Program 754: Central Europe; Norway’s Prosperity; Somali Pirates

Release Date: 05-18-2024


Rick and his senior writer discuss why so much of what Americans have long called "Eastern Europe" is better termed "Central Europe," especially with the Cold War now several decades behind us. Then a tour guide from Oslo explains how Norway cleverly uses its oil-industry revenues to maintain a flourishing society. And German-American journalist Michael Scott Moore tells us how he survived nearly three years as a hostage of pirates in Somalia.


  • Cameron Hewitt, senior writer/content manager at Rick Steves' Europe
  • Oslo-based tour guide Pål Bjarne Johansen
  • Journalist Michael Scott Moore, author of "The Desert and the Sea" (Harper Collins)

Additional Info

  • The Rick Steves Central Europe guidebook covers sites in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Romania.
  • Cameron Hewitt is Rick's senior content producer and writer. He provides tales from his own European travels in his book "The Temporary European."
  • Pål Bjarne Johansen offers custom tours and trip planning, and guides to the cities, regions, and fjords of Norway, at his "Norway with Pål" website. He also posts videos of Norway on YouTube.
  • The Rick Steves online guide to Norway.
  • Michael Scott Moore wrote "The Desert and the Sea" to describe his ordeal as a captive of Somali pirates from 2012–2014. The paperback version of the book includes a new afterword from Michael.
  • Michael wrote about his captivity and release for The Guardian. He's on the board of Hostage US, which provides support to the families of Americans taken hostage while abroad.
  • Michael wrote for Literary Hub about the time he taught yoga to his captors, in an attempt to get some exercise.

Program Extras

More with Michael Scott Moore - Michael Scott Moore, author of "The Desert and the Sea," explains to Rick how he was able to forgive his Somali captors, two years into his captivity, after hearing a sermon from Pope Francis on the radio. He also describes how surreal it was for his guards to be watching the movie "Captain Phillips" on their smartphones while they were holding him hostage. (runs 4:44)