Michael Palin explores the countries that were for much of his life hidden behind the Iron Curtain but now are part of the new Europe.
Part 1: War and Peace
From high in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, along the magical coast of Croatia and deep into Bosnia and Serbia, he discovers new countries coming to terms with the bloody wars that created them and now enjoying the peace that prevails. From Dubrovnik, he sails to Albania where he finds a country adapting to a new openness.
Part 2: Eastern Delight
From Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, Palin treks up to the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria where he joins the summer solstice celebrations of the mystical White Brotherhood sect. Crossing into Turkey he admires the great mosques of master architect Sinan in Edirne, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, before witnessing an oil wrestling competition.
Part 3: Wild East
From the tiny, breakaway state of Transdniester to the rolling hills of sunny Moldova, across the Carpathians mountains of Northern Romania and through Transylvania to the Danube, this is a journey into some of the poorest and most beautiful parts of south-eastern Europe.
Part 4: Danube to Dnieper
On a journey from Budapest to the Ukrainian resort of Yalta, Michael is engulfed in a swimming pool, shows what he can do on the catwalk, and rides pillion on a Harley. On the more serious side, he contemplates the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and its tragic aftermath, the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine 50 years later, and the Yalta Conference.
Part 5: Baltic Summer
A journey through the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, from Tallinn in the north via Riga to Vilnius in the south. Michael Palin tells the story of how the three tiny nations shook themselves free of their neighbour and oppressor, the Soviet Union, reshaping their lives and reclaiming their cultures, which had been forced underground but didn’t die.
Part 6: From Pole to Pole
From the port of Gdansk in the north of Poland to the Slovakian border south of the Tatra Mountains. He considers the upheavals that traumatised Poland for 70 years, visiting Auschwitz and the spiritual capital of Poland, Czestechowa, where politics and religion are never far apart.
Part 7: Journey’s End
High in the Tatra mountains of Slovakia, Michael learns how to make sausages before heading off to Turba’s mime school in Brno. In the spa town of Karlovy Vary, he has a mud bath with Miss World, followed by a pedalo ride in Prague. Entering the former East Germany in Dresden, he learns from a student that despite Germany’s unification there is still a wall inside people’s heads, before ending his trip on the Baltic island of Rugen.