Program 740: Cruising the Nile; Paradise on Earth; Lost Pianos of Siberia

Release Date: 01-06-2024


A tour specialist from Cairo explains how you can cruise through five thousand years of history on the Nile River in Egypt. Author Pico Iyer suggests paradise on earth might be in some of the most unexpected places. He tells us about his sojourns from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka to experience what South Asia had to show him. And hear how Sophy Roberts searched for the historic "lost pianos of Siberia," and what she actually found.


  • Tarek Mousa, proprietor of Egypt and Beyond Travel
  • Pico Iyer, author of "The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise" (Penguin-Random House)
  • Journalist Sophy Roberts, author of "The Lost Pianos of Siberia" (Grove Press)

Additional Info

  • Tarek Mousa operates Egypt and Beyond Travel, which specializes in tours of Egypt, the Middle East, and Morocco.
  • Rick's one-hour TV special on Egypt is streaming on demand on the Rick Steves website and on YouTube.
  • Pico Iyer writes about how his travels have revealed distinctive views of the world in his book "The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise."
  • Pico writes about "The Trouble with Paradise" for the New York Times.
  • Pico also spoke with Rick about his search for paradise on Travel with Rick Steves program #717 in June 2023.
  • Pico joined us on a number of earlier editions of Travel with Rick Steves. He shared his observations about living in Japan on program #586a in October 2022, and offered a "Beginner's Guide to Japan" on program #576 in September 2019. Pico spoke with Rick on the art of travel writing on program #656 in November 2021, and described how he was faring in pandemic lockdowns on program #611 in August 2020.
  • Sophy Roberts describes her search for a decent piano to give to Mongolian pianist Odgerel Sampilnorov in her book "The Lost Pianos of Siberia."
  • Sophy and photographer Michael Turek created an exquisite short video to accompany the release of her book. The piano excerpt you hear being played at the end of the program features Odgerel playing on the actual instrument Sophy found for her in Russia.

Program Extras

More with Tarek Mousa - Cairo-based tour operator Tarek Mousa explains how and where you can safely swim in the Nile River. (runs 1:08)

More with Pico Iyer - Rick and Pico Iyer, author of "The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise" share their impressions of Jerusalem. (Note that their conversation was recorded prior to the Oct. 7, 2023 attack in southern Israel.) (runs 7:12)