Program 698: Ready for Christmas Near and Far; Wassailing

Release Date: 12-17-2022


In the first of two holiday-themed shows, Rick's guests recall their childhood Christmases in the Netherlands, Italy, and New Mexico. Then more friends join us to describe what you're likely to find this time of year in Austria, Australia, Japan...and Antarctica. Plus, we'll hear about how the English tradition of "wassailing" developed as a way to guarantee a good apple harvest — or at least an occasion to enjoy a warm drink with neighbors.


  • Paris-based tour guide Elisabeth van Hest
  • Travel writer Zora O'Neill
  • Elena Zampiron, tour guide from Venice
  • Lorraine Dineen, tour guide from Bath, England 
  • Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet
  • Callout to hotelier Gabi Koch in Reutte, Austria
  • Journalist Fen Montaigne
  • Travel writer/tour guide Don George
  • Callout to hotelier Matteo Pasini in Monterroso, Italy

Additional Info

  • Dutch-born Elisabeth van Hest is a licensed private tour guide, based in Paris since 1975.  She can be reached at [email protected] for France tours in English, German, Dutch and French.
  • Zora O'Neill writes about food and travel.   
  • Moon has updated its guidebooks to New Mexico.  
  • Venetian tour guide Elena Zampiron offers walking, biking, and kayak tours in and around Venice, and language coaching in Italian, German and Spanish.
  • Lorraine Dineen leads scenic walking tours around Britain from her home base in Bath, England.  
  • Tony Wheeler writes about his travels, and includes a reading list of works that influenced his book "Dark Lands," on his website.
  • Gabi Koch and her sister-in-law run the Maximilian Hotel, on the edge of Reutte, in the Austrian Tirol.
  • Journalist Fen Montaigne spent time in Antarctica while researching his book "Fraser's Penguins."  
  • Don George has collected essays he's written over more than 40 years of travels in "The Way of Wanderlust," and recent musings written during the pandemic in his e-book, "Wanderlust in the Time of Coronavirus." Don also leads tours for National Geographic Expeditions and for GeoEx.
  • Matteo Pasini and his wife run the Villa Steno hotel in Monterroso, Cinque Terre.