In his latest TV series, New Europe, Michael Palin travels through more than twenty countries in Eastern Europe, exploring how it has changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. What makes this travelogue even more exciting is that all of the countries visited are just a short flight away for most Europeans.
The first episode on September 16th followed Palin as he travelled through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.
His first stop in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the pilgrimage town of Medjugorje, where on 24 June 1981 six children encountered a woman with a child in her arms and recognised her as the Virgin Mary. Palin meets one of them who tells of her experience and visitations from the Virgin Mary.
Palin then heads north to Mostar, where he joined other camera-toting tourists in admiring Mostari divers taking a 70-feet plunge into the Neretva river from the town's spectacular bridge. He then mourned in a nearby Muslim cemetery filled with young people's graves dating from the recent war.
From Mostar he takes a train to Sarajevo where he meets film director Ademir Kenovic who takes him for a walk in Bascarsija. He also visits mine-clearance workers in a scenic woodlands around Sarajevo and visits a local school. At the end of his visit to Sarajevo he enjoys an evening of traditional food and sevdalinka singing in a local restaurant.
New Europe is bound to inspire a surge of interest in central and eastern European destinations. Dubbed the Palin effect, this was previously seen three years ago after Palin's televised exploits in the Himalayas led to increased interest in the region.
To find out more about the series and to watch a clip from Mostar visit www.bbc.co.uk/palin/about.shtml#1
Michael Palin's New Europe book (£20), published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson is available from 13th September. Audio book, published by BBC Audiobooks, will be available on CD (£25.00) and to download (£15.60) on 8th October.
You can buy this book in our online store, or win it in our competition!!!