This journey through Northern Europe gives the viewer a sample some of the great natural wonders, architectural treasures, and cultural and artistic highlights of several cities and countries. Here are inspired scenes from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Prague, Copenhagen, Kiel Canal, Bergen (Norway), Amsterdam, Antwerp, London and Paris. A delicious sampler of fjords, fish markets, art museums, cathedrals, lively pedestrian streets, great canals and bridges, palaces and parks, and meetings with fascinating N. Europeans. This geography sampler program is composed of the following segments:
- St. Petersburg. Founded in 1703 as a "window on the West" by Peter the Great, St. Petersburg was for two centuries the capital of the Tsarist Empire, synonymous with magnificence and power. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city, both historical and progressive, with the traces of different historic eras. Several generations, political regimes and economic systems have changed, but the city's spirit is kept intact. The Neva River, Nevsky Prospekt, the Summer Palace, The Hermitage, St. Issac’s Cathedral and the Church on Spilled Blood are some of the highlights.
- Moscow. The capital of the largest country on the planet. It is a sprawling city of some 8 million people. A city full of raw and chaotic energy, absorbing 80% of the country's money and accounting for 10% of its population. Moscow is at once uncomfortable and charming, filthy rich and desperately poor, fast-paced and lazy, trendy and kitschy. Moscow could be just another capital, but it isn't. Rather, the city is an exaggerated version of everything you can get in Russia, taking everything to extremes. Red Square, the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Church, Arbot Street, the circus and the fascinating subway stations are some of the highlights shown.
- Prague is known as the pearl of Europe. It is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled cities in Europe. Although the city was isolated behind the Iron Curtain for more than forty years, it has now resumed its place as a major intellectual center of Europe. For six centuries it has remained nearly untouched by war, leaving intact stunning examples from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architectural styles. In this program, we visit the famous Charles Bridge, the Old Town Square, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the busy streets and picturesque narrow alleyways.
- Copenhagen. Traditionally associated with the Vikings and the Little Mermaid of Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark is home to 5.4 million inhabitants and ranks first among European nations in quality of life. Copenhagen is characterized by the gaiety of Tivoli and the jazz and club scene. Palaces, parks, and cobblestone streets lend a royal character to this “Queen of the Sea.” Copenhagen is Scandinavia's largest city, the dazzling capital of the Danish Empire and one of the world's most talked about and colorful cities.
- Norway (fjords and Bergen). For almost one thousand years this city has been the destination of travelers from all around the world. Bergen is the kingdom's second largest city, with over 250.000 inhabitants and situated on the west coast of Norway. The year of the foundation is estimated to be 1070. A beautiful little city of colorful architecture, fish markets, parks and museums, it is situated in one of the most stunning geographical settings in the world.
- Amsterdam. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. Canals crisscross the city.
The more than one hundred kilometers of canals in Amsterdam, along with about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges, have led the city to being termed the “Venice of the North.” We will visit the heart of Amsterdam and savor the many canal views.
- London. London, one of the world’s ten greatest cities, is a perfect binding of the past and the present. A city with so many places to visit that one could never find the time to view them all. Samuel Johnson was right when he said that when someone is tired of London he is tired of life. Some of the highlights we visit are The Houses of Parliament, the Thames River, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral. Trafalgar Square, The Tate Gallery, The National Gallery, West End theatres and Piccadilly Circus.
- Paris. Probably the most beautiful city in the world. Countless books, plays, movies and paintings have been created over the centuries by people extolling the city’s virtues. We visit some of the great public art and architecture: the Notre Dame Cathedral;the diverse and unique kinds of bridges spanning the Seine;the Champs-Élysées;the Place de Concord;the Madeleine Church;The Luxembourg Gardens;the sculptures and arches of the Tuileries;the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter;the street markets and shops;and of course the Eiffel Tower, built between 1887 and 1889 - the single most visited paid monument in the world.