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-   -   Rick Steves is a phoney! (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/rick-steves-is-a-phoney-34084/)

Jay Kay Jay Nov 2nd, 1998 12:43 PM

Rick Steves is a phoney!
 
In the summer of 1997, in Bath, England my wife and I saw Rick Steves, the famous PBS European travel guide, buying a Whopper in Burger King. I have photos to prove it! <BR> <BR>Isn't it ironic that the man who preaches about getting into the local culture as much as possible is just like the rest of us. You have to admit that McDonalds and Burger King are sometimes a welcome sight after a few weeks of foreign food. <BR> <BR>I still love Rick Steves show and books, but I found it quite funny to see him walking into Burger King rather than into a Pub.

Arizona Nov 2nd, 1998 03:15 PM

He's just a young guy from Seattle who found a way to live full time the way we can only dream about part time. He probably has done more good persuading Americans to do the right thing than anyone of his generation. I like his off-hand approach, his plain language, and his thrifty ways. He's a winner, and I salute him...although he's young enough to be my son.

Donna Nov 2nd, 1998 04:25 PM

I admire Rick Steeves for encouraging those who would otherwise be quite timid to go to Europe, and do it on their own and make an adventure of it. I am constantly amused when watching his shows, however. My favorite was the day he was going to take a bicycle tour in Ireland. He rented a bike, then rode to here and there. Suddenly, the bike was gone and he was somewhere else! No mention of how he got there or what he did with the bike!

Bob Brown Nov 2nd, 1998 05:42 PM

Perhaps Rick had to go to the bathroom and was polite enough to buy something as a token of appreciation. <BR> <BR>Recently in Switzerland we needed to stop. We saw a McDonalds and wheeled in. Fortunately it had American type design and facilities. (Much to our relief!!) But the menu was different. <BR>We found what we wanted to drink and continued toward Visp. <BR>

Maira Nov 3rd, 1998 01:48 AM

It would take much more than that for me to lose respect for his work.... maybe if I see him going there again the next day... <BR> <BR>Truth is we all welcome a familiar sight once in a while when abroad. I remembered going to a McDonalds in Prague just to witness the frenzy and the excitement of the Czech kids and teens. Totally cool experience with another perspective of modern life in Prague!

s.fowler Nov 3rd, 1998 04:11 AM

Naaaaahhh... He's just human ;) I also think the title of the original post was a *bit* tongue-in-cheek. I too have relied on the plumbing of McDonald's, especially in Eastern Europe. <BR>

susan Nov 3rd, 1998 06:08 AM

So . . . are you still a "traveler" if you use the restroom at McDonald's but don't actually eat the food?

Tom Nov 3rd, 1998 07:38 AM

Wow, talk about stereotyping ! Does this mean that if I'm in Prague and choose to have a BigMac instead of roast duck and potato dumplings that I have to turn in my "qualified" status as European traveler.Hope not, because the last time I was in France I had a Big Mac and fries...didn't feel the least bit guilty because I was in France and ate the decadent American fast food. Thought it tasted good and was a great break from hgh sauce, high cost food. By the way, I never eat at McDonalds in the US. I sincerely hope that I don't have to fit inot a particular slot to enjoy Europe, i.e. acceptable foods, acceptable clothing, etc.Because if I don't fit someone's criteria, oh well such is life!

Tom Nov 3rd, 1998 07:40 AM

Wow, talk about stereotyping ! Does this mean that if I'm in Prague and choose to have a BigMac instead of roast duck and potato dumplings that I have to turn in my "qualified" status as European traveler.Hope not, because the last time I was in France I had a Big Mac and fries...didn't feel the least bit guilty because I was in France and ate the decadent American fast food. Thought it tasted good and was a great break from hgh sauce, high cost food. By the way, I never eat at McDonalds in the US. I sincerely hope that I don't have to fit inot a particular slot to enjoy Europe, i.e. acceptable foods, acceptable clothing, etc.Because if I don't fit someone's criteria, oh well such is life!

Jay Kay Jay Nov 3rd, 1998 07:42 AM

Yes! The title of this post was totally "tongue in cheek." If you think that I was sterotyping: relax and lighten up. <BR> <BR>The story is absolutely true, but it did not bother me in the slightest. It was pretty funny though. LONG LIVE RICK STEVES! +

Wendy Nov 3rd, 1998 11:29 AM

Actually, in his book Europe through the Back Door he specifically states that a burger and fries are a nice change halfway through your trip. <BR>I think he's a phony because after three decades of travelling to Europe, he still only speaks English. To me, that's Ugly Americanism, against which he preaches.

Fan of RS Nov 3rd, 1998 11:53 AM

Ah, c'mon. Give poor Rick a break. He is frequently shown in his travel segments trying out his pidgeon French or Italian to order or ask directions. He's so very far from an Ugly American that it isn't even funny. But, perhaps the previous post was a jest?!

Maira Nov 3rd, 1998 11:56 AM

Wendy: I have to say on Rick Steves' behalf that I did see one of his shows once where he visited a village in the mountains of Andalucia (southern Spain) and he spoke very fluent Spanish with a local man. It was actually very good Spanish (I should know as it is my main/first language...) <BR> <BR>

Caryn Nov 3rd, 1998 03:54 PM

Sometimes a Whopper is just what you need to hit the spot! It's hot and you know exactly what you're getting. <BR> <BR>I'm a big fan of Rick Steves. I have used his guideboooks and have sometimes doubted what he recommended, but nonetheless, he travels the right way. <BR> <BR>To the other Fan of RS: "pidgeon" Italian are the birds you find in San Marco. FYI, you mean "pidgin."

Joanna Nov 3rd, 1998 08:23 PM

While we don't get Rick's show on TV in Australian (though I don't know about cable as I don't have it), I have seen his books for sale. I think it's a bit mean to complain about him not speaking the foreign languages. After all, if he travels to so many places, which language to learn? And not everyone has a gift for languages. I know I don't, though I try to learn the odd words and phrases before going abroad.

Mel Roberts Nov 4th, 1998 06:11 AM

Nonsense, Rick Steves is not a phoney for eating at a Burger king in the UK. BK is, after all, a British company!

dan Nov 4th, 1998 06:14 AM

I know that Rick butchers the language sometimes on his shows, but I wouldn't be surprised if that is somewhat on purpose. I think Rick likes to show how anyone, even if they are not fluent in the language, can communicate with a few basic phrases. I am sure that he has picked up quite a bit of some languages during his travels, but wouldn't it be a little intimidating to the viewer if Rick gave the impression that you have to have a great command of the local language to get around? He has also published language guides, you know. I don't always agree with some of his recommendations either, but the guy has done a lot for travel and for preparing people to travel with the right attitude. I solute him, and I really, really want his job!!

mustangs81 Nov 4th, 1998 10:18 AM

Do you wonder if Rick is eavesdropping on this thread? Rick was in our city recently for a mini seminar...he was cool in person! <BR>

kam Nov 4th, 1998 11:04 AM

Just returned from France where we stayed with friends and their two teenagers. After 4 days of foie gras, duck, cheeses and everything wonderful, Mom and the two of us returned from an all day trip to Carcassonne. We were exhausted and when she went into the kitchen, I said what we would do in the U.S. would be order pizza to be delivered. THey did--Pizza Hut--very similar to ours and the adults drank good wine with it and the kids were thrilled!! The world's pretty small afterall! <BR>

mo Nov 4th, 1998 12:43 PM

When I'm home, in the US, I usually eat Asian, or Mexican, or Italian, or African---"American" food is seldom on my plate. So when I was in Zurich, and I came across an "American" restaurant, I certainly didn't see it as selling out on the European experience. It was fun seeing a Swiss interpretation of American food---it was like nothing I'd ever had. <BR> <BR>Now I will stop short of MacDonalds or Burger King. If I don't eat that stuff here, why eat it there? But that's just a matter of personal tastes.


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