Program 348: War Zone Correspondent; Embedded Christmas; Holidays in the Alps; The French Cheese Plate

Release Date: 12-14-2013

On Air Description

On the next Travel with Rick Steves, we take a look at the conflict centers of the world through the lens of a foreign correspondent from the BBC.  We hear how Christmas with the troops in Afghanistan can be a bit of a surreal experience.  We'll also get a look at how they celebrate the holidays in Switzerland and Austria.  And Rick learns the essentials of serving a well-balanced savory cheese plate, the way it's done in France. 

From war zones, to snow-covered peaceful villages, you'll find new ways to see the world each week on Travel with Rick Steves.


  • BBC news correspondent Nick Bryant, author of "Confessions from Correspondent-Land:  The Dangers and Delights of Life as a Foreign Correspondent" (Oneworld Publications)
  • Freelance reporter Jake Warga
  • Call-out to Olle Eggimann, proprietor of "Olle and Maria's B and B" in Gimmewald, Switzerland 
  • Call-out to Gabi Koch, at her family-owned Hotel Maximilian in Reutte, Austria 
  • Kathe Lison, author of "The Whole Fromage:  Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese" (Random House)

Related Links


  • Asks for Nick Bryant's response to Christopher Hedges' observations on war "as a kind of narcotic, and its appeal/effect on society and on journalists."  (Nicole in Dallas, Texas)

Incidental Music

  • NRBQ, “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen,” Christmas Wish / Big Note
  • Funkhaus, "Funkhaus Soul,"  Berlin Lounge-Berlin By Day  (collection) / Wagram (France)
  • Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Uri Mayer, cond., "Capriol Suite-Pavane  (Peter Warlock),” Orchestral Suites of the British Isles / CBC Records
  • Dick Hyman and His Orchestra, "Washington Square," Cocktail Mix vol. 2 (collection) / Rhino
  • * Marion Verbruggen, recorder, “'Praeludium' from Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 (J. S. Bach),” A Decade of Excellence (sampler) / Harmonia Mundi
  • R.L. Burnside, “Come On In, part 2,” Come On In / Fat Possum Records
  • Yves Larock, “Nomadic Knights,” Buddha Bar vol. VIII - by Sam Popat (collection) / George V (France)
  • St. Olaf College Orchestra, "Dance of the Shepherds (from 'Amahl and the Night Visitors')," What Child is This?  The Saint Olaf Christmas Festival, vol. III / St. Olaf Records
  • Ekimi, “Next Noel.” The Next Noel / Music-West
  • Ludus Ensemble, "A g'he dent ul füm en ca (traditional Swiss melody)," Zurich Boys' Choir:  The Most Beautiful Swiss Folk Songs and Tunes / SRI Musica Helvetica
  • David M. Patrick, on the organ of Gloucester Cathedral, "'Scherzo' from Organ Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op. 13, no. 4 (Widor)," French Organ Masterworks / Resonance
  • * New Mayfair Orchestra, "Savoy Christmas Medley," 1920s Christmas:  Rhythm and Booze (collection) / Holiday Classic Records
  • Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts Colonne (Georges Tzipine, cond.), "'Démons et merveilles' from the film 'Les visiteurs du soir'," Le Film Français:  Honegger, Françaix, Sauguet, Thiriet / EMI Classics
  • London Symphony Orchestra, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, cond., "Boléro, ballet for orchestra (Ravel)," The Kiss:  Music for Love and Passion (collection) / Interchord
  • Daniel Barenboim, "Berceuse in D flat, op. 57 (Chopin)," Essential Chopin, disc 2 (collection) / EMI Classics
  • Michel Legrand, "Generique: I Will Wait for You  (Je Ne Pourrai jamais Vivre Sans Toi)," Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (soundtrack) / Sony Music Entertainment (France)
  • Ludus Ensemble, "A g'he dent ul füm en ca (traditional Swiss melody)," Zurich Boys' Choir:  The Most Beautiful Swiss Folk Songs and Tunes / SRI Musica Helvetica
  • Jerry Shard and his Music, "Can, Can, Can,"  Ultra-Lounge, vol. 10:  A Bachelor in Paris (collection) / Capitol
  • Josem, "John C Tutti Danse-image 1," Josem:  20 ans / (self-released) (France)
  • Baltimore Symphony, David Zinman, cond., "'Songe d'une nuit de sabbat' from Symphonie fantastique op. 14 (Berlioz)," Berlioz:  Symphonie Fantastique  / Telarc
  • Nancy Allen,  “‘Menuet’ from Suite Bergamasque (Debussy),” Ravel & Debussy / Angel  
  • * F. Barcellini, “Musique Strand (soundtrack from the Jacques Tati film ‘Play Time’),” Music from the Films of Jacques Tati / Philips-PolyGram (France)
  • Choeur des enfants de la Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris, "Noël bourguignon:  Guillo, prends ton tambourin," Musique Sacrée à Notre-Dame de Paris / RCA Victor - BMG France
  • Yves Castagnet, organ, "Tambourin (Corette)," Musique Sacrée à Notre-Dame de Paris / RCA Victor - BMG France

Dated References

  • In the billboard and segment A open, Rick refers to Christmas and observing the holiday while serving in the military overseas,  "embedded with the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq."  
  • Nick Bryant discusses politics in Pakistan, starting at 9:58, and adds that the country's cricket team has a reputation for being corrupt.   
  • Rick calls the peace accords in Northern Ireland "a real success story" at 12:14.
  • Nick comments that he's worried about the news media landscape in America, and cites CNN as being squeezed for ratings between commentary-based Fox and MSNBC, and the lack of foreign-based American correspondents.  He adds cutbacks are also happening in Britain.
  • Segment B consists of Christmas season interviews.  It opens with Jake Warga, who describes Christmas arrangements for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by call-outs to Switzerland and Austria, in which local traditions for Dec. 6 and Dec. 24/25 are described.
  • Rick says "we'll feature more international Christmas traditions on the show next week" at 37:58.

Program Extras

Program 348 Extra - BBC foreign correspondent Nick Bryant comments on what he says was one of the most consequential stories he ever covered, and explains to Rick how the model for funding the BBC differs from the funding structure for public broadcasting in the US. (runs 2:19)