In this podcast, we'll visit 200 Wonders of the World, from the Pyramids to the Great Barrier Reef, to tell the story of our people, our civilization, and our planet. My name is Drew Vahrenkamp, and I'm a travel junkie. The world is filled with amazing places that reflect the greatest achievements of human accomplishment. In these uncertain times, understanding our great shared history may help to bridge the divides between us. And if not, it will be a fun ride anyway! We'll discuss the history of each place and the story of the men and women who lived there. We'll cover travel notes, examine what else to see while you're in the area, and dig into the local cuisine. Expect a new episode every two weeks. And thanks for listening!
The Monasteries of Meteora
Stunning medieval monasteries perched on infinitely steep precipices, the monasteries of Meteora are sanctuaries in the sky. But what happened in Byzantium to convince monks to seek solitude in such forbidding locales?
Stories of the collapse of Constantinople often ignore the sheer incompetence of John V Palaeologos, the second longest serving Roman emperor, whose reign was a constant string of humiliations.
Listener Roberto describes his trip to see the great monasteries, and we discuss dolmades.
Granada's magnificent Alhambra palace represents the last hurrah of Moorish architecture in Spain, but what a last hurrah! Delicate and intricate, the Alhambra feels like something from a dream.
This episode, I talk about Muhammad V, who survived a coup, exile, murderous intrigue and cruel allies to inspire and create the most splendid part of the Alhambra.
And I'll talk about my favorite food on earth: jamón ibérico. And tortilla española for the vegetarians.
The world's tallest building, 632 years after work started: Cologne Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece & an exercise in persistence.
Cologne itself is a good place to tell the story of the 13th century's great disaster: the Black Death, and the social upheaval it brought, including the pogroms that swept through the Rhineland.
Willem Fromm of the History of Cologne podcast brings a local perspective to his home city, its magnificent cathedral and its 2000 years of history. And beer! And potato soup!
A Hindu island in the world's largest majority Muslim country, Bali is world-renowned for its natural and cultural beauty. But underneath the surfing and partying is the last bastion of an empire that once ruled all of Indonesia.
Gajah Mada was the prime minister for Queen Gitarja of Majapahit, and together, they united the islands. Until a wedding massacre sent it all spiraling.
Tracy deLuca of the Results May Vary podcast describes her experience in Bali. And we talk food, including sucking pig.
The Pantheon of Rome
Back to Rome for a meeting with Hadrian, the roving emperor. Sarah Yeomans, archaeologist specializing in Imperial Rome, discusses the peripatetic emperor and his most impressive monument, the Pantheon: the best preserved Roman temple anywhere.
A fascinating soul: bearded, homosexual, Hadrian travels to the farthest reaches of the empire. Cheryl Morgan discusses his conversation with the philosopher Favorinus.
To eat, artichokes for spring, either alla Romana or alla giudia, both Roman classics.
The Madrassas of Timbuktu
Some call him the richest person in human history. Whether that's true, Mansa Musa of Mali shook up the world with his gold-laden hajj through Cairo and his university in Timbuktu.
That city at the edge of the Sahara might seem like the furthest place on earth, but it was a remarkable center of learning, home to as many as 700,000 manuscripts.
Cody Michaels from the History Unwritten podcast talks about Musa, his gold, and his journey to Mecca. Plus poulet yassa!
Customer ReviewsSee All
Unique and fun
A really great travel/history related podcast. Interesting historical anecdotes, tips on food, great interviews with historians/people who have traveled to the place in question. Please don't stop making episodes after you cover all 200 wonders!
This show rocks
As a lover of travel, history and food this podcast is amazingly wonderful. Drew has almost the perfect mix of interesting history, useful travel tips and culinary insight, along w a healthy dose of wit and humor. Enjoy and explore
Great Fun. Lighthearted mix of travel and history
Drew’s show is a welcome reprieve from the COVID-19 pandemic (writing Dec. 2020) where travel is more or less not an option. His mix of humor and history, combined with travel info and interviews with knowledgeable folks or travelers are wonderful to listen to. And even in the post-pandemic, I anticipate I’ll still be listening - always more to add to the bucket list after all!