Travel Channel on Channel 82 Sky is currently my favorite cable channel initially because of 36 Hours hosted by Kristen and Kyle.
The show, a broadcast version of a New York Times feature is well written and produced. It's about food, activities and cultural significance the two American hosts experience in 36 hours in a choice city. They start off checking in a boutique hotel, move around the city with cultural significance yet not too popular, eat at either exotic or gourmet restaurants. In the afternoon, both separate ways for their respective physical activity. It can be a culinary visit, a farm visit or a sports activity. Day ends with booze and entertainment. A resource person or at times a New York Times correspondent joins them in the discussion of their food trip. 36 Hours ends with a breakfast where they summarize their takeaways.
I like the Nashville, Istanbul, Portland, Istanbul and Barcelona episodes. Their one minute closing spiel captures the spirit of the 36 Hour visit and the one hour show.
Ending the Nashville episode, Kyle narrates "Music is in their lifeblood, in their DNA . . . when you sing from the heart for your family, for yourself for the city, you are in the light.
"Wrapping up 36 hours in Istanbul, Kristen says "Istanbul is a city that spans two continents and negotiates the push and pull of two cultures. Progress is struggling on the grip of tradition. There is an expression in this country. Turkey is like a man running West on a train headed East. East or West, we fell until the spell of this magical city."
Over breakfast at Berlin, “. . .of course you are leaving and of course you are coming back! In our 36 hours, Kristen and I had a major taste of Berlin. And indeed, we will be coming back.”
Expounding on Barcelona, “Barcelona is one of my favorite places that I have been in all my travels. Catalonia's struggle for independence sparked its defiant spirit, a passion for perfection in a whimsical way. You see it in the streets and taste it in every dish. There is a pulse about Barcelona that you can feel from the moment you set here. The buzz that makes you excited about what’s around the next corner. Makes you want to be in the Catalan culture for more than 36 hours. Catalan’s wonder for independence is making it the city of their dreams. Ours too! To Barcelona."
Three other reasons I am glued to Travel Channel are Expedition Unknown, Booze Traveler and Uncommon Grounds.
Josh Gates of Expedition Unknown rates Rio de Janiero, Papua New Guinea and Panama as the exotic and adventurous 2016 destination. His expeditions are supported with resource persons and experts.
Booze Traveler narrates how and what to drink anywhere in the world. Host Jack Maxwell calls for a "skol, kampai, salute, hoopa or even tagay!" with either gin, scotch, tuba, lager, beer with anyone anytime, anywhere in a day. Jack already featured the Philippines tasting the sugar cane based basi in a Vigan food strip. Unfortunately, relative to the other continents' episode, it was flat without any spirit at all. Tuba from coconut should make an interesting drink and the practice of "tabi-tabi lang" offering the 1st drink to the spirits may interest the booze traveler to revisit the Philippines.
Uncommon Grounds brings us to dangerous places like Morocco for a coffee maker, rare meats and to Colombia for expensive coffee beans. Todd Carmichael hosts Uncommon Grounds.
These shows are enough triggers for me to leave the sofa and pack to see life beyond the cable channel.