Rick Steves - Ugly American Again!

Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 06:00 AM
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Rick Steves - Ugly American Again!

http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wai...ell-me/archive

Listen to Rick Steves, 'America's most popular travel guide writer' on an NPR talk show this weekend (above link).

And once again Rick to me came across as an Ugly America - the deal was he said Vicenza where his books highly encourage a visit for anyone in this part of Italy near Venice. But he said there was no left-luggage depot in Vincenza, at the station or any place.

So he told local tourist office officials that they either had to come up with some kind of luggage storage or he would delete Vincenza from his Italy guidebook (and probably group tours to boot!)

Rick gave them an ultimato - he did not say what happened and I'd be curious to see if Vincenza is still in his book. anyway this kind of bullying which he seemed very proud about sounded to me like an Ugly American, redolent of his early Back Door Europe guidebooks where he described his method of getting a train compartment all to himself at nigjht - he said he purposely let his socks get so smelly that when he took them off the locals and others all evacuated the compartment, leaving Rick with a private compartment!

Peter Seigel, host then later joked about another city Rick had problems with - Seigel (sp?) saying did you just repeat "VincenzA, Vincenza"?

Well the res of the interview was better - Rick said anyone with limited time in London and doing a day trip to Oggsford should forego it because Cambridge was 'more fun'.

And I applaud Rick for making clear his desire for legalization of pot - saying he was on the Board of Directors for NORML - National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws now for several years (his web site used to say that not sure it does not).

Seigel then asked if some of his readers would boycott his books for that or go on his trip and he said "Europe and our trips would be a lot better off if they stayed at home."

Rick admitted smoking pot in Paris - saying how the blue skies took on a different impression when so...

Anyway I am not a Rick Steves fan nor am I a Rick Steves basher - his guidebooks are too prescriptive for me and his tactic sometimes on the verge of being an Ugly American but for many his books are great and just the kind of guidance they are looking for.

Anyways an interesting interview.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 06:14 AM
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It's interesting that he feels that he has so much pull that he can try and dictate in that manner to the authorities in a foreign city. Sounds like his ego is higher than his socks! The train description also says a lot about his character in that he would purposely inconvenience others to achieve his own ends.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 06:18 AM
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****Rick admitted smoking pot in Paris - saying how the blue skies took on a different impression when so...***
I bet he will not now!
T&Cs
https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/tour-conditions
"No smoking is allowed on the bus, in hotel rooms or during group meals. Smokers may smoke only outdoors and downwind from the group."
Even thinking about banning e-cigarettes:
https://community.ricksteves.com/tra...smoking-policy
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 06:26 AM
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I am sure when Little Rikcy is in Venezia, however he pronounces it, is angry because they don't allow him to drive his Doge there.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 06:30 AM
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https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-rea...adian-paradise

Well Rick's site still is exuberant about Vincena - so there must be baggage storage there now I guess?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 06:55 AM
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Anyone around here remember when certain guidebook companies wanted hotels to PAY THEM to be listed?

The only reason Rick Steves or anybody else "has clout" is pretty simple: because the entities COMPLY.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 07:05 AM
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I've always taken up for Steves on this forum and thought, in light of the source "Wait, wait, don't tell me," that it might have been a tongue in cheek reply to Peter Sagal, but it sure wasn't.

He just should have noted in his review about lack of places to store bags. I think many places quit having storage spaces because of security risks.

That was a real disappointment, carless. Sounded full of himself to me about Vicenza.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 07:09 AM
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Oops, I meant PalenQ, not carless.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 07:29 AM
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<The only reason Rick Steves or anybody else "has clout" is pretty simple: because the entities COMPLY.>
And because followers follow. He is the Robert Parker of travel, and I do not mean that as a compliment.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 07:40 AM
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Interesting discussion. I live in Seattle where Rick Steves has a very serious following and quite a cult status. He has a show on the local NPR station, KUOW, which is quite informative. I have always been conflicted in my opinion. I like how he made travel accessible to people who otherwise would deem it too difficult to plan and too expensive. I despise his TV show on PBS for its lack of depth. I like his merchandise. I like his political positions on being open to the world. He is definitely not afraid to put his opinion out there, so whether I agree with him or not, I respect his courage.

I haven't listened to "Wait wait, don't tell me." One thing I have learned from using his Italy guide book: it is definitely biased, so one may miss out on great adventures if one follows Rick's advice without looking up alternatives.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 07:47 AM
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By the way, it is Peter Sagal.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:02 AM
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Well, he has the right to put in or leave out of his guidebooks what he wishes, and the officials in Vincenza can put in or leave out storage lockers if they wish. That there is a conflict of interest doesn't necessarily mean that either party is being unreasonable.

I don't quite understand PalenQ why you are upset. The people who follow Mr. Steves' books travel by either car or public transportation, and for those who travel by public transportation, not having a place to leave luggage can sometimes really crimp their plans. So Mr. Steves was just indicating that for his market, he generally needs to recommend only places that provide this service. If he can persuade/pressure a locality to better accommodate his readers, there is no harm in his attempting to do so.

Now, the good folks of Vincenza might feel that they would prefer to market tourism to people who will pay for hotels that offer stored luggage service. That's their prerogative. They too have to know their market.

Re Oxford vs Cambridge. Again, it is hardly Mr. Steves' fault that people will insist on a recommendation on one versus the other (think of all the questions here that start, 'Is it worth going to....") and what else can the man do but hazard an opinion. Me, I'd probably tell someone to flip a coin as I've been to both and liked both. But evidently Mr. Steves thought Cambridge was more fun, so that's what he gave as a reason.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:08 AM
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First of all does Little Ricky take his tours to Vicenza or is he just mispronouncing Venezia?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:29 AM
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Rick Steeves is ok, but my favorite was RUDY MAXA who had a show called THE SAVVY TRAVELER - do you remember it? He always stayed at high end places.

There was another show with a perky blond gal who traveled extensively in Europe - forget her name. I loved the way she would show off the digs she stayed in.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:38 AM
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Lateday

I think her last name was Brown. And she stayed at luxurious hotels, even I would be perky if someone was paying for me to stay there.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 08:57 AM
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IMDONEHERE, thank you. Her last name was Brown. Now all we need is her first name. Enjoyed the was she dined solo also - staged, of course, but effective.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 09:06 AM
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I googled it-her first name was Samantha.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 09:12 AM
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Sure but Samantha Brown's shtick was that she only hit up high end places.

Rick Steve's shtick seems to be encouraging the idiots to go abroad. Speaking of which, I need to finish watching that series.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 09:15 AM
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Samantha Brown has written guidebooks that once at least were popular - think cooking and restaurants was its forte.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 09:30 AM
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It IS Vicenza, IMDonehere.

FWIW, his 2013 and 2014 Italy books were at the library. In both, Vicenza is fully covered, however, he writes something like because there's no place to store luggage you might not want to go there. In 2014, he writes that in a pinch TI might stow your bags. It was a bit vague. Does anyone know when he actually "fought" with the Vicenza TI?

Pintxos, "Wait, wait..." is very humorous so I wondered how serious Steves could have been until I listened.

Samantha Brown had twins so stepped back for a while. Some years ago I saw her on a cruise ship show. She said this particular cruise made the old adage "for the newly-weds and the nearly-deads" no longer true.

As much as we argue about Venice (to go or not to go), anyone who can make a good living with travel has to be pretty good.
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