Thursday, July 7, 2011

My love affair with Rick Steves

Ha! Got you there! No, really, everyone knows that when I talk travel, Rick’s name comes up. Just gotta love that guy and his travel philosophy! Steves, an author, historian, and television personality, is best known for his PBS television series Rick Steves' Europe. Not just a TV travel guru, Steves also owns a tour business and travel store, "Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door", headquartered in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington. (I do have to admit that I've shopped online for some great travel gear tested on the road by Steves himself.)
For me, the love affair started many years before our first tour as I watched Steves on PBS work his way through Europe with a great mix of the tourist attractions everyone wants to see (think Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, Michelangelo's David) and the day trips the locals actually take (hiking the Swiss Alps and Cinque Terre, barreling down a luge in Austria, wine tasting in small-town Burgundy). A Steves' tour had been on my bucket list for years and we made our dream come true when our youngest started college in 2005.
The trip was everything we had hoped for. Three and a half weeks on the road in a cocoon of travel and adventure. It was hard to re-enter the real world and we were hooked on Steves and his tours. We met some great like-minded folks on that tour who we're still friends with.
Steves' model works for us, but for those not ready to take the plunge with a tour, Rick Steves' website has a plethora of info to plan your own trip. Steves' tour books updated every year with his latest findings are also helpful for research and to carry on your trip. We've never been disappointed following any of Steves' suggestions for hotels, restaurants or itineraries. 
And you wouldn’t believe how many travelers are carrying Rick’s books throughout Europe! You’ll make friends everywhere when they see you consulting the book alongside them. Shop owners actually have signs in their storefronts: Discount if you show Rick Steves’ books! Hotels and restaurants continue to provide great service because they want to make the cut for Steves' books each year!
Yes, I’ve found Steves’ books so helpful that I refer to his advice over and over. To the extreme that when we planned a 2009 family trip to my father’s hometown in Italy, I knew I said "Rick Steves says to do this, Rick Steves' book says that we should do that" way too much. But I couldn't help but gush over my love. I thought my family would combust if I said Rick's name one more time, but instead they listened lovingly and patiently to all the tips I transferred from my close relationship with and admiration for Rick.
I thought I got away without any teasing until we were finally settled in a nice B&B in my dad's hometown in Italy and my son presented me with a framed and signed picture of my travel love for my nightstand.

We all laughed. You may laugh also, but this photo still sits on my nightstand to this day. Hubby knows he's my best friend and all I need in so many ways, but when it comes to travel, he doesn't dare stand between me and my Rick. Actually, hubby loves him also. Some of our best memories are the fruit of Steves' research and travel through Europe. Our 2005 Best of Europe trip was the experience of a lifetime and we dream of the day when we can join our next tour. Maybe next year! Look out, Rick, here we come!

Until next time, yours in fun...Therese 


  1. Hey buddy - I love the site - and the writing style, too. Makes me want to hit the road again. But do I have to wait until my youngest starts college? That's another eight years away!

  2. Thanks, buddy! You should hit the road again for yourself! You deserve it! Do you have to wait until the youngest starts college? Heck, no! That was a milestone year for me because I was ready to do some things for myself after using all our vacation for many years doing the old college visits. You know, everything always for the kiddies!

    For you: Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today! You know, maybe it's not your ultimate dream trip to start, but it's the little things in life that can make your day.

    Get away one night with your besties. Take some day trips. Plan ahead and work toward a trip for you and your family that will give you purpose each day. It's always fun to have something new and exciting (or old and comfortable) to look forward to! Ha!

    Yours in fun...Therese