Do you watch Rick Steeves on Television

Apr 27th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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A funny postscript re: Rick's hotels: Back in October I contacted Le Calendal in Arles for a May reservation and was told they were booked with a tour. Had a feeling it was one of Rick's tours, checked the online schedule...yup!
DejaVu is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Samantha's hotels are fantasy for the vast majority of us, and I think she pretty much presents them that way. It's sort of "travel porn" the way the Food Channel is food porn.

Rick Steves is fine in small doses - like most TV hosts. His Italian DVD (Best of Italy?) has some great moments, and I think he does the Cinque Terre admirably. I don't think of him as a source for hotel or food, it's just not his thing. As travelogue, he's not bad.

I've become a real fan of Globe Trekker TV. The variety of hosts and locations can't be beat. They do a grat job of recreating the fun and excitemnet of some of their locations, give a good sense of the "trek" part of the experience, the buses and trucks and ferries that it takes to get where they're going etc. Love their "festival" coverage, and their connection to local people in the stories. (Some travel TV gives the feeling that it's "all about" the tourist, where for me half the experience is the people of the "host" country.) I'm older than the Globetrekker hosts, so don't imagine myself doing all the things they do - things I might have enjoyed 20 years ago - but there is always something new on their shows, not the same old same old.

Globetrekker is on a 2nd-tier public channel here in NYC, don't know where they air elsewhere. If you haven't seen it, hunt for it.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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I don't have cable, so no Travel Channel for me. Because of this, I live for my PBS travel shows. (and cooking shows, too, but that's another obsession!)

I watch Rick Steves mainly to see the cities and towns he is in. It's fun to say "I've been there!" Those goofy bloopers at the end of the show have got to go! They are too cheesy for words.

I enjoyed Rudy Maxa, but he doesn't come on anymore. Same for Burt Wolf.

I'm not a youth hostel kind of girl, but I really like watching Globe Trekker, especially when Ian is hosting. He's great.

gracie04 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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I value Rick Steves' books for his recommendations of the best sites. When you have limited vacation time, it's good to know what are the must-sees. But I use the Michelin guides for this also.

The other thing Rick is good at is practical information. He has an excellent web page about train pass options and whether a pass is worthwhile. He lists laundromats and gives detailed driving instructions to difficult locations.

But I use all the guidebooks I can get my hands on -- from the library.
Mimar is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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As a somewhat "old timer" on this forum, I found this thread very interesting. In past years, the mere mention of Rick Steeves' name evoked a ton of responses from people who absolutely hated him! Thought his suggestions were ridiculous, even faulting the way he dressed. This thread, on the other hand, has the majority of responses just the opposite. If the original poster follows the suggestion of doing a search and those threads are still available, I think he/she will see how different the responses were in years past.
Giovanna is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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I had the occassion about two years ago to interact with his staff regarding train passes for a group in Switzerland. THey made a lifelong fan. The woman I spoke with worked with me quite a while to make sure she understood all the ages and our exact plans to help us find the best deal.

It was not as easy as it sounds and RailEurope had just told me to buy the highest price thing as "that's the only thing that will work" Ricks staff found some other great deals and saved us a fortune! (Had girls under 16 on one thing, adults on another etc. LOL!)
CarolA is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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great (but rehashed, I suppose) thread in that it got me thinking about my new-found travel lust. If we were European, we'd already know how to pack, budget, and arrange for a LONG vacation - 6 weeks, and up!, at a crack and make the most out of the "slow travel" ethic. Here in the U.S. it's an annual 3-week assault, more due to vacation balance than $$. So by all means, you should be as comfortable as you can afford to be - even lavishing yourself on occasion for the right view, meal, purchase.

But... if you can find a way to double or triple your yearly time off by choice of profession, or lack thereof - the lonely planet & globetrekker modes of travel have shown some friends of mine how to stretch their budget and do what some of us really dream about: total immersion in the culture we're visiting. It's a leap for most, and a lot of their travel destinations seem to be in the 3rd world, but I want to see it all!
ronin is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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the BandB in Baccarach, would that be Lettie???
sidandspennysmom is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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I like Steves and I watch his show. A lot of repeats and preemptions lately, however. His biggest positive is that he is upbeat and loves what he does. His biggest negative is his relative ignorance of Medieval history. His knowledge is that of a 12th grader. He ought to read Norman Cantor's Civilization of the Middle Ages so that he can explain his travels a little better.
GeorgeW is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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I am not his biggest fan, but AisleSeat said it well, even tho I laughed at the Frasier comparison. Maybe it's that he doesn't try to speak a language or seems unchanged by his experiences.

How can I get that Globe Trekker gig? Doesn't that seem like the coolest job ever? My fave show, it caps Travel Tuesdays on our local public tv. Motivates me, as a solo traveler to try to be more intrepid, but then I don't have that kind of time off from work, either. Used to listen to Rudy Maxa on public radio I think it was called The Savvy Traveler.
ninasdream is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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I think Rick Steves' programs pack a tremendous amount of information about what to see and do; most of the other shows (Samantha Brown, Rudy Maxa) seem to focus too much on one or two highly specialized experiences (such as a showing off a highly expensive hotel room and hotel restaurant that 95% of their viewers will never go to) at the expense of giving a good, useful overview of the travel site. If Rick Steves sits down in a restaurant, it's to illustrate a point about eating in local restaurants, rather than to showcase a specific restaurant. His programs aren't intended for the seasoned traveler. And even though his "nerdy" personality comes through, unlike so many of these shows, the program doesn't degenerate into a "it's all about the host" type of show.
We did check his book on Paris out when we went and there was a tremendous amount of very useful "how to" info for the 1st or 2nd time traveler.
vanne is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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nina: I was a big Savvy Traveler fan on NPR, too. I don't know if Rudy stopped doing the show or if my station stopped carrying it - I'll have to check.

When I first watched Rick S, I thought I'd hate to travel with the guy. But in time I grew to enjoy some of his moments. I especially appreciate on the Best of Italy, when he's waiting for a train that never seems to come. (In spite of pretty efficient Italian trains) - he says, basically, "If you can't handle the relaxed Italian attitude about certain things, maybe you should go to Germany." I loved that.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Tomasso - that's a good Rick Steves story. I will try looking at him with new eyes. In general, I tend to think any travel show that exposes you to a place, or lets you visually revisit it is worthwhile.

The radio show ended after 9/11, but I hear Rudy Maxa as a 2-5 minute feature on Marketplace I think and other programs.
ninasdream is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 12:23 PM
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Yes, I hear him do little pieces now and then. I used to love his show - and Diana Nyad's contributions, as well. Radio that makes you "see" - now that's an art.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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I've always rather liked Rick Steves, his baggy khakis, and his PBS series because he has encouraged people who don't have a lot of money to venture outside the US, but I don't rely exclusively on him for information. Ever since he risked alienating people who might otherwise have booked one of his tours or used his books by publicly expressing both antiwar views and the preposterous idea that the rest of the world might have something to show/teach/share with the US, I have purchased several more of his books.
That said, Samantha Brown is fun to watch and Burt Wolf has had interesting programs, but I really love Globe Trekker!
katt58 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Rick's fun to see in person when he swings through town on his pledge drives at the PBS station. He always sells out! His initial talk is quite "pat," but he answers questions from the audience, signs books, and brings all his books/dvd's to sell at a big discount. You can find his schedule on his website. I've been a Rick fan for a long time and appreciate all the tips I've picked up.
DejaVu is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 09:28 AM
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Okay, to those of you who said Samantha Brown doesn't seem that knowledgeable: She is an actress who auditioned for the role of hostess for the Travel Channel's show. I like her show for the humor, but Rick and Rudy are travel experts. Rudy has written for National Geographic Traveler; Rick has been giving European travel advice for decades.
susan001 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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OP- No
PalenQ is online now  
Jun 19th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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The best of the lot is Ian Wright. One might not want to stay in his super budget hotels, but the information given is top notch.
Castleblanca is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Samantha is good for people who want to experience first impressions of a foreign city. She, on purpose I'm pretty sure, takes it from the point of view of a traveler visiting a city for the very first time and knowing little to nothing about it until they arrive.
She's fun and cute, but I don't get a whole lot out of it. I want to like her a lot because she's nice, but it can feel a little vapid at times.
I was disappointed to hear her voice her self-confessed stereotypes about South America while in Chile, that it was dirty, full of crime, full of corruption, which is a sweeping generalization especially in light of a city like Santiago!
My favorite is Rudy Maxa, because he focuses on the food, the wine, and the history.
Rudy will very briefly talk about his hotel, but not nearly as much as Samantha does. He really delves into the layers of history of a given region, which is wonderful. Did anyone see the show on the Champagne region where he had a dinner in which each course was paired with a different blend of Champagne? It was dreamy.
Rick is okay, he's undergone some coaching in recent years, his accent has changed noticeably. His show spends the most time on art, I feel, which is good for art lovers. He loves travel and he loves making it accessible to everyone.
But my favorite - he can be a little Fraser-ish for sure - is Rudy.
Ellen Craig
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