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The History Fangirl Podcast

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An interview show about historic places for history lovers and travel enthusiasts. Stephanie Craig is a history and travel blogger. She travels full time and writes at

An interview show about historic places for history lovers and travel enthusiasts. Stephanie Craig is a history and travel blogger. She travels full time and writes at
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An interview show about historic places for history lovers and travel enthusiasts. Stephanie Craig is a history and travel blogger. She travels full time and writes at






How Bordeaux Got Its Wine

In September I got to go to Bordeaux with a friend who is a 100% certified wine snob. I figured she would enjoy all of the wine, while I mostly focused on getting work done. But I was surprised by how easily I fell in love with the city, one of France’s most underrated destinations, even if you’re not certified. My guest today is Megan Stetzel, one half of the team behind the millennial-focused travel blog, Why Wait to See the World? On this week’s episode, we talk about how the city got its...


The Literary Pubs of Dublin

I recently got to take an amazing trip to Dublin, Ireland, working with the Irish tourism board. And one of the amazing things about working with a tourism board is that you get to see things that you might not normally see, or at least see them in a new light. That was the case for me with the Literary Pub Crawl of Dublin. It was a four-day excursion, and we got to see how the city’s pub culture fostered a literary and drama culture (and, we got to drink some great beer). My guest today is...


A Very Special Q&A

This week marks the six-month episode of the podcast, and to celebrate I conducted a live Q&A with listeners and Facebook followers on Facebook Live. That last sentence is only half true, as the real reason this episode is a Q&A is because my shaky wifi in Malaysia scuttled the interview that was planned for this week. But! This is a good opportunity to celebrate the show’s half-anniversary with listeners, so I took questions and comments left on Facebook, my blog and the podcast about...


The Hermit Kingdom of Albania

When you think of an isolated, walled-off country, your mind might immediately go to North Korea. But during the Communist era, Albania may have actually been even more secluded, despite the fact it shared a border with Greece. On today’s episode, my guest is Allison Green, author of the Eternal Arrival blog, part of the Condé Nast Traveler blog network. We talk about what life was like in Albania after its independence from the Ottoman Empire, how the country became a pawn between Hitler...


The Grand Place

Brussels, Belgium is an often-overlooked city, with neighboring capitals of Amsterdam and Paris stealing the spotlight. But Belgium is definitely much more than just great beer and chocolate. My guest today is Drew Vahrenkamp of The Wonders of the World podcast, and we sit down to chat about Brussels’ La Grand-Place, or Grand Place, the city’s central square. Drew is a self-described Belgiumphile, having studied there while in business school. As he told me, on his first trip to Brussels,...


The Oracle of Delphi

Visiting Greece can be overwhelming, with the number of historical landmarks to visit. But the Oracle of Delphi, high up in the mountains, is one of the most beautiful, and most memorable, places to visit. The history of the site is enthralling, the views are enchanting, and everywhere you look, you see echoes of why the Greeks thought this was the home of a god. My guest today is Ryan Stitt of The History of Ancient Greece podcast. Ryan and I chat about what the Greeks actually did when...


The Brooklyn Bridge

The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge changed New York City forever, connecting the suburb to Manhattan, and establishing the borough as a vital part of the city’s life and culture. It’s easy to look at a bridge now and say, “Of course that bridge had to be built.” But why, exactly, did city leaders want to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan, how did the people who lived there at the time feel about it, and how did elephants help make the bridge a landmark? Today, my guest is Ariel Viera...


Exploring Wartime Berlin

There is no shortage of history books covering World War II, and it’s even a joke that if you want to win an Oscar, just make a movie about the Nazis. But despite all of the attention paid to WWII and the years leading up to it, a lot of us don’t have a clear picture of what it was like to live in Berlin during that time. What was it like to watch Hitler rise to power, begin to attack both enemies and allies, and then eventually fail in his conquest? To find some of these answers, we turn...


O Little Town of Bethlehem

Bethlehem may be the most famous small town on Earth. The town is of course known as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, but beyond its most famous citizen, what do people really know about the city? For me, the answer as “not much.” I had the chance to travel to Bethlehem in March, and I learned so much about the city’s history beyond its Biblical history. My guest today is the man who literally wrote the book on Bethlehem, Nicholas Blincoe. Nicholas wrote the critically hailed Bethlehem:...


Belgrade: Rise of the White City

The former Republic of Yugoslavia, and specifically the city of Belgrade, occupies a dark space in our collective memory. The Civil War that broke out there in the 1990s, and the ethnic cleansing that ensued, serves as a crossroads between the past and what’s going on today. My guest today is Alex Cruikshanks, the host of the History of Yugoslavia podcast, and we talk about the rise of Belgrade, how it went from being a Serbian backwater to the capital of Yugoslavia, how the country...


The Boston Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials are one of the most (in)famous events in American history. There are plays, movies and books about it, and no American schoolkid made it to junior high without learning about them. But did you know that there were actually witch trials held about 30 miles to the south of Salem, in Boston? My guest today is Nancy Mades-Byrd, host of The Witch Hunt Podcast, who lives in Salem, and who has studied the period her entire life. Nancy tells me about what happened in the...


The Civil War Defenses of Washington, D.C.

For American history buffs, the Civil War can feel like covered ground. But if you put aside the big battles and turning points, there are still so many smaller, fascinating stories deserving to be told. And there truly is no one better to dig into those lesser-known stories than my guest, CEO of Atlas Obscura David Plotz, whom you may also know as the co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest. In this episode, we talk about how the city of Washington D.C. defended itself during the Civil...


Banqueting House: The Place to Kill a King

Visiting London can be overwhelming, with the list of must-see locations stretching as high as Big Ben. But my guest today, author Leanda de Lisle, takes us deep into a lesser-known but historically vital London locale: Banqueting House. We talked about how Banqueting House fits into the rich history of London, its famous architect Inigo Jones, and the gorgeous painting by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. And because Leanda is the author of the fantastic book, The White King: Charles I,...


The Painted Churches of Moldavia

At this point, there aren’t be too many “hidden gems” left in the world for savvy travelers and history geeks alike, but the Painted Churches of Moldavia may just be one of the last. My guest today is Ciprian Slemko, a guide with Hello Bucovina, which provides tours to the historical region that splits between the northern region of Romania, and the southern region of Ukraine. The eight churches that make up the core of the painted churches were all built in the late 15th century through...


The Lost City of Cahokia

If you ask most Americans about the history of their country, they’ll start somewhere around 1492, or maybe even 1776. But before the pilgrims and before John Hancock, of course there were large, thriving civilizations of American Indians. One of the most notable communities was in Southern Illinois, not too far from St. Louis: Cahokia, a Mississippian community of some 10-20,000 Indians, with perhaps twice as many living around the urban area. Who were the people who lived there? What...


New York's Central Park

Though it may seem like Central Park has always been a landmark for visitors and native New Yorkers alike, that’s not actually the case. The park, like much of the city, was very carefully mapped and planned out. But unlike the rest of the city, which was aligned to a strict and orderly grid, Central Park was designed to be wild: To mimic the untouched wilderness in other parts of America. Why was the park designed this way, how did its designers create such an unusual urban space, and...


Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Traveling throughout Europe, you can find the legacy of the Ottoman Empire just about everywhere. But if you want to experience a place that has lived through the ebbs and flows of the empire, and connects us through more than 500 years of history, you need to visit the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. My guest on today’s show is Chris Mitchell, of the Traveling Mitch blog, who until recently lived in Istanbul, and knows his way around its landmarks. As Chris told me, while some things have...


The Beaches of Normandy

We all know the basic story of the Allied Forces storming the Beaches of Normandy in World War II. It’s one of the most dramatic and harrowing events in modern warfare. But my brain couldn’t comprehend the size and scale of the allied forces’ operation, and the sheer number of casualties taken on those beaches of France. I had the honor of traveling to Normandy with Liberation Route Europe, a nonprofit that helps travelers interested in history connect with savvy tour leaders, and which...


Iceland's Thingvellir

If you’ve ever visited Iceland, you know the natural beauty of the planes of Thingvellir is something special. But what you may not know, is that this open field was once home to perhaps the oldest governing body of Western Civilization. That’s why this week, I chatted with Lee Accomando of The Viking Age Podcast. Lee is as entertaining as he is informative about the history of Iceland, and what makes Thingvellir such an amazing historical site. The Thing About Thingvellir The open-air...


The UNESCO World Heritage Site List

Gary Arndt is a renowned travel blogger and photographer who has made it his mission to travel to all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from the big names like the Great Wall of China to the most remote islands of the Pacific Ocean. In 2007, Gary sold his home and decided to travel the world, and in this episode, he tells me all about how the UNESCO program got started, what are some of the craziest places where his mission has taken him, and what ones ended up being slight...


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