rick/steve? which book?

Jul 29th, 2006, 06:03 PM
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rick/steve? which book?

we are first time travellers to europe travelling from Australia. Through this website (and I'm new to website)I am reading a lot of reference to Rick/Steve travel books. Haven't heard of them in Australia. Sounds like we shouldn't leave home without a copy of their travel guide. Which one though? We are travelling throughout Germany, Paris, Rome and Positano,during this time only doing one cosmos bus tour of central europe. Rest of time on our own. Any advice would be grateful thanks. Don't want to carry more than one book. Thanks Kerry
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Jul 29th, 2006, 06:20 PM
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Oh - you may be opening a can of worms w/ this one. Rick Steves (one man not Rick/Steve) arouses pretty strong opinions on both sides. IMHO - his books are pretty good for Italy - not so hot for Paris. Have no idea how useful for Germany.

Some people swear by him, and others swear at him. But for first time visitors, he does generally give good advice.
janisj is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 06:28 PM
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Yeah, exactly who is this Rick Steves guy?
degas is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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His books are OK for things to do and see. Personally I don't like his restaurant recommendations - always crammed with tourists carrying his book(s) and the service is usually poor because they know that you probably won't be back. Sometimes the food has been good, other times mediocre. There are so many other good books, do a search here for them.

Do you have Amazon.com in Australia? If so, you can see all of Rick's books and order from them. They are good basic first time traveler's books. You'll see many many travelers of all ages carrying his books.

You've come to the right place to questions and receive first hand information.

Nina
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Jul 29th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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Here's Rick!

http://www.ricksteves.com/
JEFF_ is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 06:40 PM
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I've never used any of Rick Steves' hotel recommendations; I used one of his restaurant recommendations in Venice and it was great.

We buy his books for his walking tours of museums and neighborhoods. We trael with three kids/teens and his tours are at about their attention span - some (but not too much) detail and some humor.
missypie is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 06:45 PM
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Rick Steves' books typically cover a limited number of places, and you won't get info about all the places you have mentioned in one book. His "Best of Europe" does cover all of your destinations except Positano.

I think his books are especially good for first-time travelers. They're quite concise and they give a lot of necessary information.

Pegontheroad is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 09:05 PM
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You can buy Rick Steves books at Borders Books, they usually have several in stock - at the store in Brisbane anyway.
skylark is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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I have seen them in Angus & Robertson and Dymocks in Sydney and also in various bookshops in Melbourne - so they would be available on line as well.
prue is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 11:37 PM
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I agree that his books are good for seeing the major sights on a first time trip. I have bought them in Sydney (Dymocks and A&R as Prue said) and also on Amazon as the new editions tend to take a while to get here and the stores might not buy that many copies, so they could sell out.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:17 AM
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I have bought his books and generally found them to be out of date and laden with mistakes. The Lonely Planet "Europe on a Shoestring" covers everything. That is my favorite.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:46 AM
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I note you are doing a cosmos bus tour for part of the trip. You need to consider:

do I want a guide that will provide me with interesting historical background on the places I am visiting?

or do I want a guide that will focus more on logistics and planning, how to get to a museum, its opening hours, how to buy tickets for this bus or that attraction, etc.?


Trying to find a guide for all of Europe which does both will result in your carrying round a thick heavy tome which you'll likely come to hate.

So, before you pick a publisher/writer, pick the style you want.

If you think you need logistical help, then regardless of which publisher you go with, I'd buy one for each country unless you're only spending the equivalent of one or two nights in it.)There just isn't the kind of useful detail in general guides.

Above all, don't wait until you travel to read the guides you have bought, and to make up a crib sheet of notes to consult in a hurry. Photocopying relevant pages will also save you weight and room. Bon voyage.



Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jul 30th, 2006, 02:54 AM
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I have no experience of these books, but the are obviously taken very seriously by some people. In Siena one evening, outside a restaurant there were a group of tourist looking through a Rick Steves guidebook. I overhear "Well, it looks nice, but it cannot be anygood, because it's not in the book".
willit is online now  
Jul 30th, 2006, 08:32 AM
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I like "Europe Thru the Backdoor" alot, but not as a guidebook to take on a trip. More as an overview about traveling in Europe, packing, philsophy and attitude, tricks for getting around and enjoying yourself.

If you need a real guidebook I would look instead to Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Rough Guides, Fodors, Frommers, et al. depending on your style of travel. Go to a library or bookstore and thumb thru a few of these.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Anothr thought: There is so much on the internet - Fodor's readers, as well as Frommers,as well as pages devoted to the sights you will want to see, as well as readers' comments (tripadvisor.com, etc) that if you have the time you can look up the locations you are interested in, cut and paste onto blank pages, then have most of what you want. It takes a bit of time, tho.
Another idea would be to read several of the guides - get them from the library! Copy pages or decide which ones you want to buy, then do as Rick Steves suggests... tear out the relevant pages! Don't carry anything that isn't relevant to where you are going.
Hope you have a great trip!
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Jul 30th, 2006, 01:39 PM
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Does Rick suggest tearing out pages from library books? Arthur Frommer suggests tearing out sections from your own books, which is what I have been doing for 30 years.
hopscotch is offline  
Jul 30th, 2006, 02:31 PM
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Rick Steves is from the Seattle area, and since I've spent most of my adult life there, I know many people who have used his books and gone on tours with his guides.

Rick is great for the first-timers to Europe...When we went for the first time in 2003, we took Europe Through The Back Door --- it's a good primer with excellent travel tips for the budget-minded but non-student traveler. I found his walking tours to be great, and his advice on hotels to be very good. His restaurant advice has been very hit-and-miss. For example, in Paris, I hated the Cafe' du Marche on Rue Cler (and my MIL got food poisoning there), but La Varangue, aka Phillippe's Place in was fabulous for the friendliness, food and good prices.

IMHO if you REALLY don't want to take more than one book, than Europe Through The Back Door is the one to use.

I have tried Lonely Planet and found it too "young" for me since I'm in my 30s...and Fodors is good as well, Frommer's pretty much bites (is bad).

You might also check your local library's travel section. Rick Steves makes a great Travel Skills video & other city videos, along with all the others available, you would educate yourself quite well.

BTW, shameless plug for Fodors, but this place was by far the BEST pre-trip planning tool I've ever used. Just do whatever Ira tells you to.

Happy travels.

Jules
jules4je7 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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Hopscotch -- yes, Rick suggests that you take only what you need of his books...

I did that the first time, but didn't repeat that mistake, as I found I needed more information that wasn't there, and when I'd left behind old books as I traveled, I wished I had them later when I was home -- and trying to look up the hotel address or phone for future use.

Live and learn.

Jules
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Jul 31st, 2006, 03:00 PM
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That's funny -- I was going to say that Cafe du Marche was one of the restaurants that we loved that Rick Steves recommended. I do read his guidebooks, as wells as Frommer's, and any others that I can find in the library, but I agree that this website (and tripadvisor for hotels) is probably the best resource you can find.
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