fairytale castle Neuschwanstein and on an exhilarating luge ride. Tip: Finding Bavaria's best beer gardens.

Berlin (Episode #205)

KQED Life: Wed, Oct 1, 2014 -- 9:30 AM

With world-class cultural sites, dynamic new architecture and unstoppable energy, Berlin is a city on the move. We visit the museums - the ancient treasures of the Pergamon and the Egyptian museum, German Expressionism at the Neue Nationalgalerie and the newly designed Jewish Museum. From dynamic Potzdamer Platz to the stark reminders at Checkpoint Charlie, we feel the past and see the future in Berlin. Our base is the luxurious and historical Hotel Adlon. Even shopping in Berlin brings history with it-we shop and snack at the fabulous KaDeWe department store. An outing to Potsdam takes in the Prussian past. Tips on touring this historic city, and best beers.

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