Program 628: Amtrakistan; Astronaut's View; Renaissance Florence

Release Date: 02-06-2021


Find out what taking high-definition photos of Earth through the windows of the International Space Station revealed to astronaut Chris Hadfield. Hear why writer Eric Weiner prefers spending four days on Amtrak over a cross-country flight. And get inspired to view the Renaissance treasures of Florence.


  • Eric Weiner, author of "The Socrates Express" (Avid Reader Press-Simon & Schuster)
  • Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Commander of International Space Station Expedition 35, and author of "You Are Here" and "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" (Little, Brown and Co.)
  • Tuscany-based tour guide and art historian Anna Piperato

Additional Info

  • Eric Weiner describes for Afar magazine how an Amtrak train trip across America can give you that extra time you're always complaining you don't have.
  • Eric's book "The Socrates Express" is already in its third printing, and is being translated into more than a dozen languages, from Bulgarian to Vietnamese. He talks to Rick about it on Travel with Rick Steves program #611 from August 2020.
  • Chris Hadfield has published a photo book of earth scenes he took from the International Space Station, called "You Are Here." It is available from the website. His latest title is a children's picture book about encountering the unknown, called "The Darkest Dark."
  • NASA provides live high-definition photos of earth from the arm of the International Space Station.
  • Rick's online guide to the sights of Florence.
  • Art history scholar Anna Piperato is based in Siena, and leads tours of Tuscany, including Florence.
  • You can hear more conversations with Rick on the artists and treasures of Florence in the Travel with Rick Steves program archives. William E. Wallace talks about "Michelangelo's Florence" on Travel with Rick Steves program #265A from March, 2013. So does Miles J. Unger on program #481A from April 2020, and on program #438 from March, 2016.
  • You can also search for Rick's earlier interview with Salman Rushdie about his book, "The Empress of Florence" on Travel with Rick Steves program #142A from July 2010 on Soundcloud.