Episode 1 - War and Peace
War And Peace
Eschewing the mountains and deserts of his last two series, Michael Palin explores the countries that were, for much of his life, hidden behind the Iron Curtain and now are very much part of the New Europe of post-Soviet times.
From high in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, he heads down to the Dalmatian coast and the ancient port of Split in Croatia, where he finds out just how important nationalism is in these newly created countries.
From the paradise Island of Hvar, he travels to Medjugorje in Bosnia, where he speaks to Mirjana Dragicevic, one of the six visionaries who first started having visitations by the Virgin Mary 25 years ago.
To uncover the feelings and effects of the traumatic Balkan wars that followed the break up of Yugoslavia, Michael travels first to Mostar, onto Sarajevo, and then to Belgrade in Serbia. Meeting up with mine-clearance workers, Bosnian film director Ademir Kenovic and Serbian DJ Rambo Amadeus, he gains new perspectives on the bloody wars and feeling of hope that reconstruction is bringing. In Dubrovnik, pearl of the Adriatic, he encounters lute maestro Edin Karamazov, who made the Dowland album with Sting in 2006, busking in the splendour of this renaissance city.
An opera-singing captain takes Michael on his yacht down the coast to Albania, once the most secretive country in Europe. Braving the crazy traffic of Tirana, Michael cycles to meet Edi Rama, one-time painter and now the Mayor, who tells him how Albania is struggling to shake off its Communist legacy.
Michael then accompanies a group of pilgrims to an Islamic monastery. On top of a mountain, a sheep sacrifice heralds an afternoon of music and hospitality in typical Balkan manner.