Program 609: Locked Down in Switzerland and Belgium; Reykjavík Day Trips; Mongol Derby

Release Date: 08-01-2020


Meet the first woman — and youngest contestant — to win the world's longest endurance horse race across the wilds of Mongolia. Explore the beauty of Iceland on a day trip from the capital, Reykjavík. And hear what the pandemic lockdown has been like for Rick's friends in Belgium and Switzerland.


  • Call-outs to tour guides Stephen McPhilemy in Lauterbrunen, Switzerland and Hilbren Buys in Brussels, Belgium
  • Yorick Harker, tour guide to Iceland
  • Cameron Hewitt, co-author of the "Rick Steves Iceland" guidebook (Avalon)
  • Lara Prior-Palmer, author of "Rough Magic" (Catapult) 

Additional Info

  • Swiss Radio International provides updates on the Swiss pandemic statistics and response on their English language webpages.
  • Stephen McPhilemy joined us from the Hotel Oberland in Lauterbrunen, in the Swiss Alps.
  • Hilbren Buys leads custom food-themed tours in Brussels.
  • Cameron Hewitt is co-author of the Rick Steves Iceland guidebook.  He blogs about his four favorite day trips from Reykjavík from his guidebook research, including the Golden Circle drive.
  • Iceland Air continues to offer extended layovers in Reykjavík on its flights between Europe and North America.
  • Perlan, aka "The Pearl," is a Nature Exploratorium in Reykjavík that Rick recommends.
  • Caller Deana recommends the free guided tours from CityWalk Reykjavík to shake off jetlag when you arrive in Iceland.
  • Lara Prior-Palmer wrote "Rough Magic" about her 2013 surprise win of the Mongol Derby.
  • The Mongol Derby is run by The Adventurists, who specialize in multinational endurance rallies. They've postponed the 2020 Derby to July 24, 2021, with another race starting on August 1st in 2021.

Program Extras

More with Lara Prior-Palmer - Lara Prior-Palmer explains the origins of the Adventurists, who organize the Mongol Derby. She also tells Rick how she'd like to experience a different side of Mongolia on a return visit, and how winning the race and writing her book has changed how she views herself. (runs 4:55)