Program 359: Issues in Germany; Democracy In Turkey; Open Phones

Release Date: 03-29-2014

On Air Description

On the next Travel with Rick Steves, Rick chats with friends from Germany about the news their neighbors are talking about, including prospects for their new coalition government, and the economic trends in Europe. And a tour guide from Turkey describes what prompted her to join the protests on the streets of Istanbul last year, as thousands of her fellow citizens demonstrated against the policies of their government's ruling party.

Plus, Rick shares travel notes with listeners about Egypt, Italy, and France.

International news gets personal, on this week's Travel with Rick Steves.


  • Holger Zimmer, radio journalist and German tour guide based in Berlin
  • Fabian Rueger, tour guide to Germany
  • Yaren Turkoglu, Turkish tour guide based in Istanbul

Related Links

  • The English-language online version of the German publication Speigel International keeps track of politics in Germany.  
  • Websites for the German bands Culcha Candela and Seeed, and for the Berlin-based singer Laura López Castro
  • Wikipedia provides a detailed timeline of the 2013 protests in Turkey. 
  • Feluccas are a traditional way to cruise the Nile River.
  • The Guardian writes about the calanques near Cassis, France. 
  • Wikipedia notes that Trapani, Sicily, has held all-day religious processions on Good Friday, called the Misteri di Trapani, for more than 400 years.


  • "Last summer I was in the Westerwald of Germany and heard discussions of how their tax money was still funding infrastructure in the former East Germany, while there was nothing for their area. They said their region was becoming down-trodden. I noticed this when I traveled by train in this region and can share a few stories, including a cable down on the tracks and the train fiasco which ensued."    (Sally in Ashland, Pennsylvania)   
  • "My dream is to visit Turkey and travel around the country. However, I have concerns about the safety of traveling in Turkey at this tumultuous time. What is your opinion?"    (e-mail from Nancy in Portland, Oregon)
  • "How are Turkish women participating in the demonstrations and political challenges in Turkey? Are women accepted as participants, and even perhaps as leaders in the protest movement?"  (Jane in New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • "Sailing down the Nile on a felucca was the highlight of my trip to Egypt. The skilled navigator of this ancient craft at twilight, with no modern instruments,  was amazing.  I was scheduled to take my husband and grandson to Egypt soon, but cancelled due to recent riots. Do think it is safe to go there in the near future?"    (Barbara in San Clemente, California)
  • "What do you consider the minimum amount of time for a first visit to Paris? I have 3 weeks - am thinking seven to ten days in Paris - the rest, driving in Provence. What do you think?  Also, what is the best time of year to drive around the south of France?  I'd love to see the lavender, but avoid the huge summer crowds."    (e-mail from Sue in Girdwood, Alaska)   
  • "I have heard rave reviews about the calanques (the steep-walled inlets and bays) along the Mediterranean coastline.  Can you tell me more about them?  Can I take a boat tour or scenic walk to experience them?"   (e-mail from Justin in Pacifica, California)
  • "My wife and I are both in our late sixties and have traveled all over the world. We still travel with backpacks and stay in B&B's and small hotels. We are thinking about moving to Italy for a year. We love all of Italy. Where do you think we should land?  Large city (Roma, Venice) or in the country (Tuscany, Sicily)? We are easy to please, and always looking for a new adventure."    (Bill in Sharpsburg, Georgia)
  • "I'm planning a two-week trip to Italy.  We’re trying to maximize visiting places and minimize the number of times we decamp.  Is it worth using two or three cities as a home base, or should we just deal with moving every two or three days?"   (e-mail from Saul in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • "How is driving around Italy if you haven't driven in Europe before?  Sounds like Rome itself is daunting, but I would like to get a lot of local flavor outside of Rome."    (e-mail from Stuart in Spartanburg, South Carolina)
  • "I have learned to always ask for directions in Italy. One time we could not find our B&B in Trapani, so I told my husband to stop the car.  I got out and found an older lady in the crowd in the square.  She didn't know where it was, but she took me by the hand and she asked everyone she knew where it was. After about 45 minutes, she led me to the door. It was one of the most memorable experiences I had there.  People will come out of their shop and walk you down the street and around the corner to show you where to go. Other people have opened their shop so they could contact the owner of a B&B to come guide us to their place."  (Alyce in Carlsbad, California)
  • "I am planning to visit Istanbul soon.  It's been my hope for several years to also visit Ephesus.  How easy is it to get from one to the other?"   (e-mail from Barbara in Bountiful, Utah)

Incidental Music

  • Orient Expressions, “Istanbul 1:26am,”  Divan / DoubleMoon
  • Mo'Horizons, "Superworld," Berlin Lounge:  Berlin By Night (collection) / Wagram
  • Seeed, "Doctor's Darling (Version)," Riddem Driven:  Doctor's Darling (various artists) / VP Records
  • * Peter Thomas, “Theme for Airport,” Deutsche Filmkomponisten Folge 5 / Bear Family Records (Germany)
  • Brooklyn Funk Essentials, "In the BuzzBag," In the BuzzBag / DoubleMoon (Turkey)
  • Alkishlalar Yashiyorum, "Every Day I'm Chapulling," sampling LMFAO, "Party Rock Anthem," Sorry for Party Rocking / Interscope
  • Sezen Aksu, "Hadi Nakalim," Turkish Supreme (collection) / Podis-Polygram (France)
  •  Brooklyn Funk Essentials, "Zuma Preserve," In the Buzz Bag / DoubleMoon (Turkey)
  • * Ottoman Military Project, “Ceddin Dedden,”  Nirvana Lounge by Claude Challe & Ravin (collection) / Challo Music (France)
  • Nancy Allen, Tokyo String Quartet, "'Introduction' from 'Danses Sacrées Et Profane' (Ravel)," Ravel & Debussy / Angel 
  • Jean-Pierre Rampal and Wolfgang Schultz, "Echo for Two Flutes:  III-Presto (Haydn)," Sony Almanac 1992 Highlights of the Year (sampler) / Sony assical
  • Pascal Rogé, "Gymnopedie No. 2 (Satie)," After the Rain:  The Soft Sounds of Erik Satie / London Records
  • Cincinnati Pops, Paul Patterson, mandolin, Erich Kunzel, cond., "'Allegro' from 'Mandolin Concerto' (Vivaldi)," Bella Tuscany (collection) / Telarc
  • church bells opening SFX on Georgian Harmony Choir, “Easter Troparian,” Sacred Georgian Chants / Jade-Milan Records
  • Old Musical Workshop, "Parthenio Tou Alkmanos," Ancient Greek Melodies (collection) / FM

Dated References

  • The billboard and segment A interview refer to a new coalition government in Germany (formed in December 2013).
  • The billboard, promo, segment A open, and the entire segment B interview refer to the recent (and on-going) series of public protests in Turkey, which started in May 2013.
  • At 10:05, Fabian notes that the recent compromises to form the government in Germany are not popular, and experts predict the coalition will not last long.  Rick responds that the German-style compromise is the opposite of deadlocked American politics. 
  • Around 11:30, Holger and Fabian discuss the central role of economic policies in Europe. 
  • Caller Sally says she went to Germany "last summer" at 12:10, and reports on complaints she heard from West Germans about the degree of taxes spent to upgrade the reunited East Germany, at the perceived expense of maintaining services in the West.   At 15:52, Holger adds that every few months there is talk of when to discontinue subsidies for the former East of Germany. 
  • At 16:45 Holger mentions two popular bands in Germany are Seeed and its lead singer Peter Fox, and Culcha Candela, and Fabian adds that Laura Lopez Castro is a newly popular Berlin-based singer.
  • At 25:23 Rick notes the prime minister of Turkey is Tayyip Erdogan.  In his reset at 26:07, he mentions the "recent demonstrations in Istanbul."
  • Rick says he "was just in Palestine" at 30:23, and reports that Palestinian women told him they considered Turkey to be one of the most liberal Muslim countries.
  • Rick and Yaren reassure caller Jane that it's safe for visitors in Turkey.  Her call starts at 27:33.
  • Rick tells caller Barbara at 41:56 that he does not recommend tourist travel to Egypt at this time, due to the country's political unrest.  At 41:07 he tells her he "was just there a few months ago,"  then adds that Luxor and Aswan felt more comfortable than either Cairo or Alexandria.
  • Rick replies to e-mailer Sue's question about driving in Provence to view lavender in bloom, by telling her it peaks in July when the region is more crowded and hot.  He adds he prefers May or September for visiting there.
  • At 49:17 Rick says Italy has recently surpassed England in per capita income, and he credits it to the economic drive of Milan. 
  • Caller Alice describes Easter Holy Week activities she enjoyed observing in a small town in Sicily, starting at 54:35.