Next Episode of Great Continental Railway Journeys is
Season 7 / Episode 3 and airs on 12 August 2020 19:00
Michael Portillo travels on the great train routes of Europe, as he retraces the journeys featured in George Bradshaw's 1913 Continental Railway Guide.
With his Bradshaw's 1913 Continental Railway Guide in hand, Michael Portillo ventures east to a land which a century ago was part of the Russian Empire and today is the independent state of Ukraine. Beginning in the capital Kiev, Michael explores the city described in his century-old Bradshaw as the Jerusalem of Russia. At Kiev's beautiful St Sophia Cathedral he seeks to understand the history behind Ukraine's current conflict with its vast neighbour and discovers how Ukraine adopted Orthodox Christianity.
Steered by his 1913 Continental Railway Guide, Michael Portillo travels one of the most stunning rail routes of the world, through the former Russian empire from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, taking in present-day Georgia and Azerbaijan. Following the historic Trans-Caucasus Railway, Michael begins in the port of Batumi on the dazzling Caucasian Riviera. He savours the soul of Georgia in its wine and discovers a surprise 19th-century tea plantation in the West Georgian countryside. The seat of power beckons in Kutaisi, home to the wonderful glass dome built for the Parliament of Georgia when it moved here from the capital, Tbilisi, in 2012. At the medieval convent of Gelati Michael sees how magnificent frescoes are being painstakingly restored and finds out about the most powerful king in Georgian history.
Michael Portillo sports a modern edition of his Bradshaw's Continental Handbook, dated 1936. His destination lies close to his heart: the ancient kingdom of Spain and land of his father.
Beginning in historic Orleans, Michael follows his Bradshaw's guide to the magnificent stained-glass windows of the Cathedral of Sainte-Croix, which tell the story of Joan of Arc.
Michael Portillo embarks on a rail journey through Germany. In a vast stadium, Michael hears how new rail lines were constructed to transport crowds of spectators to the Nazi Olympic Games of 1936.
In Palermo, Michael takes in the art and architecture of the futurists and feasts on a Sicilian speciality - spaghetti and sardines.
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