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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS review of last night’s TV show: Climbing, weaving, cycling… Nick is big on action but short on information


Nick Knowles in South America (Ch5)

Rating:

Non-stop activities, that’s how some people imagine a vacation. See the sunrise over the mountains from the boat, breakfast 50 miles down the road, back to the coast to water ski before lunch.

Just thinking about it leaves me in shock. Even Nick Knowles on his new travel show is a bit much. Most of the time he is gasping for breath and sometimes he can barely stand up to say anything to the camera.

By the time the opening credits rolled, he was halfway up a cliff in the Andes—not so much free climbing as a winch on a rope with a harness around his massive rear end.

It’s a bit much for Nick Knowles (pictured) in his new travel show. He’s gasping for breath most of the time

The problem with vacations is that you forget half the things you did because they are gone so quickly.  It's the same with this show

The problem with vacations is that you forget half the things you did because they are gone so quickly. It’s the same with this show

«My hands are running out of grip,» he gasped, 30 feet up. Back on the ground, a wiry fellow named Jorge holding the other end of the rope was in danger of being catapulted into the air if Nick slipped.

«Why… do you… enjoy this so much?» Nick gasped at Jorge after he was lowered to safety. He didn’t hang around to try the climb again – the next stop was a dash down to the beach at Fin del Mundo, at the End of the World, to see some penguins.

The penguins were nesting in the holes, but that didn’t stop Nick and his guide, a conservationist named Roberto, from poking a stick into the hole to see if their babies had hatched.

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No wonder locals from Tenerife to Mallorca complain about the behavior of tourists. If this continues, these penguins will be organizing their own protest marches.

Nick then made a quick and breathless journey past a replica of Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle before meeting an Aboriginal couple who taught him how to spin grass.

Then he visited a wind turbine facility, rode a bike with a guy who biked 11,000 miles from Mexico, and paddled a kayak to view a melting glacier.

Then he visited a wind turbine facility, rode a bike with a guy who biked 11,000 miles from Mexico, and paddled a kayak to view a melting glacier.

He's no Chris Packham ¿ he even managed to get a basic fact about penguins wrong, telling us they were only found in the far south

He’s no Chris Packham – he’s even managed to get a basic fact about penguins wrong by telling us they’re only found in the far south.

He then visited a wind turbine facility, cycled with a fellow who had cycled 11,000 miles from Mexico, and paddled a kayak to view a melting glacier – before finally arriving at an eco-hotel, where he stumbled exhaustedly into a bar. No wonder he was out of breath.

The problem with vacations is that you forget half the things you did because they are gone so quickly. It’s the same with this show. It is much better to spend longer on some interesting segments and skip others.

Sending Nick bird watching or rock climbing is pointless. He’s no Chris Packham – he’s even managed to get a basic fact about penguins wrong by telling us they’re only found in the far south (as Darwin knew, Galapagos penguins live near the equator).

But the Kawesqar weavers were fascinating. We were able to learn a lot more about them – about their traditional society, about their history.

Nick was in Patagonia, the southern tip of the continent where the writer Bruce Chatwin went to look for fossils half a century ago. Chatwin took his time and ended up on the trail of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. If Nick had slowed down, he could have seen a lot more.

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