Rick Steves' Europe's Best Three Weeks

Feb 16th, 2005, 03:10 PM
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Rick Steves' Europe's Best Three Weeks

I saw this link on the rec.travel.europe newsgroup, followed it, and it split my sides.

If he is serious, he is certainly a fool. If he is not serious, why publish such rubbish?
hopscotch is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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He's catering to a certain audience that considers his opinion gospel truth.

Unfortunately, that audience is very large, so he makes a great deal of money by publishing such nonsense.
Eloise is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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I think Rick has discovered a new way to make (a whole lot more) money. This trip starts in Amsterdam for a reason.

He gets you so stoned that the entire remainder of the trip is in/on a bus, which, in turn, is on a treadmill inside a big circular "virtual" theater. The "Stevesites" THINK they have been to all of these places!

I can't believe he hasn't shoehorned in a night in London on night 21!

Happy travels!

rex is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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It's interesting how the itinerary contradicts his priorities -- London and Paris are regarded as the first two cities to visit, but the 3-week itinerary doesn't include London....

I don't really use Rick Steves guidebooks, but I think that they can have some useful stuff. When I was at Burg Rheinfels, I used his walking tour. It was funny when two other American tourists were using the same tour. They were reading out the script fairly loudly, and I chimed in.

Steves also has his biases. Even though I don't really read his stuff closely, even a cursory look suggests to me that he's very keen on Holland and Germany. He's not keen on Scandinavia. He favors the countryside.

But I still find it interesting to seeing what he has to say -- if nothing else, his itineraries often parallel my own mad rushes from place to place.
111op is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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Hopscotch, what are YOUR best 21 days in Europe?
AisleSeat is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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And by the way, his museum guide books are actually interesting to flip through even though I don't own them. That was one surprise I had.
111op is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:37 PM
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I guess I am one of the few that cannot stand RS. I cannot stand his attitude, his smirking all in the know (he wishes) attitude, his failure to learn any languages after all his trips to Europe, his clothes, his hair cut and on and on and on, LOL.

Whatever he has to say IMHO has absolutely no interest to me.

Once in a great while I go onto his website and read the Graffiti Board. I feel so sorry for the people that think RS is their guru for enjoying Europe.
LoveItaly is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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<<And by the way, his museum guide books are actually interesting to flip through even though I don't own them. That was one surprise I had.>>

see an updated post from on http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34491748
rex is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:46 PM
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I've found his travel books contain a lot of useful info, and the hotel recs have always been good.
I don't believe that one should take his opinion as gospel by any means (he leaves out a lot of my favorite towns that I guess aren't worthy in his opinion), but I don't think that the majority of his material is rubbish.

TexasAggie is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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I checked out his tours one time just to see what he offered and when I found out that you had to climb 100 steps to the hotel in Switzerland...forget which city because my eyes glazed over...well, that was enough for me. My older brother thinks he's a GOD!!!
crefloors is online now  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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His Italy book recommends doing Venice, Florence, and Rome in 5 days total, but allotting 3 days to Siena. Obviously tastes differ.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 04:04 PM
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Several years ago, he was kind of an "aw shucks" guy who was glad to make a living traveling. Now it is more like "I'm Rick Steves and you're not." His self-importance has grown to the degree that now he writes columns in the Seattle Times advising our government on foreign policy and climate change issues. I am not sure that drinking beer in Bavaria or cruising the Rue Cler qualify him, but that's just me.
vedette is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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OH, LoveItaly, put Rick next to Donald Trump... Still feel this way?
FainaAgain is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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LoveItaly, I am with you all the way. I am a total Europhile, and I can't stand Rick Steves. Why is he an American who calls a backpack a rucksack? Is this the closest he comes to communicating in a foreign lagnguage?

I have checked out one of his hotels, and eaten in one of his restaurant recs. The hotel was far, far below any standard of comfort I could bear, and the restaurant was simply horrid.

I find him smug, smarmy and way too sweet for someone that has been laughing at stupid travelers all the way to the bank. The guy just gets on my nerves.

His directions for getting to the Sistine Chapel from the ticket counter at the Vatican Museums are good, I'll give him that.

And how about those vague maps that don't give a faint idea of what is where? How can this possibly align with his concept of back door travel?

Not a fan.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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RS is all a big sham. It is physically impossible for one person to know that many places on the map with any kind of intimacy.
My book sellar's theory is that he just copies out of other guidebooks, which explains why his info is so often out of date, even as it comes of the press.
My own theory is that he hires private guides, takes great notes and then just regurgitates it all back.
Anyone who recommends the rue Cler as a great place to stay in Paris is way too attached to his American roots to give any trustworthy advice on Europe.
Phread is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 06:44 PM
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Some of you need to just relax. This isn't a football game between rivals. A lot of the squabbling is just differences in preferences. His "best" 3 weeks in Europe are his opinion, nothing more. People who look at it and disagree aren't likely to take that advice; others might. If he says town A is worth seeing but not town B, then that's just his opinion.

For example, he recommends seeing Bath, England. I found the town pretty dull compared to the alternatives. On the other hand, had it not been for RS, I never would have found Gimmelwald, Switzerland which is now one of my favorite places on Earth.

However, any objective person would concede that he has a lot of useful tips in his guidebook. Next time you are in Florence and are interested in seeing the Uffizi, are you going to stand in line for 2 hours like an idiot, or are you going to take Steves' advice and call a day in advance for a reservation?

It cracks me up how some people get so worked up over travel authors!

My dad can beat up your dad!
Edward2005 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 06:50 PM
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I am a new traveller. The last time I went to Europe was 25 years ago. Last night I sent a fax to France. I had no idea how to do it. I found the answer in one of the Rick Steves books.

I have used his books as a guideline to different areas to see what I might like. Then I supplement with Green Michelin and Fodors, Lonely Planet and you Fodorites.

I think he is great for beginners like me. There is a lot of basic information in his books.

As far as his whirlwind tour..I think they are silly but he does what the market will bear. I know people who like those kinds of tours. The more cities offerred, the more they think they are getting a bargain. If they didn't sell, they wouldn't be offered. All his tours are not as intense.

Just my opinion.

loisco is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 06:55 PM
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Edward2005: It just might be that some of us are more sophisticated travellers and do not need Rick Steves to tell us to reserve in advance for the Uffizi.

Again, some of us may not like what might almost be an obsession about cheap, cheap, cheap.

Also, some of us may not like the way he has contributed to turning some lovely places, like the Cinque Terre, into overrun tourist traps.

Finally, some of us may feel that his appreciation of Europe and what it has to offer is enough to make us weep -- or laugh.
Eloise is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 07:16 PM
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Eloise, well said! And from the conversations I have had, you have a lot of Italians backing you up in your opinions.
LoveItaly is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 07:28 PM
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Eloise, cheap-cheap-cheap is just one travel philosophy among many, but it is a valid one. All guidebooks and authors have some kind of target market and philosophy. "Let's Go" is all about college kids. RS is more about adult beginners. Fodors is more about experienced adult travelers. Pick the one that fits you best, but that doesn't make all the others intrinsically inferior.

As to the promotion of small towns, what do you expect a travel writer to do when he finds a great undiscovered spot? Keep it to himself?

As for the CT, the Italian government has done its share to promote that region. After all, it wasn't always a national park. And how did all those Germans and Italians who dominate the CT crowds find out about CT, anyway? Do they read RS, too?
Edward2005 is offline  

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