Islands Without Cars

Islands Without CarsPlay
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The unique new travel series Islands Without Cars takes a rare and whimsical look at life without cars, buses or trains. On small, remote and sparsely populated isles scattered throughout Europe, most of the inhabitants travel and transport goods by donkey, bicycle and other non-motorized vehicles. It may seem like a bygone era, but for some, it is a modern reality. Hosted by Kira Hesser, an independent traveler with a love of history, the six-part series offers a fun and engaging look at the remote islands of Hydra (Greece), Sark (Channel Islands), Inish Meain (Ireland), the Aeolians (Italy), Zlarin and Krapanj (Croatia), and Porquerroles (France) through the eyes of a youthful and vibrant host.

Distributed by: American Public Television (APT)
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Kira Hesser

Kira Hesser

Kira Hesser lives, writes, and acts in Los Angeles. She is a native Chicagoan who enjoys old people, old places, and old things.

Italy's Aeolian Islands

Episode #101H · Just north of Sicily's eastern coast lies a volcanic archipelago renowned for perfect weather, beautiful scenery, deep caverns, blue grottos, steep cliffs, ancient ruins, thermal healing resorts and volcanos ... including one of the most active on the planet ... erupting almost continuously for the last 2,000 years! While we went looking for islands out of time, what we found on "Italy's Aeolian Islands" was a series of unique experiences for all of the senses. From islands so isolated that there was no radio to the extremely upscale tourist destinations, we treated all of our senses to the wonders of these volcanic dots ... smelling citrus, jasmine and salt, listening to the call of fishmongers and then to the silence of the night sky, tasting incomparable Aeolian tomatoes and their beloved capers, felt mineral baths and sunshine on our skin ... and met people who welcomed us into their unique lives with generosity and care.

Croatia's Dalmatian Coast

Episode #102H · Over a thousand unique and beautiful islands dot Croatia's incomparable Dalmatian Coastline. And in our search for islands without cars, we explored the tiny island of Zlarin, known for its beautiful coral, and the even smaller island of Krapanj ... celebrated for its history of sponge harvesting. But we began our Croatian island journey in the car-free medieval walled old town section of Dubrovnik ... which was also an island until the canal that separated Dubrovnik from the mainland was filled in the 11th century and a limestone-paved pedestrian thoroughfare was built. "Croatia's Dalmatian Coast" reveals the history, humor and hospitality of this former Kingdom and current tourist destination.

The Channel Island of Sark

Episode #103H · Exploring the Island of Sark with Kira is a unique look at the last feudal state in the western world - a tiny, ruggedly beautiful island in the English Channel with only 600 contentedly car-phobic residents. Interviews include Seigneur Michael Beaumont, the feudal lord who inherited the island from his grandmother -- the infamous Dame of Sark. The program features an "improper" tea (thanks to the Americans) with a founding descendent, an interview with the island judge (who is not a lawyer), a look at the single-cell jail for drunkards, as well as demonstrations in pottery-making, chocolate-mixing, carriage driving and cave exploring. Interviews include a rocking horse carver, a water colorist and a hotel operator straight out of Fawlty Towers.

Ireland's Inis Meain

Episode #104H · According to legend, in the l7th century, Oliver Cromwell, the fanatical Protestant "Lord Protector" of England gave the Irish Catholics a choice: they could go to hell or go to Connacht. Some went further still -all the way to three ruggedly beautiful islands off of Ireland's west coast. Following in the footsteps of great Irish writers, "Ireland's Inis Meain" explores Ireland's pre-colonial past as the 150 Gaelic-speaking inhabitants of this wet rock in the Atlantic figure out how to manage their legacy and lifestyle just outside of the contaminating influences of the modern world. The innovations - like a luxurious and exclusive new hotel and a sweater factory that sells to the likes of Barney's - are controlled carefully with an eye toward tradition and the environment. This program celebrates an island that is the repository of Irish culture, Irish island cuisine that is locally gathered, organically grown and beautifully prepared and reveals what it takes to knit a sweater that bears little resemblance to the fisherman's sweaters. In the process, we hear one of Ireland's noted poets and fiddle players, learn to pour a proper Guinness and discover what inspired the Irish Nationalist imagination.

The Greek Island of Hydra

Episode #105H · "The Greek Island of Hydra" is an exploration into the lives of American and British ex-patriot writers and artists who have responded to the Siren's call and reinvented their lives on this tiny, preserved, architectural and historical landmark - which also happens to be the only developed Greek island without cars. Interviews include internationally acclaimed Hydriot artist Panayotis Tetsus at a showing of his paintings, along with a host of ex-patriots who have followed in Henry Miller and Leonard Cohen's footsteps to make Hydra their home. This is an opportunity to see what it's like to escape to a Greek island.

France's Isle of Porquerolles

Episode #106H · Just 20 minutes by boat from France's famed Cote d'Azur, the island of Porquerolles is dotted with five small ranges of hills, lined with cliffs and beaches and is renowned for the best weather in France with 275 sunny days per year. In 1912, the entire island was purchased by Francois Joseph Fournier as a wedding present for his second wife. He then planted ... among other things ... 500 acres of vineyards ... and built a hotel. Everything is small, intimate and bathed in the scent of eucalyptus and pine. There are no beachside shops or fast food. There is no smoking allowed outside of the village. And building on the island is mostly forbidden. What there is, is nature ... a grand hotel ... and a great story of conservation and consideration.