Rick Steves is a phoney!

Old Jul 14th, 2000, 01:06 PM
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Paris 1993 Saturday: 4 girls bar-hopping, from jazz clubs to cafes until 3am.

Paris 1993 Sunday noon: shopping bag full of MickeyD's burgers and fries brought back to the room, followed by litres of water and Advil. Good as new by, oh, sundown. Little altar and lit candles to Ray Krock.

Old Jul 14th, 2000, 01:43 PM
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Every time I go to a McDonalds overseas they are always backed with locals, (Even at 9:30 PM on a rainy night, in downtown Belfast) so I guess eating there is kind of like a global, pop-culture, culinary experience anyway.
Just a cautionary note to add though, I ate at McDonalds in Vienna *read "Worst Meal I Ever Ate " thread. Got food poisoning so bad I nearly had to go to the hospital. Felt fine before eating it, and even took the chicken meat OFF the bun since I am a vegetarian, but I guess the mayo was tainted. I posted it on this site and right after me another person wrote in to say she also got food poisoning at the Mc D's in Vienna!!!
Old Jul 14th, 2000, 03:50 PM
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Now, what could be better on a hot day than than a cold Coke with ICE CUBES.!
Old Jul 14th, 2000, 04:37 PM
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I second the ice cubes. Getting a drink full of ice on a hot day in Rome was a godsend!! And the fries were not half-bad either!!!
Old Jul 14th, 2000, 05:00 PM
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I am willing to wager that nobody complaining about McEuros here ever found themselves on the business end of a Wimpey burger in the UK before they got bought out by Burger King (now Grand Metropolitan - also British) in the '80s. Anyway, now that Ben & Jerry's is owned by Unilever, thereby completing the UK dominance of the food chain, I say we stop bitching and supersize it, chaps!
Old Jul 16th, 2000, 01:16 PM
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Agree. His Ireland trip sucks and is a rip off. Overpriced.Lousy resturant selections. Dublin area was a zoo!
Old Jul 16th, 2000, 02:45 PM
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You have to admit Rick Steves is one of the biggest dorks that presently walks the earth. I'm always surprised, though, that he pushes so many buttons. He looks pretty harmless to me and a bearer of much good information, no doubt. In other words, I like him alright.

Inaccuracies are another thing and I was a little surprised to hear here that his books contain them.

Let's Go, of couse, is legendary for inaccuracies. Do you know that a couple of weeks ago, this was actually a joke on Saturday Night Live? Ana Gastner was a TV show guest whose husband worked as "a typesetter for Let's Go guidebooks" and she was "writing a book on how to expereince Europe germ-free".

To show you how bad Let's Go is last Feb. I checked a 2000 ed. of Let's Go Germany, Switzerland and Austria out from my library. On the cover it claimed "Now includes Prauge and Bedapest". This info. was nowhere to be found inside the covers. I emailed the website and they emailed me back telling me I could now read the missing info. on their website as compensation. Can you believe that? It has to be one of the worst editing mistakes of the year. Here I thought those Harvard students were so much smarter than we dummies at the state schools. BTW, I still like this guidebook a lot.

Sidetracked a bit from the big dorky one, but still another reminder to us all that we shouldn't just grab these guidebooks and commence to drone...take me to your leader.

Old Jul 16th, 2000, 02:51 PM
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We just returned from a month in Spain, and it was fantastic. I certainly loved the paella, and even tried squid in its black ink, but by the third week, my husband, 16-year-old daughter and I were thrilled to have some American food in a Hard Rock Cafe in Barcelona. And, late one night, instead of tapas, my husband wanted a cheeseburger from Burger King. I don't think these 2 transgressions negate our entire Iberian experience. I think the food break kept us going when we were lagging a bit.
As for Rick Steves, I don't agree with everything he preaches, but he helped give us the courage to do Spain on our own instead of on a tour and it was wonderful. However, my husband hated driving in the cities like Cordoba and Granada--so you really have to consider everything you are getting into when you plan an independent trip.
Old Jul 16th, 2000, 03:15 PM
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Speaking of mistakes Rick makes, he gave the wrong street number for a hotel I stayed at in Rome. It was at the opposite end of the long street where the good-natured taxi driver and I were looking. Fortunately, he got directions from another driver and we were on our way. Thank goodness I wasn't on foot with my luggage.
I agree with the dork comment, much as I've used his books in the past. But he has persuaded many to try independent travel. Odd that his tours are so expensive.
Old Jul 16th, 2000, 11:13 PM
ray seva
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Awww, c'mon people!! Sure...for all of us seasoned travellers, ol' Ricky might be a bit tooo simplistic. But can you imagine the words of wisdom he dispenses to viewers from white-bread American suburbia--you know, the folks who consider Branson Missouri or Las Vegas to be the ultimate exotic trip? Rick's books and TV shows can offer a really good starting point for these "world" travellers. Keep up the good work, Rick...but ditch the Bobby Sherman haircut & those gold-frame quasi-aviator glasses: They look soooo 70's.
Old Jul 17th, 2000, 02:20 AM
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Elvira, I'm down with that MickyD's hangover cure thang! Works a right treat . . .

I think we've reached consensus here that Slick Rick is great for those unconfident sorts of travelers who need major hand-holding.

And let's face it, he's done the rest of us a major service by sending clueless Americans to the 7th arondissement, leaving the hipper areas of Paris Yank-free!

We're surrounded by Americans at home - the *last* thing I want is Americans around me when I'm traveling overseas. Last time in Brugge I saw dozens of the white tennis shoe brigade using Slick Rick's books - guaranteed American immersion! Off the beaten track, yeah right. Slick Rick sucks IMHO.
Old Jul 17th, 2000, 02:54 AM
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I think that Rick means well. I used to like his programs though I can't find them on any of our channels any more. But do I take his travel advice? Not after going to one of his highly recommended restaurants in Paris. I felt like I was in NY with all of the americans around me. To be honest, the last trip that I planned I went to the library to check out his book and found all of the places that he said to go and didn't go to any of them in order to stay away from the tourist crowds. I always think of those poor people in the small town in Italy (the name escapes me but is in Umbria or southern Tuscany) where he tells everyone is a back door. The town with a population of 50, I have heard, is now flooded with tourists. I think that he is responsible for the disappearing of the small and quaint untouristed towns.
Old Jul 17th, 2000, 04:01 AM
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It is interesting that so many people can pan someone that is fairly successful (enough to have books, tapes, tours and a PBS show, etc). Lets face it there isn't a book out that does not have errors, (sorry Fodors), but with everchanging places who could be 100% correct and sell affordable books? Who only uses 1 book without internet research, a second book or fodors forums comments and help? Lets face it all of us independent travelers are responsible in the end for all of our own touring! As far as too many Americans have you really looked at travelers? Everbody is traveling and it is not just the tennis shoed Americans (how about the open toe shoe Japenese visiting the Alps at 30 degrees without jackets and seeing Europe through video cameras, or the cigar smoking spainards?) Yes all stereo typing not seeing everyone else who really blends in or is just out there enjoying their trip. And then there is poor Dawn who doesn't go anywhere Rick talks about? There may not be much of Europe left! It is interesting that panning Rick for some of the reasons mentioned above, is like going to a highly rated movie and someone walks away disappointed because there were too many swear words. They may have missed the value/entertainment of the story and acting because they could not get past the language. Information is there for us to use however we choose, I'm just grateful for the variety of options by travel books so we can avoid the travel agents!
Old Jul 17th, 2000, 05:26 AM
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Rick's latest book "Postcards from Europe" deals extensively with the "Rick Steves" phenomena, and he admits that it is an unsolvable problem.

On a smaller scale, we all commit the same offense here with every post we place here. Either we add to the tourist burden in a a place (and help its touristic infrastructure) - - or we stingily keep our best tips and ideas to ourselves. Each has its downside.

Best wishes,

Old Jul 18th, 2000, 02:53 PM
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Minimal sharing of crucial travel tips on this board helps us out in the short term -- then Fodors checks out our tips for inclusion in their books -- so everyone wins (as long as we indie travelers act on the essential info before the books go into print a year later)!

Rick is so totally the bottom feeder in the travel guide stratosphere. Why oh why oh why oh why would you do the ETBD thing when you could strike out on your own? I agree with the major hand-holding comment.

Keeps the not-our-kind-dear types in Bloomsbury and Victoria and away from the nicer parts, heh heh heh heh heh heh!
Let's hear it for the internet for planning foreign jaunts!
Old Mar 31st, 2001, 07:41 PM
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who knew?!!!
Old Apr 1st, 2001, 04:27 AM
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I am reminded of the time I read an article on Colorado, and the sense residents had of the state becoming overrun with new arrivals. The article stressed that often the loudest dissenters to the increasing population were those who had immigrated to Colorado themselves.

Reading the comments about how RS has 'ruined' certain places in Europe, because they are now too 'touristy' - hmmn, am I the only one to smile and see a touch of irony here?
Old Apr 1st, 2001, 06:00 AM
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do not forget the most important function of burger king or mcDonalds-they have clean,accessable and free wc avaible. especially in prague where there is one on every other block
Old Apr 7th, 2001, 05:47 PM
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Oh, OK I have to weigh in here: I'm getting ready to take my second tour with Rick Steves' company. I am also an independent traveler, but when I'm going to a very new place - this time Turkey - I, as a single woman, feel better going with a group. Next time, I'll be familiar with the customs and territory and I can strike out on my own. Plus, ETBD's groups are small, open-minded non-ugly Americans, for the most part. I would never take a tour with another company. Perhaps some of you would be pleased to know that Steves gives quite a bit of money to Bread for the World, which I, for one think is cool. When I traveled thru France on my own, his guidebook never led me to a bad hotel, and they were all reasonably priced.
Old Apr 8th, 2001, 06:12 AM
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Do you feel if someone comes to America to travel and they eat at an Italian, Chinese, Mexican, etc restaurant that they have not really been a traveler in America. Get a life. Do as you want and leave others alone. You are jealous of what Rick Steves has managed to do, so you are trying to make him look bad. He's very smart and a great assest to travlers.

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