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Passport to Europe: Germany, Switzerland and Austria

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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(Aug 07, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Enthusiastic and adventurous, Samantha Brown is the perfect tour guide for the most exciting places in the world. Samantha interacts with the locals and discovers popular area landmarks many tourists miss while you explore exotic locales up close and personal as you may never have seen them. Meanwhile, Samantha amuses and educates as she discusses the culture and history of these intriguing areas in addition to sharing invaluable travel tips.

Featuring:

BAVARIA, GERMANY: Enter the fairy tale atmosphere of the Bavarian Alps, complete with a Cinderella-style mountaintop castle.

BERLIN, GERMANY: This bustling, energetic capital city will surprise and delight you! Experience the history of this great city, and feel its newfound freedom at the powerfully symbolic Berlin Wall.

MUNICH, GERMANY: Savor the party atmosphere at the world's biggest festival, Munich's Oktoberfest, featuring plenty of frothy steins and sausage!

INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA: So perfect for winter sports that two Olympics were held here! But this quaint city also offers gorgeous scenery, history and much, much more.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA: Visit the landmarks you'll never forget from the one-and-only Sound of Music in this perfectly preserved Baroque city.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA: Your senses will be on fire as you experience this gorgeous city with everything from dancing horses to the unforgettable Vienna Boys Choir to a sumptuous royal ball.

INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND: The view is incredible at the "Top of Europe" as Samantha travels to one of the Alps' tallest peaks. Jump on for a dogsled ride, and explore a real ice palace!

ST. MORITZ: Take a peek into the privileged world of the rich and famous. Hit the slopes in high style, go luxury shopping and mingle with the elite over champagne.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND: Vacation in one of Europe's priciest cities where the streets are lined with shops brimming with the world's finest chocolates, dazzling jewelry and European charm.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Travel Channel
  • DVD Release Date: August 7, 2007
  • Run Time: 198 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QFAFO0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,604 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This show is more lighthearted than Rick Steves or Rudy Maxa. Samantha Brown is just a normal girl having fun. She is not an intellectual, and I think that is the whole point.

The only problem I had with the DVD is that the bitrate is somewhat low. If you watch this on a standard definition TV you probably won't notice, but if you watch on your computer (which has superior screen) you will notice the lower quality video.

FYI you can get all 80 episodes of RICK STEVES EUROPE for only about 63 bucks here at Amazon, which is ridiculously cheap. I recommend getting that FIRST, then maybe getting this. You will learn a LOT more from Rick Steves and Rudy Maxa.
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I bought this DVD because I have been to Vienna and Salzburg, and miss them like crazy. I couldn't wait to see the Vienna episode, but I couldn't believe that it ended without ever giving the viewer half an idea of what Vienna is like! She spends WAY to much time on one topic (like Waltzing lessons) when she could mention some of the other stuff in the city. If you are a budget traveler (or a student like me) this DVD will give you an idea of everything you will NOT be able to afford in Vienna. She skipped all the art musuems, the wineries, the opera, the GORGEOUS architecture around the city, the Nachmarkt... everything I was anxious to see some footage of! Instead she awkwardly complains about eating a meal with lungs and heart. If you haven't been to Vienna, these details may not be as important, because you won't know what you're missing out on. But if you're buying a travel DVD because you miss Europe and this is the more economical choice than a plane ticket back to Vienna, than skip this DVD.
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I'm not much of a traveler but the three German speaking countries are the only countries (with the exception of Ireland) that I am determined to visit someday. This DVD reinforced my view that Germany, Switzerland, and Austria are among the most physically and culturally beautiful places on earth. The natural landscapes are absolutely breathtaking, and the small village settings that seem to be so prominent have always seemed idyllic to me. This DVD is a collection of episodes from the TV show, which features three episodes for each of the three countries:

Germany- Bavaria, Berlin, Munich
Austria- Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna
Switzerland- Interlaken, St. Moritz, Zurich

The show is hosted by Samantha Brown. She can be slightly annoying at times-picture an excessively bubbly, suburban American soccer mom-but she does a relatively good job at playing tour guide, and she's not bad to look at either. She takes the viewer throughout the chosen destinations, talks to locals, and highlights local attractions. She takes us to restaurants, cafes, hotels, resorts, hot spots, landmarks, public transportation venues, and the occasional oddity like a royal ball in Vienna. We learn the prices for comparitive venues, the best times of year to visit, local customs, etc. The whole thing seems a bit superficial at times, but if you can get past that, it's not a bad DVD. All in all, I would consider this a good warm up for anyone preparing to travel to these countries for the first time, or just an enjoyable viewing if the German-speaking countries interest you at all.
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I find Samantha Brown to be annoying and pretentious. It's clear that she is not appealing to serious travelers or geography geeks. Her target audience is the middle age soccer mom types. This is a halfway decent DVD but it would've been so much better if she tried a little harder.

The Zurich episode was arguably the best of the DVD. She visited a chocolate shop and a farmer's market. She enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa at the Café Schober, which is a bakery and a coffee shop. She used a tram to get around. Samantha encouraged people to purchase a Zurich card which is good for 72 hours of unlimited travel as well as free admission to the city's museums. She later visited the Lindenhof Park, which is the highest point in the city. There, she met some local kids who were in the Swiss version of the girl scouts (and they spoke fluent English). That night, she went to a club with some attractive Swiss women. The episode concluded with her visiting the Uetliberg Ski Resort.

The Vienna episode was also pretty good. She visited an ornate Baroque palace where she enjoyed a performance by Vienna Boy's Choir. She then headed to the Innerstadt, which is the downtown area. Samantha purchased the Vienna Pass. Like the Zurich Pass, it is good for 3 days of unlimited travel. It also provides discounts in museums. One pet peeve is that she usually visits cities in the fall and winter. It is depressing to see an empty city where the trees have no leaves. I can understand visiting Zurich in the winter, but why visit Vienna in the winter? She did the same thing with Paris? The Tuileries was empty and melancholy. Another complaint is that she has a proclivity for staying at the most expensive hotel. In the Zurich episode, she stayed at the Widder Hotel, which is $440 a night.
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By LB on October 27, 2007
Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this travel DVD, and certainly would recommend it to anyone wishing to travel to Europe, to see things and go to places off the tourist route. Her Americanism is not annoying, and you do get a laugh at some of her comments. She mingles with the locals in all regions, takes you to enjoyable places to eat and drink, and talks about the accommodation and gives prices. She choses the middle to upper types of accommodation in each region, as she travelled in the low season.
I can understand why she was awarded the Emmy for 'Outstanding Lifestyle Directing".
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