One of my goals for Undaunted Adventure this year is to interview a variety of fellow travel bloggers, vloggers and podcasters. There are so many amazing people out there who are doing a phenomenal job at what they do, and I thought it would be great to showcase some of my favourites! I’ll be releasing a Q&A each month, and this month Marian from City Breaks Podcast took some time to answer some questions all about her podcast, travel experiences and tips for future podcasters!
About me / About City Breaks
I’m Marian Jones and I’ve been teaching French and German since the 1980s! I work part-time these days because I like to have time for other things, especially travel, reading and listening to podcasts. All those interests came together and I began to wonder why I didn’t have a go at podcasting myself. City Breaks was born and I’ve been producing weekly podcasts for over two years now. I’m currently releasing the London series and there are seven cities in the back catalogue: Florence, Munich, St Petersburg, Toulouse, Seville, Paris and Bath. You can find them all at www.citybreakspodcast.co.uk
Where did the inspiration for City Breaks Podcast come from?
I love travel, especially to foreign cities, and before I go I like to find out all about the places I’ll be visiting. I always read some history books, perhaps some novels, definitely some guidebooks and gradually I began to think other people might be interested in all the things I find out. I aim to provide all the background history and culture you would research yourself if you had the time and most episodes are linked to a particular site so you can mug up before you go!
What’s your favourite thing about working on City Breaks Podcast?
People who know me will tell you I like talking! But even more, I like going somewhere new and finding out all about it. I love doing the research, both the reading in advance and the visiting, especially if I get talking to people there who tell me all the things you can’t find out in guidebooks. And I love that it’s my own project and I can do whatever I like without consulting anyone else!
Do you have a favourite episode or series?
I’ve only covered cities I love, so in a way no, I don’t have a favourite. But after travelling lots in France, Germany and Austria for work, I found it quite exotic to go to St Petersburg, so I am especially fond of that series. As for episodes, perhaps the Munich one called ‘Standing up to Hitler’, because it gave me the chance to talk about some extremely brave people who are not as well-known as they should be. You can listen to this podcast by the link below.
What’s your favourite holiday memory?
Well, to not quite answer the question, my favourite experience abroad was when I was a student and got the chance to spend a whole year in Vienna. Not really a holiday, but what a fantastic opportunity! Queuing for cheap last-minute ballet tickets at the Staatsoper, eating Gugelhupf, i.e. cake, for breakfast, weekends with friends in the Weinviertel, and, oh yes, going to lectures at the university!
When you arrive in a destination, what’s the first thing you do?
Well, on the evening I arrive, I like to choose a little restaurant near where I am staying and go for a first meal out. And on the first proper morning in a new city, I’ll probably go for a walk past some of the main sights and get a feel for the geography of the place. So maybe in Paris I’d do some of the walkway along the Seine, or in London, I’d go from Westminster, along Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and then up the Mall. Something iconic.
If you could visit any city in the world, where would you go and why?
Well, I’d always re-visit Paris whenever the chance comes up. As for places I haven’t been, I’m keen to go to Moscow. I’m fascinated by Russian culture and as I read more about it, I’m making a list of all the places I want to see! I go over the Russian alphabet every now and then, just to get into the mood!
Any tips for booking a great City Break?
Go for as long as you can, because rushing around is no fun. Ideally, you need time to see all the sights which interest you and more time to wander, stop where you fancy and just take it all in. Factor in some time to relax, so in Seville, maybe spend a morning in the beautiful Maria Luisa Park, or in Toulouse, do a boat trip along the Canal du Midi.
Do you have any advice for anyone who’s thinking of starting their own podcast or blog?
Well, I wrote an article about that and if you want lots of detail you can read it here.
To get started, I’d say spend a bit of time looking around and getting a feel for what you like and perhaps for what isn’t out there that maybe you can provide. Then just go for it! No-one will notice if you don’t do it, but people might start to notice if you do!
You can check out City Breaks’ social media, website and contact details below…
Thank you Marian for taking part in our first Q&A!