After nearly 500 years, French is still the official language of Québec. How has it retained its ‘Frenchness’ after all this time? Why is the Old Town a UNESCO World Heritage site? Why does the elegant Château Frontenac have to do with the Canadian railway? What’s so curious about Rue Saint-Jean, Place Royale and Petit-Champlain? Why is there a giant basilica dedicated to a saint here?
Why did England choose Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg, Virginia as their earliest American settlements? Why did King William III and Queen Mary II establish a university here? What was life like for the colonists here? What crazy concoctions are to be found in a colonial apothecary? What does the amber ox have to do with American history?
Who is buried under Glasgow Cathedral and why? Who was Saint Mungo, and where can you see a modern version of him? What do the symbols mean inside Queen's Cross Church? Why does Glasgow City Chambers look like a palace? How did the creativity of one local man, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, leave a permanent mark on his city, and influence an entire artistic style?
In this episode, we explore the curious world of Royal Warrants, a special designation given only to the best shops and services, literally fit for a king or queen. We also visit the atelier of one of Princess Diana's gown designers. From the royal dressmakers to tiara makers to the royal cheesemonger (yes, there is such a thing); we take you across London, on a truly royal shopping spree.
Why is a European Christmas Market also called Weihnachtsmarkt or a Christkindlmarkt? And what do these markets have to do with the Holy Roman Empire? Why do you find Christmas Markets mostly in German-speaking countries? What is the curious history of the Advent Wreath, of Silent Night, and a creepy Christmas character named Krampus? And is a Krampus different than a Krapfen?
Why is there a stone giant holding a flame, high in the hills overlooking Guanajuato City? How did silver help shape this town? Why are its streets and alleys so winding, and what happened to the Guanajuato River? What does Guanajuato's main church have to do with the King of Spain? Why does the town’s marketplace look like a Paris train station? And its theatre like the Paris Opera House?
Where is 'Auld Reekie', and how did it get its name? What is underneath Edinburgh's Old Town? And what is so curious about its New Town? Why was Edinburgh Castle built on Castle Rock? What’s the connection between Edinburgh and Harry Potter? What is a 'Close' and why were they so necessary in Edinburgh? What is so royal about the Royal Mile? Who is Arthur, and why does he get his own Seat?
How did this UNESCO town in Mexico get such a curious name? And what does the Mexican Hairless Dog have to do with it? Why are there so many grand mansions in such a small town? What do postcards have to do with its soaring Gothic church? Why is there an art school in a former convent? And how did San Miguel de Allende become an art colony?
Why is there a giant church complex, the DomQuartier, in this tiny Alpine town? Who lived in Mirabell Palace and Hellbrun Palace? Why is Getreidegassse so charming, and why are those shop signs so important? Where did Mozart live? And how do you solve a problem like Maria? From the Sound of Music to Silent Night to the Sonatas of Mozart, it’s time to get curious about Salzburg!
What does the Yorkshire dialect have to do with Vikings? How did the Quakers and chocolate shape York’s history? Why are English country mansions named Castles and Abbeys? What is The Shambles, and how did it get its name? Why is one of the largest medieval Gothic cathedrals in Europe in the small town of York? Where and what is Herriot’s country?
Who were the Habsburgs, Maria Theresa, Franz Joseph and Sisi? How did they shape Vienna? What is the Ringstrasse, and why are there so many oversized, ornate public buildings dotting it? Where did Mozart perform as a 6-year-old prodigy? When and why did Austria shrink to a tenth of its size? What do the eagles on the rooftop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral symbolize?
How did Dublin get its name? And what do Vikings and a black pool have to do with it? Who was Maewyn Succat, and why is he celebrated with green beer? How did the harp become a symbol of Ireland, and why do the harps on Irish coins and Guinness beer face opposite directions? What is the curious history of the Book of Kells, and how did it make its way into Trinity College Library's Long Room?