Why does George IV’s Royal Pavilion look so different from other British royal palaces? What happened at the Seven Sisters Cliffs? What is a Smugglers Pub? Who wouldn’t sit under a dragon? Where did Sherlock Holmes retire? And what does the Guinness family have to do with a medieval hotel?
Who stole the famous Ghent Altarpiece, and who recovered it? And who is restoring it? What is Prinsenhof, and why is it so pretty? Where did the famous Ghent Dragon fly in from? Why is Ghent so famous for its lace? Why is St. Peters Abbey so important to Ghent history?
Why is Dublin known worldwide for its pubs? Where did traditional Irish music come from? Why are there always flowers decorating a pub? What does the word “pub” mean? What is a “snug?” A Brian Boru harp? And how did a fella named Arthur Guinness become so important?
Who were the Flemish Masters, and how did they leave their mark on art history? Who stole Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges? And who rescued her? Why does Bruges look the same as it did in the Middle Ages? What is a Beguinage? And ‘Blind Donkey Alley’? And why are all the colorful buildings surrounding the Markt the same width?
We get curious about the stunning natural landscape of Wales. We visit Brecon Beacons National Park, Pembrokeshire National Park, St. Davids (the smallest city in Britain), Hay-on-Wye (Wales’ Town of Books), the Victorian seaside resort town of Tenby, and lots and lots of curious castles.
How did Hong Kong get its name? What is so junky about a junk boat? We get curious about the Big Buddha, the Po Lin Monastery, and the Wisdom Path on Lantau Island. Then, we head to the Kung Wo Tofu Factory to learn a centuries-old tofu-making technique. Christine also takes you inside a Tin Hau Temple, the Man Mo Temple, and a traditional Qipao dress-making shop.
How did Manchester kick-start ‘Railway Mania’ in the Industrial Age? What is Manchester’s Water Palace? What is so curious about the architecture of the John Rylands and Chetham’s Libraries? Why is a bee the symbol of Manchester? Which pub owner shooed her patrons out with a broom? Why is the National Football Museum in Manchester?
Why is there a giant wall in the middle of Cardiff? Who built Cardiff Castle? And Coch Castle? Why does Cardiff have so many Victorian and Georgian arcades? What is a bara brith? And laverbread? (Seriously, what is it?) Where did Princess Diana give her first public speech in Welsh?
Why is La Grande-Place so gilded? How did Brussels’ chocolate legacy begin? Where can you walk through the pages of a comic book? How did Flanders become such a source of Master artists?
England’s Great West Way follows the ancient path from London to Bristol. We take the train and get curious at stops along the way: Stonehenge, Bath’s masonic architecture, the Roman Baths and the S.S. Great Britain. We also sample some curious pub pies, learn some cockney rhyming slang, and visit a few charming villages.