Rick Steves in Europe

Postcards from Europe was a fun, light read.  It weaves stories from Rick’s early life of travel with a current (1999) solo blitz around Europe.  Rick’s signature phrase Europe through the back door promotes travel which spends less money, connects with locals, is more informal, and gets off the beaten path.  In this narrative (although he can never completely shed his role as teacher) Rick reveals stories behind the scenes.  He is a looser, less buttoned-up guide.  He doesn’t purge the book of potentially offensive subjects such as the fact that in Denmark the word journey is spelled fart, or that Amsterdam offers every available vice.       

Face it, Rick Steves has an enviable job: annual trips to Europe which are tax-deductible, friends around the globe, breathing history, the satisfaction of helping tens of thousands of people.  It’s not all beer and skittles though.  His success has proven that a good word from him in a guidebook translates into big money for the folks in the travel industry.  People hound, manipulate, beg, berate and banter for a recommendation from him.  A trip to Europe is always work with its niggling details.  Here are some of my favorite quotes:

From the start, I had a passion for journal writing.
I followed one strict rule: Never finish a day without writing it up.

I learned to write by giving talks…I read one book – On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  When I feel like I should read another book to fine-tune my writing, I read Zinsser again. 

Italians are a moveable party. 
They can make a traffic jam fun.

Good travel is more than counting blessings.  It’s understanding them. You appreciate the vintner and the land in the bouquet of a fine wine. You let a favorite artist share new beauties in times and places you’ve never been. You eat better ice cream than you thought possible. And you warm your spirit in the glow of a European who’s found his niche in life. Good travel makes God obvious to me.

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5 thoughts on “Rick Steves in Europe

  1. Me too!Here’s another good quote from A Christian Traveler’s Companion by Amy Ekert and William J. Petersen:What we mean by Christian travel is travel that rejuvenates your spirit as well as your body, travel that does not leave your spiritual life behind on the coffee table, travel that helps families talk about their faith and that of others in history, travel that encourages appreciation for what God has done and thankfulness for His great gifts.

  2. Oh, I love that whole last paragraph! The part about the artist especially is beautiful. I hope you will be seeing some good art while you are there, inbetween all the castles! And the ice cream, OH! THE ICE CREAM!!! I better hear about some wonderful ice cream or gelato that you had while there!!! 

  3. Well, now i see why traveler daughter Corinne loves the Rick Steves guidebooks and swears by them–that tone of “real” is so often left out of that sort of writing!
    When do you guys leave?

  4. Rick is wonderful! I’m glad you are brushing up on his stuff, it will make the UK much more intimate for you.
    Have you been to his website? There is a really helpful Graffiti Wall where you can pick up all kinds of practical help and get suggestions for things to see/do. http://www.ricksteves.com
    I am so excited for you! How much longer until you leave? I bet you can hardly wait!
    OH! I almost forgot, the strawberries in the UK are the best I’ve ever had bar none, and I grew up in the Willamette Valley, aka Strawberry Land! They aren’t huge over there, they go for ‘flavour’! yummmmmm!

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