Before travel expert, Samantha Brown actually visited Rome; her impressions were the same as many Americans.from movies like; Roman Holiday or Three Coins in a Fountain. What Samantha will show you is that Rome is so much more. The people and their culture create a lively, passionate heartbeat for the Eternal City. Most travelers come for the Ancient Ruins, the mouthwatering cuisine, and the views. Samantha shares her tips on how to avoid the three-hour long lines at some of the city's top attractions, and tells you how to have a true Roman coffee experience. Plus, here's a surprise - Samantha's Roman experience reveals a super modern side to the Rome of today including a wild nightlife. So, for those thinking "there's not much new to say about Rome".get ready to eat your words!
Florence, Italy is not a "first-time" experience for travel expert, Samantha Brown.It is a place she loves for its criss-crossing cobblestone streets lined with century old plazas, medieval churches, world-renown museums and the winding Arno River. The suggested "must-see and do" list is a lengthy one since this city was home to none other than Michelangelo, Galileo, Leonardo DiVinci, Dante, and Machiavelli. So, what's Samantha's plan for packing in all these sights? Location and experience. She's found a hotel with a drop-dead gorgeous view that's within walking distance to her favorite attractions, stylish boutiques, and neighborhood restaurants. Sam gets down to business and shares some savvy tips for purchasing famous Florentine leather goods, she takes a peek at one of the most recognizable statues in the world, and she shows us where to find the perfect spot to escape the crowds of tourists. Ever wonder why Florence is the number one city to visit in Europe for Americans? You're about to find out!
It says something significant about a country when its enduring icons are men in kilts, bagpipe marching bands, castles and whisky! Scotland is no ordinary place - and its capital, Edinburgh, is a city that just begs to be explored. Edinburgh is so steeped in history that its centerpiece is a medieval castle, and the section of town called "New Town" - in spite of its name, dates back to the golden age of the 18th century.But this city doesn't live in the past - in the summer it puts on one of the biggest party venues in the world with a calendar of festivals - including some avant guard displays of art that are very in vogue. Samantha Brown heads out with an umbrella in hand to share some of her favorite sights. She'll stop by Edinburgh Castle just in time for the One O'clock Gun.take a stroll in Princes Street Gardens.get a taste of the Fringe Festival along the Royal Mile.sample some single malt whisky at the Bow Bar.head three stories underground for a chilling look at the city's plague ridden past.scout out a hip hotel in New Town that is truly an original.and join friends for an evening of traditional Scottish music at a local watering hole.Samantha meets up with plenty of "city smart" locals and discovers what makes for a perfect trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.
As a city whose history goes back over two thousand years - through foreign invasions, debilitating plagues, national revolts.even devastating fires - today, London remains one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. So what is it that keeps millions of international travelers coming to London in droves? It's the Bangers & Mash - probably not! On this trip to England, our Travel Expert, Samantha Brown, reveals the "classic" side of London. You guessed it - she'll take us to Buckingham Palace for the "Changing of the Guard" - and reveal a secret spot for an up-close photo with one of the Queen's royal soldiers.she'll head to a Notting Hill pub for a truly English drink - a Pimms & Lemonade! Then it's a food extravaganza at London's famous department store -Harrods.and Samantha will show us why London taxi drivers are some of the best tour guides around.plus, you haven't been to Westminster Abbey until you've seen it through the eyes of Samantha. A classic tour of London awaits you in this episode of "Passport to Europe"!
Today, London is a cosmopolitan mix of the stubbornly traditional and the proudly avant-garde. This eclectic combination of cultures and flavors delivers a unique experience - a perfect combination of history and modern day comforts. In this episode of Passport to Europe, Samantha Brown reveals a very modern-day London. The millennium brought a new landmark to London's skyline - it's called the London Eye - Samantha hops on for a ride and a birds-eye view of London. Ever feel intimidated at maneuvering a foreign city's subway system? Well Samantha buys a ticket and goes "underground" to see how easy and inexpensive it is to get around London. Forget Shepherd's pie and fish & chips - surprisingly, London's most popular cuisine is Indian - Samantha takes us to Tiffinbites - the latest rave in affordable Indian food - its fast food with a fresh, home-made touch. And where else can you get up close to royalty, and mingle with Hollywood's A-List? Samantha's got the ticket and the best way to beat the lines at the famous Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.Ever wonder why London remains one of the top destinations for American travel? You're about to find out!
It's the landscape of fairytales - rolling hills, thatched-roof cottages and medieval hamlets - the English countryside is famous for its beautiful, unspoiled landscapes and illustrious history. Today, it's one of the most popular day trip destinations from London. Samantha's first stop is Bath - just about an hour outside of London. This city's main attraction is its Victorian and Georgian architecture and its very famous Roman Baths - England's largest natural hot springs. What would you say to an evening spent in a medieval castle, which at one time had welcomed Henry VIII and Ann Boylen? Samantha has visions of royal grandeur at Thornbury Castle. Samantha wraps up her countryside escape in an area known as The Cotswolds - its villages and hamlets dot the hillsides side where sheep graze and pathways mark a 100-mile trail known as The Cotswold Way. Samantha takes to the road to share her favorite spots in the English countryside. Today, the heart of England has many modern day surprises that traveler's may not know about - well Samantha's prepared to unveil them all along the way.
There's no doubt about it Munich is a party town! In fact it's home to the biggest festival in the world - Oktoberfest, held every September. So why isn't it called Septemberfest? Travel expert, Samantha Brown, is ready to tell all about this two week chug-fest that draws nearly one million partiers who drink 10 million pints of beer and dance to the oompah-bands galore. Outside of the suds and sausage, Munich is also a feast for the eyes. The city is filled with magnificent architecture amazing museums fabulous shopping fashionable digs and Samantha has her "must see" list ready to go! Whether she's sampling some food finds in one of Munich's open-air markets testing her skills in a high tech museum touring a monastery where monks make beer or showing off a surfing spot in this landlocked country Samantha travels to Germany's most popular city and shows us that when it comes to Munich - there's much more to it than beer! But let's not kid ourselves in Munich it's mostly about the beer!
You've heard of the Swiss Alps and the Austrian Alps, but what about the Bavarian Alps? On this European adventure, Samantha is heading to an area in Germany known as Bavaria! With its snow-capped mountain vistas, storybook towns, and magical castles - it sounds like a scene from a fairytale - well you could say it is! Samantha takes us to Neushwantstein Castle - its mountaintop setting was said to have inspired Walt Disney to create Cinderella's castle! Travel expert, Samantha Brown, begins her journey to Bavaria by hopping in a Smart car and driving the most famous freeway in the world - the Autobahn! Samantha sets her sights on two tiny villages that are the perfect setting for a Bavarian holiday; Mittenwald and Oberammergau. Don't let the names intimidate you - these mountain villages are packed with personality. Samantha meets up with a local music man.she'll dine with a Bavarian family and sample a bit of local food, and for an evening's worth of entertainment - if you're in Bavaria - then it's got to be yodeling!
Quick, what have you heard about Prague? Well, until recently probably, not much. That's because until 1990 Prague was a city closed to visitors but today it is one of the most popular European destinations. Travel expert Samantha Brown introduces us to Prague, a city which has recently opened her arms to those wishing to enjoy her unspoiled architecture, art, music, and unique style - one you'll find nowhere else in the world. Samantha shows us that Prague is a city of expression - where arts are a way of life. Where else can you find a city where almost every person owns their own musical instrument, and yet they also manage to consume more beer than any other country in the world? Samantha shows us the city streets where Mozart walked - he was so found of Prague he declared himself a citizen. She'll introduce us to a hotel that takes its inspiration from music - whether it's Mozart, Beethoven, Led Zeppelin or the Elvis suite - this is no heartbreak hotel! Ever heard of Svickova na smetane? Well, the popularity of Czech cuisine may not have made it to the States yet, but when Samantha's hunger takes over she searches these city-streets for some local food and a favorite pub. Samantha has uncovered the wonders of this once forbidden-city and her people, and she is ready to share it all.
This city is nine times the size of Paris and 20 times the size of Manhattan --- but it may not be on the top of your list as a European travel destination.that is until now. Travel expert, Samantha Brown, takes us to Berlin, Germany. Now you may not think it has the history of Rome, or the splendor of Prague, but Samantha shows us that Berlin is a city whose importance is in the now - it's changing on a daily basis since its re-unification. Samantha takes pleasure in dispelling a few of her misconceptions about this great European city. Did you know that Berlin has nearly 1,700 bridges, even more than the city of Venice, Italy? As Sam takes us to see the sights, we'll hop into a Velo taxi for an open-air ride around town, stop by the Brandenburg Gate to chat with the "king".she'll even sample a local delicacy - currywurzt! The people of Berlin love art, and Samantha shares their excitement for it by visiting one of their top museums - the Pergamon - then she'll explore a newer expression of art in the city - an artist's squat! Samantha's final stop is at the Berlin Wall - decorated by artists from around the world - it's a standing symbol of the new found freedom and life of this great European city - Berlin.
Lisbon, Portugal.it's Europe's smallest capital city, and one whose past is riddled with tales of adventure and trade. The city of Lisbon launched The Age of Discovery - its seaport is where famous explorers set sail in search of unknown lands and riches. Yet today it doesn't receive the attention that other European cities like Paris, Rome or even Madrid get.Travel expert, Samantha Brown, will introduce us to present day Lisbon - a city still inspired by adventure and a sense of vision. Samantha's list of "must see's" - a local artist's studio that creates hand-made tiles as they did centuries ago stepping into a famous monastery that serves up the sweetest pastries you've ever tasted enjoying a cup of bica in a landmark Lisbon coffee house listening to the haunting sounds of "fado"- a music inspired with such emotion that no other nation has duplicated it an overnight stay in a luxury hotel that was once a royal palace and enjoying an authentic Portuguese dinner overlooking the scenic seaport. Samantha shows us that although Lisbon is Europe's smallest capital it will leave a big impression on those who visit it!
For some, European vacations are all about getting up early and rushing from place to place, then standing in long lines to get a glimpse at antiquity. Well it doesn't have to be like that! In this episode of Passport to Europe, travel expert, Samantha Brown has discovered a welcome respite - Seville, Spain! While many Spanish cities are giving up their siestas, the people of Seville, wouldn't dream of it. Their workday starts late, ends early and they think the rest of the world is moving way too fast. The locals have their own definition of "doing nothing" - it means, "enjoying their time". Whether taking in the Moorish castles and gothic cathedrals from poolside, rowing along the river that flows through the town to see fabulous sites, or discussing their wonderful heritage over fine Spanish wines and the best selection of tapas on the planet, Samantha invites you to take a lesson from the people of Seville and learn to enjoy life to the fullest.
There is nothing dull about the city of Madrid, Spain - it's a lively, colorful and sensual city. The people of Madrid have an heir of royalty and a deep respect for their city and their heritage. In this episode of Passport to Europe, travel expert Samantha Brown explores the highest capital city in Europe! On the top of Samantha's "must see" list is the Prado Museum - the most illustrious in the city. When it comes to Spanish cuisine - Madrid doesn't disappoint the appetite - Samantha samples paella and tapas! And for a country that's become famous its wines, Samantha discovers another drink that's really beloved by its countrymen - hot chocolate! The nightlife in Madrid is something to experience, and Samantha joins in the fun and festivities when the sun goes down. She'll "hop on" the public transportation and she'll stay at a hotel designed by a world-renowned theatre designer. Samantha will see that Madrid isn't all old buildings, but in fact this colorful city has a bustling business center known as "modern Madrid." Join Samantha as she experiences the passion that exists in every aspect of Madrid culture and discovers a truly magnificent city!
Barcelona, Spain - its name conjures up images of old world traditions, and a city whose people are energized by their passion for enjoying the most out of life. Travel Expert Samantha Brown packs her bags for this Spanish coastal city where art, architecture and cava wine are all staples of this Catalan lifestyle. Nightlife is big in Barcelona, so Samantha's first stop is at one of the city's most endearing establishments - El Xampanyet Bar. Here Samantha joins locals in taste-testing the house special - a glass of sparkling wine, and gets a lesson in the art of eating anchovies! Samantha discovers the out-of-the-ordinary architecture of Antoni Gaudi, who's celebrated creations appear as if they'd be right at home in an imaginative amusement park. If you prefer a stroll through narrow medieval lanes, then the Barrio Gotico is where you'll get a true sense of Barcelona - whether it's a charming café said to have artistically inspired a young Pablo Picasso, the noisy atmosphere of vendors hawking their wares at a color sidewalk market, or the celebration of the Sardana - a traditional Catalonia dance which attracts hundreds to the main town square each day. Barcelona has always been a city whose independence has been its inspiration, and Samantha finds that to be one of the many reasons it continues to be a popular European destination.
In this episode of Passport to Europe, Samantha Brown finds herself in one of the most romantic cities in the world - Paris! Samantha quickly discovers that the key to unlocking the jewels of the city is in understanding its people, and knowing that a simple "bonjour", "merci", and a little bit of French will go a long way in embracing the culture of France and in turn being welcomed by its people. Samantha has fun trying to immerse herself into the Parisian way of life; instead of a regular hotel, she books herself into an apartment in the Latin Quarter to really get a feel for the neighborhoods of Paris, she'll shop the street markets and buy some wine and cheese along the Rue Montorgueil, and she'll visit a little known museum with an impressive collection of art that is said to have started the whole Impressionistic movement. Samantha also finds out that going to a Paris fashion show is easier than you think - she attends a runway show at Printemps - one of Paris' leading department stores and discovers what the latest styles are in this fashion conscious city, and by meeting up with a personal shopper Samantha tries to discover what Parisians know about fashion that we don't. When it comes to sampling French cuisine, Samantha takes us to a bistro for the ins and outs of dining in Paris. Samantha's experience in the City of Lights is trés bien!
he Eiffel Tower, a stroll along the Seine, world-renown art museums, side walk cafes -they are all images that come to mind when we think of Paris, one of the world's most romantic cities, and one which attracts more than 25 million visitors each year. There's no other city in Europe that evokes quite the same spirit.through centuries of war, devastation, revolution and royalty, the fascination with Paris remains eternal.In this episode of Passport to Europe, Samantha Brown steps out to experience everything that is Simply Paris! Now some of the "must sees" on her list may seem cliché, but all are just a part of the Paris experience like; a stroll along the Champs-Elysees, satisfying a sweet tooth with French pastry at Laduree, a twilight river cruise along the Seine, enjoying a Parisian breakfast at Café les deux Magots, a charming hotel with a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower, even being serenaded by a French accordion player - c'est manifique! Paris is a splendid city - it's opulent, it's magnificent, and when you experience the beauty and the grace of it you realize what makes it so special. Samantha discovers that you don't just love Paris, you fall for her.
In this episode of Passport to Europe Samantha Brown finds herself in southwest Switzerland, in the heart of the snow-capped Swiss Alps in a region known as Bernese Oberland. Within this region, Samantha chooses the town of Interlaken as her home base for a holiday in Switzerland. The town of Interlaken is considered to be the gateway to the Alps and one of the original Alpine resort areas. Sam's first adventure is a 2.5 hour trip, 11,000 feet up to the "Top of Europe" - a lookout point that sits atop Jungfrau Mountain - one of the tallest peaks in all of continental Europe. She also finds herself inside a centuries old glacier and discovers an Ice Palace that is glistening. Claiming to have snow 365 days a year in the mountains, Samantha takes advantage of the white stuff and jumps on for a dogsled ride! Residents of a mountain village share their traditions and invite Samantha to join in their celebration - will she do as the locals do and try some snuff? Fondue anyone? Samantha joins some friends who give her a quick lesson in the art of fondue eating and she finds out why you don't want to be the only one at your table to lose your bread in the fondue! Samantha discovers that Switzerland's landscape, people and culture do not disappoint, and that's why the Bernese Oberland region is not so much a touristy destination but a visitor's paradise.
Switzerland - it's famous for cheese, chocolates, watches, neutrality, and those overseas bank accounts. Samantha flies into Zurich, Switzerland and discovers what's it's like to vacation in one of Europe's most expensive cities. With just over a million people in the Zurich area, a disproportionate number happen to be millionaires - which is likely how the area earned itself the nickname Zu-reich (meaning "too rich"). Samantha discovers that although the streets are not lined with gold, there's plenty of it underground in the vaults of international banks headquartered in Zurich. But for Samantha there's only one thing that could be more valuable - Chocolate! She takes us to a shop called Sprungli, often considered the finest maker of chocolates in the world, to find out the real secret of why the Swiss are so crazy about this delicacy. There's no doubt that things run on time and like clock-work in Zurich, Samantha shops for watches and tries on a truly over-the-top dazzler with nearly 1,300 diamonds in it! And no matter what time of year, the outdoor farmer's markets are the best place to get a sense of the local flavor of a city - Samantha samples some of Switzerland's most famous export - cheese! And she'll uncover whether Swiss cheese really does come from Switzerland? Samantha explores the medieval streets of Zurich's Old Town and shops for the best "take home" gift in the hipper side of the city - the Niederdorf area. And when it comes to dining out - Samantha is introduced to a local custom of sharing your table. Many travelers to Switzerland often land in Zurich only to quickly head out to other parts of the country, but Samantha suggests that time spent exploring this jewel of a city will be well worth your while.
St. Moritz, Switzerland- it's where the very rich and famous arrive in the winter to luxury shop and mingle over champagne- where how you look on the slopes is sometimes more important than how you do. It's a privileged world most of us will never belong to but would love to peek in on. Well Samantha Brown takes us to the Swiss Alps to see what St. Moritz is really all about. Situated in southeast Switzerland, just a three-hour car drive from Zurich, St. Moritz is a village of 6,000 residents that expands to accommodate nearly 100,000 travelers in the winter. Samantha's list of activities is more filled than ever; she'll learn a style secret when it comes to dressing fashionably for the slopes, enjoy a lunch of champagne and truffle pizza aboard the highest yacht club in the world, be serenaded by an alphorn quartet, and experience the run of her life on the world's only natural ice bobsled track. In 1930, the town of St. Moritz trademarked its name to control its image. Seventy-five years ago that was unheard of, but even then the town knew that more so than a physical destination St. Moritz was, for most of the world, a fantasy place. In reality, this is where royalty takes their winter family vacations, where celebrities don ski wear to either hide from or show off for the paparazzi. St. Moritz even has its own slogan- "Top of the World". And after experiencing the luxury, lifestyle, thrills and scenery of this alpine destination, Samantha feels it should be "St. Moritz: Out of the World".
This episode of "Passport to Europe" visits one of Austria's crowning jewels, the city of Vienna. Travelers come to Vienna to experience the extravagance of an imperial empire, where life was lived decadently, nothing was done simply, and even horses danced. As a matter of fact, one of Samantha Brown's first stops is at the Spanish Riding School, where she catches a morning rehearsal of the famous Lippizane stallions. She then takes a crash course of her own by learning a few steps of the Vienna Waltz. But Samantha finds out that waltzing isn't the only thing the Viennese love- they love their coffee, and if you stop into the cozy Café Hawekla for a cappuccino, you may just bump into 90 year old, Mrs. Hawelka who makes it her mission to search out and set up any single person who enters her café. Always uncovering the special places to stay in a city, Samantha finds that just 10 minutes outside the central historical district is the Hotel Alstadt- a real bargain of an establishment. It's a 19th century apartment building turned into a spacious hotel. A trip to Vienna wouldn't be complete without stopping into one of Austria's most famous attractions- Shonbrunn Palace. This is where Marie Antoinette grew up, and where at the age of six, Mozart performed publicly for the first time! Samantha dresses to the nines and discovers the beauty and grace of dancing at one of Vienna's most popular balls- the Officer's Ball at the Emperor's Imperial residence. But one of Samantha's most memorable moments was discovering that the city Vienna is known for its long-standing traditions, culture and beauty. A city that should you visit, listen carefully for this is where you will hear angels sing- and they're called the Vienna Boys Choir- welcome to Vienna!
Samantha is off to discover why so many people go cuckoo for a certain composer and where the sight of alpine mountains makes travelers jump for joy- it's the city of Salzburg! Travelers come to this Austrian destination to experience the atmosphere of a perfectly preserved Baroque city. Its story book architecture and small pocket size, really makes it irresistible. Salzburg is also a city with a strong music tradition, basically the production of one man - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and even though he's been decomposing for the last 200 years, his memory is almost as strong and unbelievable as say Elvis in Memphis, Tennessee. Samantha starts her tour of Salzburg, where else but the home of Mozart, where she discovers that even though he was a musical genius he enjoyed his downtime by playing small wooden musical toys for his family- Sam tries a tune on her own! Having never said "no" to shopping Samantha heads to the distinctive street of Getreidegasse, it's significant for its hanging iron picture signs (this is because back in the day very few people could read), and today it remains a law for shops on this street to continue that tradition- even McDonalds! Samantha gets a fashion lesson in Austrian culture by modeling a drindle, a traditional Austrian dress. Now when you're traveling to a foreign country you don't often get this next experience, but in Salzburg it's where locals go for a casual meal- Sam is actually having dinner in a working farmhouse where generations of the same family prepare you specialties of the region and everything is homemade from the farm- they are known as Baurnrasts! Samantha also finds something so unmistakably Austrian yet so deeply woven into the fabric of our own country that to miss it would be absolutely un-patriotic- the Sound of Music Tour! The biggest shock for Samantha was finding out from her guide that most Austrians don't know the Sound of Music, and that it only aired for the first time on TV here in 2001! Salzburg, Austria is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but what Samantha enjoys most about this small city is that through all the push for tourism Salzburg remains a real place- meeting real people and doing what they normally do but in another part of the world well- well, those are some of Samantha's favorite things!
Samantha Brown's European adventure takes her to a destination so perfect for winter sports that not one, but two Olympics have been held there! It has all the charm and tradition you'd expect from an alpine village.and much more. Samantha's heading to Innsbruck, Austria! Yes, Innsbruck is a perfect destination even when it's not snowing! Samantha discovers it's a well-rounded city that by no means relies on tourism alone. A walk around town has Samantha stopping into quaint shops where she'll sample local foods (Austria's version of a BLT) and enjoy a sip of what seems to be the national drink, Schnapps! For a little outdoor activity Samantha tests her skills of speed and steadiness at biathlon, but with a twist - instead of skis, she's wearing snowshoes! Samantha also discovers what it would feel like to be inside a giant engagement ring at the world famous Swarovski Crystal Worlds. And she gets a lesson in bell-making from a family who has made it their living and their love for centuries. Through her adventures, Samantha discovers that Innsbruck is much more than a ski resort made famous by a few Olympics, it's got history, a brilliant landscape, and wonderfully warm people, and traditions that make any trip to this alpine city always memorable.
Winter on the French Riviera, you would think it would be quiet, right?The temperatures aren't sizzling, there are no beautiful women sunbathing topless on the beach, but that doesn't mean things don't heat up..it's February and that means Carnival! Samantha Brown heads to the south of France just in time to be a part of this yearly celebration. Her first stop is Cannes, France - a fantasy place with a glamorous and international lifestyle - and known throughout the world for its annual film festival. Samantha gets in inside look from a local photographer whose family has been snapping the pictures of"A-List" movie stars for generations. Besides the glamorous hotels and chic cafes that line Cannes' main boulevard, La Croisette, this coastal city also has two attractive islands - in the summer months thousands of visitors escape to these natural settings, but back in medieval times it was an island that many tried to escape from - it housed a state prison, and a very famous inmate - the Man in the Iron Mask! From Cannes, Samantha heads to Nice - France's 5th largest city and one which is grounded with a rich and authentic character. Samantha gets a taste of local culture by strolling through its quaint neighborhoods in Old Town, discovering its popular outdoor markets and sampling a favorite snack - socca!Nice's landmark boulevard is Promenade des Anglais - and if you've ever been to Miami's South Beach, then this is the French equivalent. But the highlight of her stay on the French Riviera is definitely - Carnival! Overrun with dancers, musicians, balloons, and carnival floats - some form of this colorful celebration has been going on in Nice for over a hundred years.Cannes and Nice are two very different destinations along the French Riviera -both experiences are valuable to a traveler visiting an area immensely diversified where art, history, food and wine mix together in the luxurious climate of the south of France.
In this episode of Passport to Europe, Samantha Brown takes off to a country whose name is synonymous with luxury - Monaco! For most of us, Monaco is a place where an American girl became a Princess. It's where the outrageously wealthy live a lifestyle beyond imagination.and Samantha is anxious to get a glimpse of how the rich and famous do it up in style. For its lofty reputation, most folks don't know that Monaco is tiny, not even one square mile - in fact, the entire country can fit into New York's Central Park! One attraction that can't be missed is the changing of the guard at the Palace - the Grimaldi family came into power in the late 13th century and never left - but that's all right with the people of Monaco - the royal family makes sure that citizens don't pay taxes, and even supplies them with free cable! Being situated along the Mediterranean, Monaco has always had a connection with the sea. Samantha explores its popular Oceanography Museum and discovers not only its unique marine line but learns that the famous oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau led sea expeditions at this museum for over thirty years. The Grand Prix - auto racings glitziest event is held annually through the winding streets of Monaco. Samantha meets up with a past racing champion and takes a spin around town, but it's not in a race car! Ever heard of a soft drink costing 10 bucks - try the mini bar in a Monaco hotel! When it comes to experiencing the billionaire lifestyle Samantha may be on the sidelines except for her accommodations - Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo - where she's right in the game. People flock to Monaco for its famous casino in Monte Carlo - Samantha doesn't gamble but she does do what almost everyone does who comes to gamble - rubs the bronze statue of Louis XV's horse's leg for good luck! Just about 20 minutes from Monaco, Samantha discovers the medieval village of Ez - a place that seems lost in time - it's so perfect that Sam begins to question whether it's real or not - it's real alright! She finds a quaint place to overnight it - Hotel Eza, and comes out smelling sweet after a shopping spree at the famous Fragonard - a premier French perfumery with an outlet in Ez. Early Spring may not be the high season for travelers in the principality of Monaco or the charming village of Ez, but this quieter time of year affords Samantha an opportunity to discover and experience at her own pace these two unique destinations along the Cote d'Azur.
The city of Naples may not be the first place you think of when envisioning a vacation destination in Italy. Many travelers pass through Naples on their way to the enchanting destinations of the Amalfi Coast - and with good reason, Naplesis a challenging city to be in, but missing out on the Napoli experience is a big mistake, or is it? Samantha takes on the challenge of tackling this city along the Mediterranean Sea and she's amazed by it! Samantha's first tip - hire a local guide. Marcello Uzi, a lifelong Neapolitan takes her for a stroll through Naples' Centro Storico - it's historic district. A walk down the streets of Spaccanopoli and the chaotic Pignasecca is to experience Naples at its greatest intensity - narrow cobblestone streets, bustling outdoor markets, scooters zipping in between pedestrians, and the rush of Neapolitans going about their daily business, this is the heart of Naples. It's an open-air museum, which reflects the diverse cultures that have left their mark on the art, architecture and customs of this city. There are some quieter spots to be found too. Samantha discovers the serene setting of the Cloister of Santa Chiara - a 17th century monastery whose garden is open to the public. Eighteen century Baroque frescoes amid majolica tiled columns and benches make it the perfect place to recharge. Un Caffe, or coffee, is big in Naples - but it's not like American coffee! Samantha steps up to the coffee bar at Gambrinus, a century old café to drink what Neapolitans drink for an energy buzz! Everyone knows that Italians are passionate people. They are also passionate and proud of their music - especially opera. Samantha steps inside one of Italy's most historic opera houses, the famed Teatro di San Carlo, where she learns a few new things about opera. In Italy it seems everything has a connection to food, and in Naples that food is pizza! Will it be Marinara or Margherita? Samantha takes a break in one of the city's most popular pizzerias - Da Michele, to taste test a pizza pie! Samantha finds Naples to be a city full of contradictions - it can be alienating and frustrating, but at the same time fascinating. It's an authentic place in every sense of the word that never comes to you in small easy to swallow bites - in Naples you always get the whole pizza!
The Italians have a saying: "il dolce far niente", the sweetness of doing nothing. That's exactly the philosophy Samantha Brown has as she sets out for her next vacation destination; Italy's Amalfi Coast! Situated in Southern Italy, Samantha explores the cities, towns and villages along this untamed and magnificent stretch of coastline. Her first stop is the town of Sorrento, an hour's drive south from Naples, Italy. It is in Sorrento that Samantha first picks up on the sweetness of doing nothing by watching the local residents gather in the town's center to do "nothing". She'll explore the narrow streets of the historic district, buy a pair of hand-made leather gloves, visit a lemon garden to sample a famous Sorrento drink - limoncello, and she'll get a real taste of Italy by joining a family for lunch at home. From Sorrento it's off to the southernmost destination along the Amalfi Coast - the town of Amalfi itself. Steeped in historical significance, Amalfi was once the wealthiest and most powerful ports in Italy. Samantha also discovers this town's importance with the written word - Amalfi was the European capital of papermaking. Tucked away on a side street, Samantha finds a descendant of a master papermaker who today continues this ancient craft that first came to Amalfi in 1220. Samantha ends her journey of the Amalfi Coast in the picturesque hillside village of Positano. It's brightly colored homes and shops that are literally built into the rock of the mountainside appear as if they are falling down into the Mediterranean Sea making it one of the most photographed fishing villages in the world. Although Samantha visited only a sampling of Italy's southwest coast, the whole idea of this vacation was to take a cue from the Italians who make it a priority not to rush through things, but to savor the moment and enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing, and Italy's incredible Amalfi Coast is the best place to do just that.
Ever consider Brussels, Belgium as your next European vacation destination? Samantha Brown takes off to this capital city and is totally charmed by it. The country of Belgium is roughly the size of Maryland - and with nearly one million people, its capital city, Brussels is compact as well. But its size in no way means it's inferior. Brussels is a powerful city. The headquarters of NATO is here, as well as the headquarters of the European Union. The political, social and economic future of all of Europe is decided within these city limits. But unlike Paris which has the Eiffel Tower, London which has Big Ben, and Rome which has the Coliseum - Brussels has as its symbol - a bronze statue of a little boy taking a pee -yep, it's called Manneken Pis, and it's the talk of the town. Now another thing that most folks may not know is that Belgium has a King and Queen - but instead of a visit to their palace in Brussels, Samantha decides to experience another royal side of Brussels - the royal supplier of chocolate! Samantha also learns that Brussels has a certain unexpected edge when it comes to fashion - will she transform her wardrobe with Belgian style? She also visits one of the cities most cherished museums - but it doesn't house Rembrandts, Picassos or even Van Gogh's - it's a comic strip museum! (60% of all books published in Belgium are comic books). Ok, you've heard of Belgian waffles and Sam can attest that they are delicious, but Samantha's surprised to find out what their equivalent to the hotdog stand is? Would you believe escargot? When it comes to accommodations Samantha checks into a themed hotel that's one of the cities best deals, and a very welcoming place too - Hotel Welcome! Because of their history as an international city with many cultures contributing to its mix, Samantha found the residents of Brussels friendly, funny and open to everyone visiting their city - so whether you have a waffle in your hand, a piece of chocolate or a beer, Brussels is a city to relax in and enjoy.
Did you know that the city of Amsterdam has more bridges and canals than Venice? And that nearly 80% of the population of the Netherlands owns a bicycle? These are just a few things that Samantha Brown discovers in this episode of Passport to Europe when she visits the city of Amsterdam, Holland.Samantha arrives just in time to see fields and fields of tulips at the Keukenhof Gardens. Flowers aren't the only thing of beauty in Amsterdam - the city has over 55 museums, and one of its most visited is dedicated to the famous one eared Dutchman - Vincent Van Gogh. Sam discovers that although he completed nearly 1100 drawings and 900 paintings, Van Gogh only sold two during his lifetime! Bicycles are everywhere in Amsterdam - so Samantha hops on and cycles around town exploring its canals and colorful neighborhoods. She also tries something that, let's just say, you have to sample while you are in Amsterdam - it's available, you can get it on the streets, and the locals love it - it's herring! You won't believe how the locals eat it! Now there's one other thing that Amsterdam is known for - it's coffee houses. Samantha steps inside to see that coffee isn't the only thing on their menu! The canals of Amsterdam are world famous - and what better place to call home during your visit than a houseboat - Samantha checks in for a different kind of hotel experience. Everyone's heard of the Diary of Anne Frank - it's one of the most important historical documents of the 20th century. Samantha tours the very building where Anne and her family hid during World War II -- a powerful and memorable experience for anyone who visits this site. Sam wraps up her stay by meeting a few locals at one of the oldest cafes - and she finds out why they're called "brown" cafes? Amsterdam has plenty to offer the traveler who comes to this city in search of its history, but Sam reminds us not to forget to see the Amsterdam right in front of your eyes.
When it comes to the top city destinations in Europe if London is number one, Paris two, what do you think number three is? Dublin, Ireland.just ask the tourism office! Dublin is experiencing a massive revitalization, word has gotten out that this once very solidly Irish city is becoming more international and cosmopolitan - but Samantha isn't traveling to Ireland to eat fusion food or drink apple martinis - she's there to experience its traditional Irish heritage. But does the old Dublin still exist? In this episode of Passport to Europe Samantha travels to Ireland's capital city and finds out that authentic Dublin certainly does still exit, and you'll find it most entertainingly in its people! Samantha visits what is considered to be the city's cultural quarter - an area known as Temple Bar - at night this area is party central. To see what's happening around town, Sam makes a stop at Dublin's Tourist Office - which is like a community center for travelers. Here she finds the true meaning of the Irish saying, "Pog Ma Thoin". Now when it comes to great accommodations in Dublin, Sam has all angles covered - she finds one hotel that will please any traveler's budget - it's 99 Euros a night, and another that has the hippest address in the city. No trip to Ireland would be complete without drinking a pint of beer in a pub -- Sam meets up with a few locals and enjoys traditional music and stories on a pub-crawl around town. She also discovers the "secret" behind the colorful doors of Dublin, takes a carriage ride around St. Stephen's Green, and steps inside an incredible library and finds out the author of Dracula was a Dubliner. One of Ireland's most popular exports has to be Guiness beer - Sam discovers the connection between beer and the Guinness Book of World Records. Sam's tips for visiting Dublin; definitely see Trinity College, Book of Kells and St. Patrick's Cathedral, but don't forget that the true attraction of this city is the Dubliner himself.
You don't have to be Irish to enjoy a trip to Ireland. In this episode of Passport to Europe, Samantha Brown takes off into the countryside of the Emerald Isle to explore the counties of Kerry and Cork! Her first stop, the picture postcard harbor town of Cobh (Cove) - it's here where 2.5 million Irish emigrants set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in pursuit of a better life in America. Today, 43 million Americans can trace their ancestry back to Ireland - so its not doubt they travel back here to find their roots. The city of Cork may get a bad wrap because it simply isn't Dublin, but it still treasures its historical significance and once place to experience that pride is The English Market.Sam is surrounded by the bounty of the countryside and gets the inside scoop on Ireland's cuisine by ordering up a traditional Irish breakfast - what's really inside brown & white pudding? It's said that the Irish are always quick with a story, and the gift of blarney - but where did that come from? Samantha visits the one and only Blarney Castle to see just how difficult it is to kiss that Blarney Stone? Images of Ireland conjure up rolling hillsides, lakes and woodlands, sheep grazing in the meadows, and crystal clear streams and rivers. Just two hours outside of Cork in the town of Kenmare these images come true - Samantha chooses the idyllic setting of Sheen Falls Lodge as her countryside hotel. The colorful town of Kenmare is where Sam will do a little shopping for Irish sweaters, and then she's off by car to explore the Ring of Beara - where the only other traffic she encounters are cows! There's no denying the effect a visit to the Irish countryside will have on those who travel here. But it's the people you will remember the most. To say that they are friendly just doesn't do them justice. Ireland is a country where even if you are not here in search of your ancestry, you will no doubt find a part of yourself.