Listen to Rick Steves, 'America's most popular travel guide writer' on an NPR talk show this weekend (above link).
And once again Rick to me came across as an Ugly America - the deal was he said Vicenza where his books highly encourage a visit for anyone in this part of Italy near Venice. But he said there was no left-luggage depot in Vincenza, at the station or any place.
So he told local tourist office officials that they either had to come up with some kind of luggage storage or he would delete Vincenza from his Italy guidebook (and probably group tours to boot!)
Rick gave them an ultimato - he did not say what happened and I'd be curious to see if Vincenza is still in his book. anyway this kind of bullying which he seemed very proud about sounded to me like an Ugly American, redolent of his early Back Door Europe guidebooks where he described his method of getting a train compartment all to himself at nigjht - he said he purposely let his socks get so smelly that when he took them off the locals and others all evacuated the compartment, leaving Rick with a private compartment!
Peter Seigel, host then later joked about another city Rick had problems with - Seigel (sp?) saying did you just repeat "VincenzA, Vincenza"?
Well the res of the interview was better - Rick said anyone with limited time in London and doing a day trip to Oggsford should forego it because Cambridge was 'more fun'.
And I applaud Rick for making clear his desire for legalization of pot - saying he was on the Board of Directors for NORML - National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws now for several years (his web site used to say that not sure it does not).
Seigel then asked if some of his readers would boycott his books for that or go on his trip and he said "Europe and our trips would be a lot better off if they stayed at home."
Rick admitted smoking pot in Paris - saying how the blue skies took on a different impression when so...
Anyway I am not a Rick Steves fan nor am I a Rick Steves basher - his guidebooks are too prescriptive for me and his tactic sometimes on the verge of being an Ugly American but for many his books are great and just the kind of guidance they are looking for.
Anyways an interesting interview.
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