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Michael Palin - New Europe
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Michael Palin: New Europe (DVD)
Join Michael Palin on his new adventure, through a Europe reborn - countries to the east of the continent, full of unexpected and forgotten delights... Michael starts his journey high in the Julian Alps on the border between Slovenia and Italy, where the Iron Curtain once ran. Travelling through the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Baltic States, he explores countries which may be newly formed but have rich and deep histories. In Poland, unknown to the paying commuters, Michael drives the 8.58am steam locomotive from Poznan to Wolsztyn. He joins the gathering of the 'White Brotherhood' in Bulgaria, finds out how to wrestle a camel in Turkey and discovers, in Estonia, exactly what it takes to walk across hot coals. By road, rail, river, sailboat and donkey through some of Eastern Europe's most mouth-watering locations, from Albania in the south to Latvia in the north, Michael meets new Europe's movers and shakers.]]>
With so much media and popular attention focused on the nations and cultures of Western Europe, it's easy to forget that much of Europe is relatively new to the western world: new to democracy, new nations with new governments, finding ways to create their new cultures and a sense of national identity in the aftermath of post-Soviet life. World traveler Michael Palin, having ventured all over the world, smartly chooses Eastern Europe as the destination for this BBC special, to see, now that the iron curtain has been pulled aside, what life there is really like. Like his previous adventures, such as Pole to Pole and Around the Rim, Palin's endless fascination and infectious sense of curiosity in the places he visits and people he meets, is what really makes the show tick. Whether he's exploring the remarkable Turkish community of Göreme, where rocks have been carved to form homes, or boating down a river in Romania to visit the ancestral home of Vlad the Impaler (the home of Bram Stoker's Count Dracula), Palin finds a way to keep the discoveries coming. Traveling through 20 countries as diverse as Turkey and Russia can be taxing, even on a well-traveled celebrity, but with his natural-born wit he keeps the program light enough to be entertaining (a few laughs help to leaven the sometimes dreary reality of certain locales), and succeeds in shining a new light into parts of the world long obscured by a shroud of darkness. --Daniel Vancini
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Top customer reviews
As has been mentioned, he investigates and travels through parts of Europe not necessarily familiar to all people as they have not always been accesible for one reason or another (generally speaking, communism).
The fact of the matter is that many of these countries paid a remarkably high price to be the "free" Europe they are today.
Many of these countries are very small and offered both Nazi Germany and then Stalinist Russia a great deal of resistance and suffered accordingly. Michael Palin does not shy away from these facts and this approach makes this quite different from his other travelogues.
This particular series is imbued with a definite sense of melancholy and bittersweet feelings.
Rather than the lack of energy some reviewers seem to sense, I feel that Michael Palin has shown a remarkable degree of maturity and intelligence in his approach to this series.
This is a very good series and, I feel, a really good documentation of where these countries are today. The whole thing is approached with wit, wisdom, grace and respect.
I've been to Estonia, Finland and Hungary and you cannot leave these countries without an enormous amount of respect for these people for what they have accomplished in so little time as well as the resistance they offered their oppressors.
I am pretty certain I will be watching this series more than once and I do highly recommend it.
Michael Palin's warmth in his interaction with those he encountered and his acceptance of the various cultures was especially appealing.
I consider this set of DVDs to be a real treasure.
Do not expect a Monty Pythonesque humor here, this is a sincere look at his subject. Overall a fun and great learning experience.
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