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On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we talk with renowned travel blogger Megan Starr, whom we spoke to a few months back about Kiev. But this week, we’re talking in person, in Kazakhstan, at the site of the memorial to the Great Kazakh Famine, a historical event which not many people know about in the West but looms large in the hist…
 
This week’s episode is something a little different. I am in Isyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan, covering the World Nomad Games, a festival of sports that’s sort of like the Olympics for nomadic peoples. The sports, though, are way more interesting than, say, basketball. My first interview this episode is with the co-captain of the American Kok Boru team (I’ll e…
 
Last year, Alex Cruikshanks came on the show to talk about Belgrade, a really detailed and wide-ranging episode. And we had such a great time, he’s back again to talk about more recent history in Yugoslavia, specifically the brutal massacre at Srebrenica. Yugoslavia, as anyone who was alive in the 1990s knows, was falling apart in the early part of…
 
Every city has that one landmark that seems like a tourist trap and practically begs you not to visit. For me, that was the CN Tower in Toronto. I didn’t go near it the first time I visited the city, and the second time, this past July, I planned to steer clear. But it turns out the joke was on me, as the CN Tower is an amazing building with a funn…
 
In the first half of the 20th century, the automobile became a symbol of freedom to American families. Middle-class families able to afford their own car were no longer restricted to train or bus timetables, and the great American road trip was born. But for black Americans, this new freedom collided with old hatred, prejudices and dangers. The roa…
 
We did it! Next week will mark a full year of publishing The History Fangirl Podcast, and this week marks the 50th episode, so it felt like the right time to do a retrospective of the first 12 months of the show. My producer picked a handful of his favorite clips (it was too hard for me to pick!) from the past year, and so this episode looks back o…
 
Philadelphia is by far one of my favorite American cities. I used to live there and run a photo-a-day website there, and it’s one of the best cities to live in if you’re a history buff. On today’s episode, we talk about the amazing Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continually lived-on residential street in the country (hard to fit that on a title belt, …
 
One of the fascinating things about the city of Atlanta, Georgia is how often it has had to change and adapt to forces around it. Sometimes it’s gone kicking and screaming, and sometimes it’s forged its own path. Because it’s arguably undergone more major cultural and economic changes than most American cities, it’s a great opportunity to study the…
 
I have a new show! Rick Steves Over Brunch is a podcast where Chris Mitchell (from travelingmitch) and I break down episodes of the classic travel tv show, Rick Steve’s Europe. The show launched on April 30, 2018, and new episodes drop every other Sunday. This is a preview episode for you guys so you can check it out. If you enjoy the show, subscri…
 
The town of Bath in England is famous for many things. It was the setting for one of Chaucer’s most famous stories from The Canterbury Tales, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” it was a Georgian pleasure town and its hot springs have attracted people to it since Neolithic times. However, for most history lovers, interest in the town begins with the Roman b…
 
When traveling, or thinking of where to visit to memorialize civil rights events and advances, it’s all too easy for straight people to forget about LGBTQ monuments. That’s partially because of the lack of proper sites memorializing LGBTQ rights. But on today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, I talk with someone who completely changed my pe…
 
On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we discuss an aspect of history that, I don’t mind saying, was a total blind spot for me. I was so honored to talk with Anna-Lisa Cox, an adjunct member of the History Department and fellow at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. She’s also the author of t…
 
On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we talk with a woman on a quest to visit every country on the planet, Jessica Elliott of How Dare She. And this week, Jessica and I talk about Chernobyl, a word that signifies a place, a devastating catastrophe, and a cultural moment that has resonated long after the explosion of the nuclear power …
 
On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we talk with renowned travel blogger Megan Starr, who has carved out a fascinating niche in the travel world as an expert in the post-Soviet countries, particularly Ukraine. As Megan tells me, Kiev is a city that has been conquered and taken over and claimed so many times across its history, its ow…
 
On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we talk with Ravi Mehta, host of The Wealth of Nations podcast. If you’ve ever traveled through southeast Asia, you know the one place you do not want to stop is Singapore, unless you’re flush with cash. How did this small nation on the Malay peninsula come to have such a crazy economy? Ravi walks …
 
I lived in South Philadelphia for seven years, and knew very little about the area’s connection to the Civil War or the Underground Railroad. But just a couple years ago, I read a story about how a house not far from where I used to live was actually visited by Harriet Tubman. And I think this is how many Americans live, right on top of history, pa…
 
On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we talk with Noah Tetzner, host of the fantastic The History of Vikings Podcast. Vikings have come up a few times on this show, including their time in Iceland’s Thingvellir and their sacking of Lindisfarne. So this time we turn to another sliver of lesser-known Viking history and talk about their …
 
On today’s very special episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, I, a Disney Skeptic, try to figure out why anyone over the age of nine would ever want to go to Disney World. And luckily, for this task I have Maggie Garvin on the show. Maggie is not only the hilarious blogger behind Mags on the Move, she’s also a huge Disneyphile, a former Disney em…
 
While the History Fangirl Podcast has typically gone around the world to find the most fascinating stories, today we’re taking our eyes off the Earth and casting our gaze starward. Today’s guest is Valerie Stimac, an accomplished travel writer in her own right, who has started a unique site at spacetravelguide.com. While she isn’t quite making reco…
 
On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we’re talking with someone who has arguably the coolest job in the field of history, and one you may not have even known about. My guest today is Fergus Brady, the archives manager at the Guinness Storehouse. The archives contain everything about one of the most famous beer companies in the world, …
 
If you’ve ever been to New York City, there’s a good chance you traveled through Penn Station at some point. And then you instantly regretted it. On today’s episode, my guest is Greg Young of the famous Bowery Boys podcast, and we talk about the sad history of Penn Station, and what it can mean for the rest of the country, not just New York City. A…
 
Maybe you’ve heard of the Book of Kells or the Gospel of Lindisfarne: These illuminated manuscripts are not only high works of religious text, but doors that open history to current scholars. Today on the show we’re talking about Lindisfarne, the island on the northern edge of England, where the monks who wrote that book lived My guest today is Dr.…
 
Angkor, along with its most famous temple Angkor Wat, is one of the most unique places in the world. The French claim to have discovered it when Cambodia was part of French Indochina, but like so many “lost” places the locals always knew about it. However, much of what we know about the ancient city comes from inscriptions and other artwork on the …
 
Belfast is many different things to many different people. It’s both the second-largest city on the island of Ireland and the capital of Northern Ireland. With Brexit looming, Belfast’s attachment to the United Kingdom grows ever more tenuous. But wasn’t that long ago that Belfast was wracked with sectarian violence rooted in class and religious di…
 
With just a week left in office, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring the Birmingham, Alabama Civil Rights District a national monument. Birmingham played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement in America in the 1950s and ‘60s. Prominent figures like Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were both active in …
 
England’s Windsor Castle has been home to 39 British monarchs, with its history stretching back nearly 1,000 years to William the Conqueror. My guest today is Deborah Cadbury, the author of Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe, among many other books. We chat about the illustrious history of the castle, what historic…
 
In January I took a trip to Southeast Asia, and—somewhat arbitrarily—I decided to make Bangkok, Thailand my first stop. Ever since being entranced by the famed musical The King and I as a kid, I’ve been fascinated with the Kingdom of Siam, and have been cognizant of the push and pull of tradition and colonization that Siam and so many countries hav…
 
In September I got to go to Bordeaux with a friend who is a 100% certified wine snob. I figured she would enjoy all of the wine, while I mostly focused on getting work done. But I was surprised by how easily I fell in love with the city, one of France’s most underrated destinations, even if you’re not certified. My guest today is Megan Stetzel, one…
 
I recently got to take an amazing trip to Dublin, Ireland, working with the Irish tourism board. And one of the amazing things about working with a tourism board is that you get to see things that you might not normally see, or at least see them in a new light. That was the case for me with the Literary Pub Crawl of Dublin. It was a four-day excurs…
 
This week marks the six-month episode of the podcast, and to celebrate I conducted a live Q&A with listeners and Facebook followers on Facebook Live. That last sentence is only half true, as the real reason this episode is a Q&A is because my shaky wifi in Malaysia scuttled the interview that was planned for this week. But! This is a good opportuni…
 
When you think of an isolated, walled-off country, your mind might immediately go to North Korea. But during the Communist era, Albania may have actually been even more secluded, despite the fact it shared a border with Greece. On today’s episode, my guest is Allison Green, author of the Eternal Arrival blog, part of the Condé Nast Traveler blog ne…
 
Brussels, Belgium is an often-overlooked city, with neighboring capitals of Amsterdam and Paris stealing the spotlight. But Belgium is definitely much more than just great beer and chocolate. My guest today is Drew Vahrenkamp of The Wonders of the World podcast, and we sit down to chat about Brussels’ La Grand-Place, or Grand Place, the city’s cent…
 
Visiting Greece can be overwhelming, with the number of historical landmarks to visit. But the Oracle of Delphi, high up in the mountains, is one of the most beautiful, and most memorable, places to visit. The history of the site is enthralling, the views are enchanting, and everywhere you look, you see echoes of why the Greeks thought this was the…
 
The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge changed New York City forever, connecting the suburb to Manhattan, and establishing the borough as a vital part of the city’s life and culture. It’s easy to look at a bridge now and say, “Of course that bridge had to be built.” But why, exactly, did city leaders want to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan, how did…
 
There is no shortage of history books covering World War II, and it’s even a joke that if you want to win an Oscar, just make a movie about the Nazis. But despite all of the attention paid to WWII and the years leading up to it, a lot of us don’t have a clear picture of what it was like to live in Berlin during that time. What was it like to watch …
 
Bethlehem may be the most famous small town on Earth. The town is of course known as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, but beyond its most famous citizen, what do people really know about the city? For me, the answer as “not much.” I had the chance to travel to Bethlehem in March, and I learned so much about the city’s history beyond its Biblical his…
 
The former Republic of Yugoslavia, and specifically the city of Belgrade, occupies a dark space in our collective memory. The Civil War that broke out there in the 1990s, and the ethnic cleansing that ensued, serves as a crossroads between the past and what’s going on today. My guest today is Alex Cruikshanks, the host of the History of Yugoslavia …
 
The Salem Witch Trials are one of the most (in)famous events in American history. There are plays, movies and books about it, and no American schoolkid made it to junior high without learning about them. But did you know that there were actually witch trials held about 30 miles to the south of Salem, in Boston? My guest today is Nancy Mades-Byrd, h…
 
For American history buffs, the Civil War can feel like covered ground. But if you put aside the big battles and turning points, there are still so many smaller, fascinating stories deserving to be told. And there truly is no one better to dig into those lesser-known stories than my guest, CEO of Atlas Obscura David Plotz, whom you may also know as…
 
Visiting London can be overwhelming, with the list of must-see locations stretching as high as Big Ben. But my guest today, author Leanda de Lisle, takes us deep into a lesser-known but historically vital London locale: Banqueting House. We talked about how Banqueting House fits into the rich history of London, its famous architect Inigo Jones, and…
 
At this point, there aren’t too many “hidden gems” left in the world for savvy travelers and history geeks alike, but the Painted Churches of Moldavia may just be one of the last. My guest today is Ciprian Slemko, a guide with Hello Bucovina, which provides tours to the historical region that splits between the northern region of Romania, and the s…
 
If you ask most Americans about the history of their country, they’ll start somewhere around 1492, or maybe even 1776. But before the pilgrims and before John Hancock, of course there were large, thriving civilizations of Native Americans. One of the most notable communities was in Southern Illinois, not too far from St. Louis: Cahokia, a Mississip…
 
Though it may seem like Central Park has always been a landmark for visitors and native New Yorkers alike, that’s not actually the case. The park, like much of the city, was very carefully mapped and planned out. But unlike the rest of the city, which was aligned to a strict and orderly grid, Central Park was designed to be wild: To mimic the untou…
 
Traveling throughout Europe, you can find the legacy of the Ottoman Empire just about everywhere. But if you want to experience a place that has lived through the ebbs and flows of the empire, and connects us through more than 500 years of history, you need to visit the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. My guest on today’s show is Chris Mitchell, of the tr…
 
We all know the basic story of the Allied Forces storming the Beaches of Normandy in World War II. It’s one of the most dramatic and harrowing events in modern warfare. But my brain couldn’t comprehend the size and scale of the allied forces’ operation, and the sheer number of casualties taken on those beaches of France. I had the honor of travelin…
 
If you’ve ever visited Iceland, you know the natural beauty of the planes of Thingvellir is something special. But what you may not know, is that this open field was once home to perhaps the oldest governing body of Western Civilization. That’s why this week, I chatted with Lee Accomando of The Viking Age Podcast. Lee is as entertaining as he is in…
 
Gary Arndt is a renowned travel blogger and photographer who has made it his mission to travel to all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from the big names like the Great Wall of China to the most remote islands of the Pacific Ocean. In 2007, Gary sold his home and decided to travel the world, and in this episode, he tells me all about how the UNE…
 
Patrick Wyman is a historian and podcaster I hold in great regard and I’ve invited him on the show today to discuss the history and prominence of the great Walls of Constantinople and the role they’ve played in the history of the city of Constantinople, now modern day Istanbul. This was a fun conversation where we got to talk not only about the wal…
 
The Acropolis of Athens, Greece, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the world. But to hear Ryan Stitt of The History of Ancient Greece podcast tell it, depending on when you were born, you won’t recognize the same Acropolis as the people who came before. The Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis were built around 460 B.C.,…
 
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