This week we are exploring Romania's largest and most iconic region,mistaken by many Americans and others as a country in its own right. In fact Transylvania is a name that most of the western world still associates with Dracula, werewolves and folk legend. But this land beyond the forest defies all preconceptions and remains one of the most culturally important and beautiful parts of Eastern Europe.
2018 • Travel
James journeys through Japan's mountainous forests, marvels at its zen gardens and admires centuries-old bonsai, to explore the connections between Japanese culture and the natural environment. Travelling around Japan's stunning island geography, he examines how the country's two great religions, Shinto and Buddhism, helped shape a creative response to nature often very different to the West. But he also considers modern Japan's changing relationship to the natural world and travels to Naoshima Art Island to see how contemporary artists are finding new ways to engage with nature.
Until David Thompson found a route through the Rockies, the west coast was effectively cut off from the rest of Canada. Combined with the unique terrain of the Pacific coast, the result was a different land. The unique cultures, skills and landscape of Canada's far west make it a rich and diverse place - a land of cedar boxes, steam-bent fish hooks and dugout canoes, and a place where totem poles once dominated the landscape and people relied on the sea. Ray Mears explores the area's bushcraft, nature and traditions as he completes his journey across Canada.
Burma and Buddhism are intertwined, thanks to centuries of ancient mythology and thousands of golden monuments of worship. It all began with the Pagan Kingdom about 1,000 years ago, when Anawrahta, a great king, and Shin Arahan, a Buddhist monk, together incited one of the greatest religious reformations in Asian history. Join us as we explore this spiritual revolution and how it triggered a wave of temple-building in honor of the Buddha.
Modern-day China has been built on the traditions and innovations of the past. In this aerial journey, explore the sprawling nation from a whole new perspective. See how nature has served as both an enemy and an ally, and meet people who have built lives in the unlikeliest of places, from steep river valleys to harsh desert landscapes. It's a coast-to-coast tour of a vast and varied nation, where ancient customs continue to shape the landscape and the people.
Ray follows in the footsteps of an unsung British hero who helped put modern Canada on the map. John Rae from Scotland was the first great Arctic explorer and came to be regarded as the foremost authority on First Nation methods of Arctic survival and travel. Ray Mears follows the story of how John Rae found the Northwest Passage - the Holy Grail of 19th-century exploration. Yet this man, who should have been a hero of his day, was vilified by the British establishment. Ray believes it's time to put the record straight.