2020 Summer Travel Guide: Week One

During week one Rick Steves and Samantha Brown travel to six countries: Turkey, Switzerland, France, China, Israel and the United States. Below you’ll find travel logs, links to more information about each episode, additional educational materials on PBS LearningMedia related to the countries and topics, and maps tracking our progress!

Monday, June 1

Rick Steves: Western Turkey
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From the port of Kuşadası, wander the streets of ancient Ephesus, soak in a natural spa at Pamukkale, learn why the dervishes whirl at Konya, munch lunch in a Turkish pizzeria, and cruise the Mediterranean on a traditional Turkish gulet from Antalya. Turkey is a mighty nation whose ancient heritage, Muslim faith, and western ways are coming together. Learn more about this episode.

Learning connections on PBS LearningMedia
Sufi Whirling Dervishes – Video (grades 6-12)

Samantha Brown: Houston, Texas
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Travelers are always on the lookout for the little-known haunts or hidden gems. But what if that hidden gem was an entire city? From incredible museums to diverse food and a fun music scene, discover why the Magnolia City really does have it all.  Learn more about this episode.

Learning connections on PBS LearningMedia
The History of Houston – Video (grades 6-12)
The National Parks of Texas – Collection (grades 2-12)

Tuesday, June 2

Rick Steves: Central Turkey
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Marvel at the fascinating landscape of Cappadocia from high above in a balloon…and from deep below, prowling an underground city where Christians once hid out. Join a coming of age ceremony, explore troglodyte ghost towns, shop for sheep at the market, and chat with an imam. Then enjoy the modern capital, Ankara, and pay our respects to the father of modern Turkey, Atatürk. Learn more about this episode.


Samantha Brown: Switzerland
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From an alpine garden on an idyllic mountaintop and going deep underground experiencing the cheese grotto in Gstaad, to biking through the waterfall covered valley of Lauterbrunnen and finally floating down the icy cold Aare River in Bern, adventure awaits in Switzerland. Learn more about this episode.

Study guides from Samantha Brown
K – 5th Grade Guide (PDF)
6 – 8th Grade Guide (PDF)

Wednesday, June 3

Rick Steves: France’s Loire: Château Country
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Along the Loire River Valley, the beautiful French countryside is studded with evocative châteaux. Home-basing in Amboise, visit four unique castles: elegant Chenonceau, massive Chambord, stately Cheverny, and fragrant Villandry. Along the way, tour Leonardo’s home, feed hunting dogs, enjoy the local cuisine, and savor a princely garden. Learn more about this episode.

Samantha Brown: Brooklyn, New York
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As one of the five boroughs in the US’s largest city, Brooklyn is quite huge. In fact, if it wasn’t under the umbrella of New York City, it would be the 4th largest American city all on its own! Don’t let the size alarm you—this borough has a low-key, neighborhood vibe that’s devoid of that Manhattan hustle. Add in diverse neighborhoods, great food and unexpected businesses, and Brooklyn is a place to love. Learn more about this episode.

Learning connections on PBS LearningMedia
The Brooklyn Bridge – Essay (grades 6-12)
The Brooklyn Bridge – Activities (grades 7-12)

Thursday, June 4

Rick Steves: Paris Side Trips
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Side-tripping from Paris into the Ile de France, indulge in the world of royal and aristocratic extravagance in the pre-Revolutionary playground of France’s elite. Explore Versailles, Europe’s palace of palaces; exquisite Vaux-le-Vicomte; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to centuries of French rulers. Learn more about this episode.

Samantha Brown: Shanghai, China
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There is a certain mystique about the Far East, and Shanghai is the perfect place to experience it. Visit the ancient water town of Fengjing, soak up the Art Deco architecture along the historic Bund, shop at an iconic knife and scissor shop on Nanjing Road, learn the art of paper cutting, and much more. Learn more about this episode.

Learning connections on PBS LearningMedia
Shanghai at Asian Art Museum – Video (grades K-12)
Beauty of Jasmine – Collection (grades K-12)

Friday, June 5

Rick Steves: Best of Israel
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Start in Jerusalem, alive with religious tradition and passion — Christian, Muslim, and Jewish — then visit cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, with its in-love-with-life beaches; ponder the sad fortress of Masada; and join pilgrims at biblical sights around the Sea of Galilee. Steves also pays respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, drops into an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and savors the local cuisine. Learn more about this episode.

Learning connections on PBS LearningMedia
Israel: Traditional Jewish Folk Song – Video (grades 6-12)
Conflict in Israel and Palestine – Video (grades 9-12)
The Dead Sea Scrolls – Video (grades 9-12)

Samantha Brown: Huntsville, Alabama
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Huntsville, Alabama remains one of the most unassuming cities in the USA. A leafy green city near the Tennessee border, it’s earned the moniker Rocket City — fitting, considering it’s one of the homes of the US Space Program. Also find incredible artists, delicious soul food, live music, and tons of rich culture.  Learn more about this episode.

Learning connections on PBS LearningMedia
Blasting Off to Space! – Video (grades 5-8)

Study Guides from Samantha Brown
K-5 Study Guide
Junior High Study Guide

Our trip’s progress at the end of week one: