As the harpist did her magic, I just sat in the back…feeling very thankful. In the teeming metropolis of Cairo, we climb to the center of a pyramid, greet the Sphinx, and marvel at King Tut’s gold. But when we started filming, it looked like Norway would be a weak segment…so I needed to scramble. Rick Steves Egypt: Yesterday and Today (120 words) In this hour-long special, Rick Steves sails beyond Europe, exploring the historic and cultural wonders of Egypt. Joyeux Noël! My key support person was Olle, the village schoolteacher. The festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas abound in the land where the season's most-loved carol, "Silent Night," was first performed over 200 years ago: Austria. But the evening just felt stiff. With the crew double-parked in the dark, I ran in, found the director, pleaded my case...and he said, "Ya, sure." Merry Christmas! We joined Romans cooking up female eels, Parisians slurping oysters, Tuscans tossing fruit cakes, and Norwegian kids winning marzipan pigs. This is where the season’s most-loved carol, “Silent Night,” was first performed over 200 years ago. Season 11 of Rick Steves' Europe debuts this October and features eight all-new episodes. Monday, December 21 at 9 pm on KRCB TV in the North Bay. They rang the bell, and the kids tumbled into the room so filled with wonder. 60 S00E02: Viva la France March 4, 2006. Seconds later, our sound man was evicted — dragging all his gear along, with a tail between his legs, out of that holy zone. The Bavarian family the German Tourist Board lined up for us tried hard. Through the seven countries where we filmed our Rick Steves' European Christmas special, six were snowless. Bavaria and Tirol are bursting with holiday traditions — home of those famous Christmas markets, "O Tannenbaum," and "Silent Night." For example, German Christmas tree lots were just opening up on December 22, as they don't put up trees until Christmas Eve. What you didn't see was 10,000 worshippers tumbling out of St. Peter's at about 1:00 in the morning in the rain. It was a Bethlehem home show, as all over town creative crèches were on display. Finally, our storybook "white Christmas" village would be high in the Swiss Alps. Thankfully, just over the border, the traditional Austrian family we filmed the next night exceeded all hopes. When a concert we planned to film fell through at the last moment, I searched the entertainment listings and found the Norwegian Girls’ Choir performing in the oldest church in Oslo — the tiny, heavy-stone, Viking Age Gamle Aker Kirke. Once upon a time, for the 12 days of Christmas, we had two busy television crews a-filming: 12 carol concerts, 11 mugs of Glühwein, 10 living mangers, 9 happy families, 8 Christmas feasts, 7 Euro-cultures, 6 mistletoe kisses, 5 alternative Santas, 4 pounds of weight gain, 3 midnight Masses, 2 exhausted cameramen, and a festive hour of great new public television. To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas. Today we travel to Austria, where the festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas abound. Rick Steves' European Christmas. My Christmas Eve dinner was the last two bratwursts on the griddle with a stale roll, snapped up just as they were closing down the tent. From England to Wales, France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, you'll see the bright Christmas markets, hear local choirs, share holiday traditions with families…and even play in the snow. As they cooked the goose, invited the grandparents, hung out under the mistletoe and so on, we were right there — on the carpet, in the kitchen, and under the tree with our cameras rolling. From England to Norway, Burgundy to Bavaria, and Rome to the top of the Swiss Alps, our mission was: to get you a seat at the family feast; save you a pew up in the lofts with the finest choirs; and hand you a rolling pin in grandma's kitchen as she labored over her best-kept holiday secrets. The parents secretly decorated the tree, placed the gifts, and lit the real candles. Nick." To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from my one-hour special, “Rick Steves’ European Christmas.” Today we travel to Austria, where the festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas abound. The vast basilica was packed, the pope seemed radiant, and our cameraman put our viewers right in the front pew. Our crew took up the rear, was unable to find a taxi, and had to walk through Rome for an hour laden with all their gear to get back to their hotel. Filming the children mob her after she said, "If you're very, very gentle, you can touch my wings," was great TV. This was the first time PBS provided me with production funds. (Other shows I'd watched where the host was without family seemed almost mournful.). (Go ahead, sing it.). Up here, where villages huddle under towering peaks, Christmas fills a … When Simon suggested that his wife, Val, co-produce and direct the second crew, I was skeptical. When our cameraman smiles as he films, I know we're getting good footage. High in Switzerland, the mighty Alps seem to shout the glory of God. After producing more than 100 travel shows, Rick Steves and his film crew finally celebrate Christmas in Europe. The Bavarian family the German Tourist Board lined up for us tried hard…but the evening just felt stiff. Norway is the home of three of my grandparents, so it gave us a great chance to be with family while giving a glimpse at the wintry Nordic culture. This is the first year in 30+ that we are cancelling our annual Pizza Party. He had to set up the mic farther back in the nave, making the recording unusable. By Rick Steves. Europe - Rick Steves European Christmas - Rick Steves has a new special to be aired on PBS stations beginning shortly after Thanksgiving. I simply had to get snow in the Alps... and just barely did. ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy, Lobbying for the Hungry: The Value of Advocacy, Learning the Joy of Giving in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains, The Edmonds Theater — An Extra-Large Bag of Small-Town Memories. He had emailed me photos of his beautiful snow-covered village a month before. This season features the Austrian, Italian, Swiss, and French Alps, two episodes on … Each crew generally had three or four days to film a region, and then one day to travel to the next. We drove there and arrived just half an hour before the concert began. Season 10's filming began in September 2017, and it began airing on October 6, 2018 with an hour-long special about Mediterranean cruises that aired in February 2019. To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas. Her crew ended up with the hardest schedule (England, France, Italy) and they did more then just cover the script. Highlights included following the mayor with her flaming red hair and sack of gifts as she visited her town's senior citizens, enjoying a humble picnic in the woods with the guys out to chop some firewood, and filming a private concert of intimate medieval carols in an ancient abbey. And the donkey played…himself. I managed to persuade the musicians to perform for us a private little concert in the church, so we at least filmed "Silent Night" as it was first performed (two guitars and two singers). To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas. I've worked with producer Simon Griffith for six years and his brilliance was what I've come to expect. Thankfully, a strong snowfall hit the day of our arrival, giving us the white Christmas of our prayers. This concert ended up giving us several of the best cuts on our CD and some of the most beautiful photos for our coffee-table book. After 15 years of cameos in our TV shows, my son Andy got a serious part. We learned how Martin Luther, the local reformer, wanted to shift the focus from St. Nicholas back to the Christ child…who somehow has morphed into a sweet teenage girl. Norway was wet and warm, and the secular Norwegians don't really do Christmas with the gusto I imagined. Up here, where villages huddle under towering peaks, Christmas fills a … Each of the two crews generally had three or four days to film a region, and then one day to travel to the next. PBS. The Swiss Alps were our one last hope for a white Christmas -- our worst-case weather scenario back-up. Inside their time-warp home, a classic grandma was making cookies with children you just had to pinch, an old Habsburg-era grandpa played the zither, Mom lit the advent wreath while teaching her child the significance of each candle, and Dad blessed the house from the attic to the barn with incense as his daughter sprinkled Holy Water with a sprig of spruce. But December had been unseasonably warm, and on the days leading up to our arrival the town was bare and wet. Writing the script was a fascinating challenge. This enabled us to bring along an extra crew member (a sound person, as concerts and music would be a huge part of our production priorities) and to pay for the rights to broadcast performances by some top musical groups so we could make a CD. The result a picturesque snapshot of the European holiday spirit in a colorful, musical, one-hour special. Rather than feature a bunch of shopping malls and Christmas markets, our goal was to get an inside look at sacred, traditional, intimate family Christmas traditions. These kids will always recall 2005 as the strange year they celebrated Christmas twice. With Rick Steves. Join Rick Steves for a colorful, musical celebration of Christmas across Europe. Terms of Service | Privacy. No European traditions except we make homemade pizza on Christmas Day. Then, at the door of their gingerbread-cute yet massive home, the entire family greeted us with a Christmas yodel. This year he was Samichlaus — that's Swiss-German for "St. Rick Steves' European Christmas. Since we were footing the bill, we encouraged each family to pull out all the stops and put on a blow-out Christmas to remember…and they all did. We celebrated the holiday with Umbrian peasants, trendy Norwegians, Victorian English, dirndl-clad Tiroleans, and Burgundian monks, all of whom contributed to this fascinating and heartwarming story. ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Then, in a festive finale, bells ring throughout the Continent as Christmas Day sweeps across Europe. Gimmelwald was a folk festival of Christmas traditions. The Bavarian family the German Tourist Board lined up for us tried hard. I visited my very traditional cousin, only to find that the holiday felt about as robust as Columbus Day. Certain events — such as a choir singing “Silent Night” in the church where it was first performed near Salzburg, Santa Lucia Day in Norway on December 13, and Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican — were fixed, so we had to work our schedule around those. Created by Rick Steves' Europe Staff Featured Playlist. To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from my one-hour special, “Rick Steves’ European Christmas.” Today we travel to the Swiss Alps, which seem to shout the glory of God. We knew that filming an intimate family Christmas feast would not necessarily come out natural and fun-loving, so we filmed them wherever we could and expected to jettison a few. The lights went out and an angelic choir of beautiful, blonde, candle-carrying girls processed in, filling the cold stone interior with a glowing light. Ignoring the language barrier, the cute little village children just promised they were nice and not naughty, sang their Swiss Santa a Christmas carol, and eagerly dug into his big burlap bag to get their goodies. Suddenly, the old but very spry Mother Superior dashed across the altar in the direction of the out-of-sight nuns' choir. To celebrate the season, I'm sharing clips, extras and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves' European Christmas. Scheduling was also tricky. Racing back into Salzburg to salvage something of Christmas Eve, we hiked to the abbey where Maria of The Sound of Music caused her fellow sisters to sing, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" But I’m getting ahead of myself — that clip is on its way. Being Norwegian, I admit that I was biased…and Norway was destined to make the cut. Val was absolutely wonderful — an artist, a great writer, and a strong leader and manager. Join Rick Steves for a colorful, musical celebration of Christmas across Europe. Olle arranged everything. The lights went out and an angelic choir of beautiful, blond, candle-carrying girls processed in, filling the cold stone interior with a glowing light. To celebrate the season, I'm sharing clips, extras and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves' European Christmas. Our goal: to give our viewers a look at European Christmas through the eyes of a child, a parent, and a pilgrim. Several days before that, we had been in the Swiss Alps, our one last hope for snow. Then, in a festive finale, bells ring throughout the Continent as Christmas Day sweeps across Europe. Once upon a time, for the 12 days of Christmas, we had two busy television crews a-filming: 12 carol concerts, 11 mugs of Glühwein, 10 living mangers, 9 happy families, 8 Christmas feasts, 7 Euro-cultures, 6 mistletoe kisses, 5 alternative Santas, 4 pounds of weight gain, 3 midnight Masses, 2 exhausted cameramen, and a festive hour of great new public television. We scrambled to get out there on Christmas Eve and set up at the several spots where events were to take place. Olle's parents came by (grandpa even grew an old-fashioned big white beard for the filming) as they pulled out all the stops to celebrate a traditional Swiss family Christmas Eve…on December 21. Today we travel to London, which offers Christmas fun fit for a queen and streets twinkling with joy. Our script was designed to playfully let the Christmas season build — but never quite reach a holiday climax — in each place we filmed. He planned a sledding expedition to cut down the tree, arranged a cozy fondue in a remote hut, and lit our torches as we skied and sledded back down the mountain into his village. To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas. The TV Special: Experience Christmas with Rick Steves in England, Norway, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland! PBS. 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