Smart Travels - Europe With Rudy Maxa
This series delivers the best of what Europe has to offer, featuring hassle-free ways of traveling to great destinations and discovering Europe's vitality and character. It also teaches the necessities of traveling smart as Maxa adds a touch of luxury to the day-to-day journeys of discovery.
France's Burgundy and Loire Regions (#204) Duration: 27:48 STEREO TVG
The Burgundy region boasts top French wines, romantic canals, Romanesque churches and some of France's most renowned cuisine. We base in the small town of Beaune and learn about its history of winemaking. From the vineyards of the Cote d'Or to the culinary delights - we discover the exquisite taste of Burgundy. The city of Dijon and the cathedral at Vezelay add artistic treasures to the Burgundy experience. For the second half of our trip, we head for the Loire Valley and chateaux country. From our home base in Amboise, we visit the famous chateaux, including magnificent Chenoneau, and Francois I's overwhelming Chambord. Tips include touring wine country, discovering smaller chateaux and ballooning over the Loire.
- KQED Life: Tue, Mar 31, 2015 -- 9:30am
A Music Lover's Europe (#413) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
For a totally different view of Europe, Rudy shows smart travelers how to organize a trip around a theme. Rudy discovers surprising and fresh takes on Europe as he sets out on a music lover's tour. Winning, live performances by the Sicilian folk band Diascouri, and by Groupo Emiliano, a zany, classically-trained quartet from Emilia Romagna, are the backbone of this offbeat trip. But performance is just the start. Rudy visits folkdance groups in Greece, Sweden and Norway and delights in the classics in Italy and Austria. And everywhere, the music provides a backdrop for enthralling local scenery and engaging local stories. Tips on organizing a trip around a theme.
Berlin (#205) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 -- 9:30am
Munich and Bavaria (#206) Duration: 27:48 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Thu, Apr 2, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Maui and Hawaii's Big Island (#501) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The cultures of the Pacific converge on the breathtaking islands of Hawaii. This trip Rudy begins on Maui, where he braves the twisting road to Hana with its cascading waterfalls and tropical splendor. Fire-knife dancers light up the night sky, and we sway to the rhythms of hula and slack-key guitar. Later, Rudy hops over to Hawaii's Big Island for ancient petroglyphs and a helicopter tour of the world's most active volcano. Tips on snorkeling and golfing.
Salzburg and the Lakes District (#207) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Fri, Apr 3, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
French Riviera (#203) Duration: 27:47 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Sat, Apr 4, 2015 -- 4:00pm email reminder
Vienna and the Danube (#208) Duration: 26:47 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Mon, Apr 6, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Milan and Lake Como (#209) Duration: 27:48 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Tue, Apr 7, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Oahu and Kauai (#502) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Sunning, swimming, surfing and boating at Waikiki Beach are just the start in Honolulu. Rudy explores Hawaii's Polynesian roots at the venerable Bishop Museum, remembers WWII history at Pearl Harbor, and pays homage to King Kamehameha. From Oahu we head north to Kauai, "The Garden Island" whose sheer beauty screams "tropical paradise." Rudy hikes the Waimea Canyon and kayaks past traditional Hawaiian villages. The Allerton Gardens show off rare tropical plants, and restored homes of planters recall days when sugar was king.
Sicily (#210) Duration: 27:44 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Wed, Apr 8, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Classical Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome (#211) Duration: 27:48 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Thu, Apr 9, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
San Francisco (#503) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The port city of San Francisco revels in art, diversity and food. Chinatown is a feast for the senses, and the city's new Asian Art Museum a must-see. We get savvy on sourdough and tour notorious Alcatraz Island. A stroll through the Haight neighborhood harkens back to the "Summer of Love", and the Italian cafes of North Beach serve up a dollop of hospitality with their espresso. Crossing the Golden Gate, Rudy heads to Napa Valley wine country for a relaxing mud bath and some off-beat garden art. Tips on vegetarian food and wine-tasting.
Renaissance Europe (#212) Duration: 27:48 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Fri, Apr 10, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Europe's Getaways (#213) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Mon, Apr 13, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Ireland's West Coast (#301) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Tue, Apr 14, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Seattle (#504) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
A hip, happening urban center surrounded by natural beauty, Seattle combines city life with the great outdoors. Rudy explores the vibrant downtown, samples microbrews and lattes, noses around Seattle's neighborhoods and hops aboard a ferry. Excursions take us hiking at magnificent Mount Rainier and boating through the San Juan Islands in search of whales. Tips on great seafood and getting outfitted for the outdoors.
Dublin and Beyond (#302) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Wed, Apr 15, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Germany's Romantic Road (#303) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Thu, Apr 16, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Vancouver & Victoria, British Columbia (#505) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
As Canada's door to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is a vibrant mix of European heritage and Asian cultures. In this vital, young and dynamic city Rudy explores the mix of cultures that inspires world-class cuisine, a spirited night life and modern Asian shopping centers. Nature is ever present and Rudy visits a temperate rainforest and rides a gondola to the top of a mountain just minutes from downtown. A spectacular ferry ride to Victoria brings Rudy to a bastion of British Heritage where he enjoys afternoon tea, visits the beautiful Butchart Gardens and dines on seaweed plucked from the seashore.
Germany's Rhine and Mosel Rivers (#304) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Fri, Apr 17, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Bologna & Emilia Romagna (#305) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
Italy's Veneto & Dolomites (#306) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Tue, Apr 21, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Shanghai (#506) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
China's new powerhouse, Shanghai dazzles with fantastic skyscrapers, non-stop shopping and delicious dining. From traditional Tai Chi in the parks and teahouses to market madness and tumbling acrobats, Rudy explores tradition and modernity in this burgeoning city. Excursions to the gardens of Suzhou and the canal town Zhouzhuang bring the ancient past alive. Tips on getting around and eating well.
Prague & Budapest (#307) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Wed, Apr 22, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Stockholm & Sweden (#308) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Thu, Apr 23, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Oslo & Norway (#309) Duration: 26:47 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Fri, Apr 24, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
France's Champagne Region (#310) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The Champagne region of France bubbles over with fine wine, gourmet cuisine, picturesque towns and gothic spires. We base in Reims, home of the historic cathedral where French kings were crowned. From Reims, we tour wine country, visiting champagne producers both large and small. In the medieval town of Troyes, we shop for fine chocolate and discover a collection of modern art. North of Reims, the city of Charleville delights with its golden architecture and tradition of puppetry. Our final destination is the imposing fortress of Sedan, the largest castle in Europe. Tips on how to buy quality champagne and touring wine country.
- KQED Life: Mon, Apr 27, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
France's Normandy (#311) Duration: 26:45 STEREO TVG
From a dramatic, historic coast to rural pastures, this sweet section of France abounds with apple orchards, enchanting villages, stunning abbeys and sparkling seaports. We base in the lovely seaside town, Honfleur. At Giverny, and in the museums in Rouen and Honfleur, we discover the birth of Impressionism. Near the famous beaches of Normandy, the Norman Conquest unfolds in the Bayeux tapestry and we remember the poignant victory of World War II's D-day. Cider and cheese draw us to the lovely farmland just inland from Honfleur. Our journey ends at the awe-inspiring Abbey of Mont-St-Michel. Tips on car rental, shopping for antiques and touring cider country.
- KQED Life: Tue, Apr 28, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Sydney (#508) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Australia's stunning metropolis, Sydney seduces with its glorious harbor, carefree attitude and sunny beaches. From the Opera house to the Harbor Bridge to Circular Quay Rudy basks in the sights along the harbor. Then, it's pub hopping in the old Rocks quarter, admiring aboriginal art, and a watery adventure at the aquarium. Excursions take us surfing at Bondi beach and exploring the cliffs and rainforests of the Blue Mountains. Tips on eating well and best beaches.
Medieval Europe (#312) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The medieval world is one of the big draws of European travel. Moody ruins, "tippy" towers, cobbled streets, sparkling mosaics, monasteries, castles and cathedrals form the core of many a tourist's dreams. In this episode, we revisit some favorite spots and toss in a few new sights as we make a little sense out of a fascinating 1,000 years - from the fall of Rome to the dawn of the Renaissance. We sort it all out with several short itineraries in Ireland, Austria, Germany and France.
- KQED Life: Wed, Apr 29, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Four Great Cities of Europe (#313) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. A European city bustles - it's a hub of commerce and the arts, energy, surprise and international flavor. Where do you start if you have just 24 hours? Here, we highlight some best choices for sampling the urban culture of four great cities. London calls for high tea at the Athenaeum and modern art at the New Tate. Paris treats us to impressive dining, the Musee D'Orsay and the Pompidou. Rembrandt's The Night Watch and traditional rijsttafel dinner are mandatory in Amsterdam, and in 1,000-year-old-Brussels, we land in what some call "the most beautiful town square in Europe." Europe's great cities stay with you.
- KQED Life: Thu, Apr 30, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Queensland, Australia (#509) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
Bath and South Wales (#401) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
We conjure a bit of magic when we visit the Georgian city of Bath and follow tales of Camelot into South Wales. In Bath, we marvel at ancient Roman spas and peek into the high society of Jane Austen's day. We stop by Wells to admire that city's spectacular cathedral, and we quest for the Holy Grail in the mystical town of Glastonbury. The poignant landscape of Wales' Wye River Valley offers a wealth of scenic riches. We investigate Caerleon's claim to King Arthur and explore a ruined abbey that inspired poet William Wordsworth. Tips on bookstores and country fairs.
- KQED Life: Fri, May 1, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Edinburgh and Scotland (#402) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Friendly and feisty, Scotland makes us feel right at home. In Edinburgh, we climb the ramparts of this city's famous castle, shop for kilts, visit mysterious Rosslyn chapel and thrill to a spooky ghost tour. Then we head to historic St. Andrew's to practice our swing on the world's most famous golf course. In the Scottish highlands, we try our hand at skeet shooting and falconry, and tour the Dewar's whisky distillery. Then it's off to historic Stirling to stroll the battlefields of Braveheart before setting sail on legendary Loch Lomand. Tips on golf and Scotch whisky.
- KQED Life: Mon, May 4, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Barcelona and Costa Brava (#403) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
A Mediterranean marvel, Barcelona simmers with beautiful beaches, medieval mazes, eye popping art and hypnotic architecture. From tapas bars, to surrealist art, to Modernist structures, we'll feast on Barcelona's delights. Rambles along La Rambla, Gaudi's treasures, a neighborhood festival, designer shopping and waterfront fun are some of the highlights. For the best in beaches we head north to the coves of the Costa Brava. Tips on tapas and nightlife.
- KQED Life: Tue, May 5, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
New Zealand's South Island (#510) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
Madrid (#404) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The Spanish capital Madrid welcomes us with grand plazas and sparkling fountains. First stop is the Prado, one of Europe's great museums and home to Goya, El Greco and Velazquez. We tour El Palacio Real, the seat the Spanish empire, and the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, a fascinating hoard of art treasures hidden away in the center of the city. After dark we sway to the rhythms of Flamenco dancers and lose ourselves in Madrid's pulsating nightlife. Then we day-trip to the imperial city of Toledo to roam the twisting streets and narrow alleyways of this historic center. Tips on traditional food and jewelry.
- KQED Life: Wed, May 6, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Carcassonne and the Pyrenees (#405) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
From a fairy tale fortress to the gentle Pyrenees, Rudy takes in the castles and peaks of this magical region. We tour the largest fortress in Europe, Carcassonne, and sample the local stew, Cassoulet. A gallop through the countryside takes in several romantic castle ruins and the artwork of Toulouse Lautrec. Then we head for high country and one of the world's natural wonders - a mountain amphitheatre with cascading waterfalls. Tips on driving in France, and mountain trails.
- KQED Life: Thu, May 7, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
New Zealand's North Island (#511) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
Bordeaux and the Dordogne (#406) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The world's finest wines, sweeping vineyards and fine food couple with a river valley dotted with castles. We sample the best Bordeaux then cruise the lovely Dordogne and Lot rivers with stops at chateaux, ancient watermills, and perched villages. Cooking classes and an underground adventure to see pre-historic cave paintings round out the trip. Tips on wine tasting and walking paths.
- KQED Life: Fri, May 8, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Switzerland and the Alps (#407) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The Swiss Alps reverberate with cowbells, accordions, and laughter. We make our home base in the year-round playground of Interlaken, the "town between two lakes". We sail across glacial Lake Brienz, famous for its beautiful woodcarving. We head to the spectacular Lauterbrunnen Valley for a heart-stopping gondola ride to alpine heights, and hike past flower-filled meadows and mountain chalets. Then it's off to vibrant Zurich for shopping, chocolate and tasty Swiss cuisine. Tips on transit passes and buying cheese.
Alpine Christmas (#408) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
- KQED Life: Tue, May 12, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Guadalajara & Puerto Vallarta (#512) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
Out of Rome (#409) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
We leave the eternal city behind by way of the famous Appian Way to explore the environs of Rome. First it's the majesty of Emperor Hadrian's villa and the wine and lakes of the Alban Hills. Next, it's south to the ancient seaport of Ostia, Rome's Pompeii. Along the way we watch olive oil pressing, stop at the ancient's favorite beach and visit a medieval hilltop town. Tips on tasting olive oil and navigating Rome's ring road.
Croatia's Dalmatian Coast (#410) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Europe's best kept secret, the Croatian coast of Dalmatia dazzles with stunning white stone cities and azure waters. We begin in Dubrovnik, then island hop up the coast, snorkeling, swimming, sunning and reveling in the scenery. In Split we visit a Roman emperor's palace and make excursions to ruins, timeless towns and fortresses. Tips on boating, food and driving.
- KQED Life: Thu, May 14, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Mexico City and Ixtapa (#513) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
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.
Four Great Cities II (#411) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
We can jet to Europe in a day and visit four cities in less than a week. It's great to take your time but sometimes you only have a day to visit. How can you be part of the international jet set and still get a taste of "old" Europe? This time Smart Travels takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of four cities that represent a bit of the old and bit of the new in Europe. Rudy shows viewer how to get the most out of one-day visits to Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich, and Rome. Tips on maximizing travel memories from a 24-hour stay in a European big city.
- KQED Life: Fri, May 15, 2015 -- 9:30am email reminder
Europe Just for Fun (#412) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
As more travelers return to Europe for multiple visits, many are on the lookout for another dimension in travel. Occasionally they want to skip historical sights and museums in favor of a trip-or a day- just for fun. They're ready for absolute R&R; looking to break up serious sightseeing with hot-air-balloon trips, mountain luge rides, country hikes or days at an amusement park. They're seeking new adventures in Europe-flights of fancy-spiced with great meals and local libations of course. This time, Rudy shares his personal picks of Europe Just for Fun.
Hong Kong (#507) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
We get a Pacific Rim rush when we visit energetic, ever-changing Hong Kong. On a famous Star Ferry, Rudy savors one of the most majestic skylines on earth. Here, where ancient tradition cozies up to ultramodern, we take in monasteries, Chinese herbs and a city obsessed with shopping. The island of Lantau features one of the world's largest statues of Buddha. And in the fishing village of Sai Kung, Rudy feasts on freshly caught seafood. Tips on markets and feng shui.