Program 658: Humble American Bragging; Why I Love Madrid; Deep Time Journey

Release Date: 11-20-2021


British travel writer Richard Grant discusses the sporting sense of humor he's observed (and appreciated) behind the distinctly American talent for over-the-top bragging. Then tour guides from Madrid let us in on their favorite places to take visitors in the Spanish capital. And we ponder our place in the planet's history with author Robert Macfarlane, who shares insights gained from a decade of investigating, from a perspective of geologic time, humanity's relationship with our landscape.


  • Richard Grant, author of "The Deepest South of All" (Simon and Schuster)
  • Madrid-based tour guides Federico Garcia Barroso, Amanda Buttinger, and
  • Javier Menor
  • Robert Macfarlane, author of "Underland" (W. W. Norton)

Additional Info

  • Richard Grant writes for Smithsonian magazine, the New York Times, and other publications.  He is the author of "The Deepest South of All" about the people he got to know in Natchez, Mississippi. Richard wrote "A Short History of American Bragging" for issue 26 of Port magazine.
  • Richard Grant spoke with Rick about renovating a farmhouse on the Mississippi Delta on Travel with Rick Steves program #434a, which aired in July 2018.  He also describes touring options in the Mississippi Delta region on program #449 from July 2016.
  • The Rick Steves online guide to Madrid
  • Amanda Buttinger offers tours of Madrid and surrounding areas.
  • Tour guide Federico Garcia Barroso is based in Madrid.
  • Javier Menor offers customized guiding itineraries in and around Madrid, Toledo and Segovia.   
  • Federico recommends the renovated marketspace at Mercado Platea for a good variety of affordable Spanish food. Caller Lynn and Rick also rave about the less-famous Cerralbo and Sorolla Museums in Madrid.
  • Robert Macfarlane published "Underland" in 2019 to critical acclaim; it is now available in paperback.  Robert teaches Environmental Humanities in the English department at Emmanuel College at Cambridge University, and posts frequently to his Twitter account.
  • Robert Macfarlane talks to Rick further about the "Underland" on Travel with Rick Steves program #638 in May 2021.

Program Extras

More with Richard Grant - Writer Richard Grant examines what's different about the style of bragging that Donald Trump does, compared with other classic American boasters. (runs 1:33)