“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” Mark Twain
I have this hate love affair with Rick Steves. Rick Steves is the host of Rick Steves Europe on American Public Television and Public Radio. He has published many guide books. On the surface , we have nothing in common.
Rick travels around Europe with a backpack or carry on luggage (which never looks very heavy). He wears relaxed comfortable clothing and sensible footwear. He motors through countrysides finding quaint inns and farmhouses to stay in. He is always looking at something old. He goes to places that we have been to or would like to go to –nothing outrageous or dangerous. If he is shopping , it is in some outdoor market or picturesque shop. He is always using a lot of hand motions to show that he is buying it for himself to eat now. There is nothing that Rick Steves ever buys that I would want. He has perfectly behaved children who eat Sacher Tortes in the Bavarian countryside and don’t get hopped up on sugar. Sometimes they stay with a Czech sitter at the hotel while Rick and his wife go to a medical spa in Karlovy Vary. Rick is the everyman of traveling.
So what is his appeal for me? He makes us feel safe and comfortable in a place we have never been. If Rick has been there or met them, we will be ok.
That is how I ended up having an amazing vacation in Croatia with my kids. I had been trying to go to Croatia for two years. Both my tour and my cruise had been cancelled. I decided to use the internet for the first time to find a tour guide. I found Petar Vlasik . I went to look at his references and there it was –recommended by Rick Steves. I immediately emailed Petar and he immediately emailed back. I had a good feeling and ….Rick Steves liked him. We planned to go to a few places in Croatia – Dubrovnik, Hvar, Split and Cavtat as well as some side trips. . Petar was an amazing charming, knowledgeable, helpful cool guy to organize our trip and take us around . The trip was perfect. We have a friend in Croatia. I highly recommend Petar to all of you when you go to Croatia (and you must). http://www.dubrovnikrivieratours.com Would I have done this without Rick Steves? ( I do now – that is another blog) I like to think I have good intuition but Rick Steves definitely helped.
Which is how I came to watch his shows . We aren’t as different as I would like to think. I realized that I love to travel as much as he does. I love meeting the people in new places as much as he does. I love the old churches and ruins as much as I love the modern buildings and contemporary art. I admire him for making a successful career out of his passion. I love his enthusiasm over a tiny hand made flute or an old French cheese. I feel exactly the same way when I find the perfect bracelet or walk into an amazing five star hotel.