BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Go to the Listen Again page

Listen to Excess Baggage for

09 June 2007


Kazakhstan was occupied by nomadic tribesmen when it was conquered by Ghengis Khan in the 13th century. Two centuries later it was gradually absorbed into imperial Russia and became Kazakh SSR under the soviets and then independent in 1991. It is currently ruled by President Nursultan Nazarbayev who became lifetime ruler in 2000.

Author and journalist Christopher Robbins talks about his journey to a country recently propelled into people’s consciousness by Sacha Baron Cohen’s comic character Borat, who purported to come from Kazakhstan.

Whilst our friend George and his young wife were enjoying the first blushing days of the honeymoon at Brighton, honest William was left as George's plenipotentiary in London, to transact all the business part of the marriage.” (Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray 1847).

John McCarthy finds out that times have changed and hears about the kinds of holidays newlyweds are taking nowadays to kick off their married life.  He is joined by travel expert Julie Middleton and Louise Cheung and Stewart Denard who honeymooned in Belize last year.

Presented by John McCarthy

Zenkov cathedral, Amalty, Kazakhstan

Photo:  Zenkov cathedral, Amalty, Kazakhstan

This week’s guests:

Christopher Robbins
is an author and journalist.  He wrote the book and the screenplay for the film Air America.  His latest book is called In Search of Kazakhstan - the land that disappeared. Chris became intrigued by the role Kazakhstan had played in the USSR.  It was home to the gulag Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned in, where the Soviet space programme was based, and practically no-one knew anything about it.  Christopher also discovered that apples originally come from Kazakhstan.

In Search of Kazakhstan - the land that disappeared
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
ISBN-10: 1861978685
ISBN-13: 978-1861978684

Julie Middleton is a travel expert and marketing executive for Trips Worldwide which organises special honeymoon packages to a host of places; from the exotic and popular like the Maldives and Dubai to more unusual spots like Vietnam or the Galapagos islands.

Julie believes that the honeymoon market has changed in the last twenty years.  Whereas newlyweds wanted to go to secluded, special or romantic destinations and might have been content to flop on a beach in the Seychelles, they are now looking for something a little more active – without it being dangerous.  This could involve a day’s hiking, horse riding or white water rafting.

The Alternative Honeymoon

Louise Cheung and Stewart Denard both work for different breast cancer charities.  They met about ten years ago while doing their A levels and later at university.  Their friendship turned into a relationship and, eventually, marriage.

To relax after the stress of organising the wedding, Louise wanted a honeymoon, which she saw as significant trip, something they’d always remember as part of their life together.

Louise and Steward aimed at something eco-friendly and off the beaten track.  They chose Belize, in Central America.  Their honeymoon started in a secluded cabin on a rural estate where their food was grown on its own allotment. It was one and half hours along a bumpy road; although not luxurious, it had all the necessary comforts.  There were forests, mountain ridges, and waterfalls and they spent the days horse riding, walking or exploring rivers.  They were also able to meet local people and experience the food and the culture.

The BBC cannot be held responsible for
the content of external sites


John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
Listen Live
Audio Help
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Tell us about your travel experiences. e-mail Excess Baggage 
Find out about the 2007 winner and listen to their programme
Excess Baggage
Current Episodes
Archived Episodes
Current Programmes
Archived Programmes
News & Current Affairs | Arts & Drama | Comedy & Quizzes | Science | Religion & Ethics | History | Factual

Back to top

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy