Rick on Public Radio: 2011
Share your comments about Travel with Rick Steves with other travelers and Rick here. Thanks. Learn more about this new program, where it airs and sign-up to receive news and email updates.
Please do not post questions here. For questions about a specific program or topic, contact Producer Tim Tattan
Christmas in Europe (2005)
Christmas in Europe was such a gift! It filled my heart with joy. I felt as though I was there with every family filmed. And I found myself beaming with a broad smile as the families lit their way home in the snow with torches and a pulled tree on a sled. Lovely! I even made fondue for supper that evening. Thank you! What a wonderful way to say Merry Christmas to so many! Thank you for letting me travel along with you in the comfort of my family room and glow of my Christmas tree.
Des Peres, MO USA Mon 12/26/2011
Hi Just a question, what was the music played at the end of the interview with Steve Inskepp on program 268 on Instant city. Could I get the music information? I loved the sound of it and the interview too. thank you
houston, tx USA Sun 12/04/2011
Dec. 3 interview with Simon re Passenger Ship Travel
Just caught a bit of your program this am, Dec. 3 - you were interviewing Simon who travelled from Liverpool to Montreal in the 1960's [INVALID] it brought back a flood of memories [INVALID] I travelled from Montreal to Portsmouth on the Cunard Liner Carmania about the same time (in the spring of 1967) [INVALID] in a "lower" level cabin in a bunk with the washrooms down the hall (I was 18). We passed the Queen Mary at night in a storm [INVALID] she was lite up like a Xmas tree [INVALID] and turned her lights on and off as we sailed past. Spectacular. An incredible voyage and adventure for an 18 year old young woman. I travelled for 3years [INVALID] through Europe, then by passenger ship to Australia(Italian passenger ship, Gugliamo Marconi) and finally by passenger ship(P&O Canberra) back to Canada. It changed my life. Passenger ship travel was incredible - I miss it. And, you never ever had jet lag! Thanks you so much for this segment. I will find it on line and listen to the whole thing. Thank you Simon for writing about it. I'll look for your book. Patricia
Bakersfield, ca USA Sat 12/03/2011
Please talk a few minutes about why it seems that airplanes are always loaded backwards. People seated in the rear should be allowed to get on first - much less tangle. Thanks.
Opelika, AL USA Sun 11/27/2011
I wanted to be sure Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, Maine, got its due- Jane started to mention it, but conversation turned- Moody's is a Maine staple, with (in my opinion) the best pie- their blueberry, and their strawberry rhubarb, are not to be missed.
Bayfield,, CO USA Sun 11/27/2011
Food Adventures... going casual.
Just returned from a month in east Africa and wanted to mention the evening local food frenzy at the Forodhani Gardens in Stonetown Zanzabar. Just about any sort of freshly caught seafood from spicy lobster to octopus, great samosas, Zanaibar pizza (Roller chapati, bananas and Nutella) all washed down with an Ice cold glass of fresh squeezed sugar cane juice with ginger and lime,. The Best!
Los Angeles, CA USA Sat 11/26/2011
I enjoyed your conversation with the pilot and his comment that flight attendants are under-appreciated. I am frequently annoyed when passengers are grumpy and rude with gate and flight attendants for conditions - like weather- that are totally beyond their control. For the most part staff do the best they can under circumstances that are no picnic for them either. Do the passengers every think that the attendants will be getting home late too? I will definitely send notes of thanks as suggested.
Eagle, ID USA Sat 11/26/2011
One kind of food during the depression was horse meat. My grandparents always talked about this as it was not only less expensive, but evidently, beef meat was hard to come by during this time and into the war years
Seattle, Wa USA Sat 11/26/2011
Actually, for those familiar with the range of Yeats's work and thought, the epitaph poses no real riddle. He viewed the creative imagination as a tension between the objective and subjective faculties of mind (which he referred to as Will and Mask). The idea is that the artist must experience reality as objectively as possible (ie, with a cold eye), but creates art while assuming a persona, a mask. The first two lines of the lines of the epitaph enjoins the reader to appraise the world with the cold, objective eye of the artist. As for the final line, it was customary in epitaphs to ask the passerby to pause to read the testament of the deceased (ie, the epitaph; cf Lord Byron's parody of the convention on the death of Lord Castlereagh). With consummate self-deprecation, as well as supreme self-confidence, Yeats's epitaph tells the passerby, imagined as a horseman, not to bother stopping to lament the death of the poet, but to get on with the hard work of living and creating art.
Seattle, WA USA Sat 11/05/2011
Question about "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"
On the most recent program, a brief segment of the ballad "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" was played. Who performs that particular version? It was quite lovely.
Tulsa, OK USA Fri 11/04/2011
After listening to your show about Malta, I a psyched about going. I had heard briefly about Malta several years ago and it intrigued me. Now, after hearing your show, I plan on going to Malta and Sicily. Thanks Rick! PS Was so glad to run into you a few years back in Positano. Have a picture of us on my desk at work and those who do not know me well think this is a picture of me and my husband!
East Hanover, nj USA Thu 11/03/2011
Ghosts -- bah humbug!
Rick, I truly enjoy your show, and enthusiatically support your insistence that travel makes us better people. But did you HAVE to include the segment on "Haunted Europe" (aired Oct. 30 where I am)? Why do you have to give the woo-artists some legitimacy? Ley lines, ghost fields -- bunk, all of it. You could have at least included a disclaimer that there is not a shred of scientific evidence for any of this. Otherwise, very good show; i especially enjoyed the piece about Malta, a place I've never been.
Columbus, Ohio USA Sun 10/30/2011
I am a recent college grad and had the opportunity to visit Malta last September. Tying to stay alive while driving a stick shift car on the 'wrong side' of the narrow roads was almost as exhilarating as standing on the edge of some of the most beautiful cliffs I have ever seen. We did some cliff jumping, scuba diving, and exploring around the islands. The people were very warm and friendly as well.
Thanks for helping me remember such a wonderful place, I would recommend everyone to visit at least once!
Dallas, TX USA Sat 10/29/2011
Roots in Ireland
I really enjoy the show and I especially loved the segment about looking up roots in Ireland. I have 3 greatx2 grandparents who came over from Ireland but the one whose story I know is a Fallon, Lawrence Fallon and he came over with his family in 1840 (I found the ship's log on Ancestry.com). His father (my greatx3) was also a Lawrence Fallon and his occupation on the log is described as "gentleman" and the family also brought a servent with them. They were from Roscommon. I also think there is a connection with the city of Athlone. Anyway, the greatx2 ended up in New Orleans importing coffee and bananas and had a summer home in MS.
Covington, LA USA Tue 10/25/2011
I was very disappointed to hear your talk on travelling to Malta today. I am Maltese, living in the U.S. and found it very disrespectful that you interviewed an Italian tour guide. We have a population of around 400,000 and the majority of our country speaks English fluently. If I wanted to be informed about the history of the United States, I would not call a Canadian tour guide and ask his opinion on the matter. Not only did the Italian tour guide make inaccurate statements about Malta, but his pronunciation of our language was also incorrect. I ask that next time you give travel tips on a country that you go straight to the source for the correct information.
Oklahoma City, OK USA Sat 10/22/2011
The Best Travel Podcasts Ever
Thank you for hours of listening pleasure and arm chair travel. Please keep up the good work.
Dr Rodney Aguiar
Sohar, Oman Mon 10/17/2011
Traffic deaths in public transit systems
In a recent show you interviewed Carl Hoffman. During the show you guys were saying how horrendously dangerous public transit in the poor countries was. The statistics you gave were in how many thousands were killed. But what that is missing is how many folks were traveling and how far they traveled.
There are three times as many folks in India as in USA, and the Indian road deaths are around three times as high. That makes them very equivalent. Similar with trains.
Here's some web searches I did, ones you guys should have done before saying "danger, danger". http://www.car-accidents.com/country-car-accidents/india-car-accidents-crash.html
Road Traffic Crash Statistics: The India Department of Road Transport and Highway, reports that there are about
406,730 accidents each year with 86,000 people killed! But remember India has the world's second largest
population in the world with 1,169,016,000 people!
http://www.automobileindia.com/automobile-industry/auto-accident.html PERSONS KILLED (IN THOUSANDS) 2004 (Provisional) 92.5
road-safety National Crime Records Bureau reveals. In 2007, 1.14 lakh (114,000) people in India lost their lives in road
Wiki (and others http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1931229.stms) While accident rates are low – 0.55 accidents per million train kilometre, the absolute number of people
killed is high because of the large number of people making use of the network.
http://indiafacts.in/death/accident-deaths-in-india/ 26,111 railway deaths (extrapolated from comma fixing in: "'Un-Natural Accidents' caused 3,34,766 deaths" and
"Railway Accidents and Rail-Road Accidents (7.8%)".
Seattle, WA USA Mon 10/17/2011
Misunderstanding Egalitarianism in France
On the stereotype that French are rude to Americans: My sister and her family live in France, so I have visited there repeatedly with time to wander away from the tourist track. Seems to me that egalitarianism may account for part of what may be misunderstood by Americans as rudeness.
Contrary to the corporate falseness that is forced upon U.S. service workers, French culture emphasizes the completeness of individual personhood. Thus, a waiter expects to be treated with the same amount of respect as a banker. One behaves as a guest in a boutique because it is the shopkeeper's domain. Similarly, one must say Bonjour! and Merci! as the external acknowledgment of respect for egalite.
Ironic that we Yanks have such pride in unalienable rights, but don't recognize an alternate social implementation of those ideals.
Springfield, IL USA Sat 10/01/2011
American nobleman in Prague
What a wonderful program you did with William Lobkowicz! As a graduate student, I feel rather futile in wanting to help him. But Rick, do you have friends that can help spread the Lobkowicz story more and to potential donors? I imagine this would be an inspirational story for the New York Times Travel section, or its Sunday Magazine, for example.
Pasadena, CA USA Fri 09/30/2011
Conversation with Ferenc Máté
I found your conversation with Ferenc Máté to be disingenuous. You and Ferenc, both multi-millionaires, babbling on about the "simple life" and getting back to basics. I'd suggest it's easy to live "simple" when you can afford it. Living simple and living poor have a lot in common except that Ferenc lives "simple" on his Tuscan wine estate by choice, while poor people here in Seattle can't afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Thanks for listening.
Seattle, WA USA Tue 09/27/2011
Paul Theroux and Dervla Murphy
I listened to Rick's interview with Paul Theroux via podcast this morning. A great conversation.
I especially appreciated the mention of Dervla Murphy, an amazing traveler and travel writer. I discovered her before a trip to Laos some years ago, and was totally inspired by her travel accounts, both to Laos and elsewhere. I'm currently reading her account of visiting Madagascar (some years ago). She's helped me be a much (braver) traveler than I would have been otherwise.
Clemson, SC USA Sun 09/18/2011
To Rick Steves - Rick I experienced the same thing as you - I was in Rome, Italy at the time of 9/ll - and I will be on your tour this Monday 12 Sept. - the l4 day Village tour in Italy!! I fly out of Seattle on [INVALID]"9/ll" to Newark, then to Milan on the 12th. I was so sad l0 years ago to see newspapers open everywhere - Italians reading about "us". How could that be? Many more comments I will forward. I look forward to your tour and pray everybody - everywhere will be safe at this vulnerable time. Lana Galbraith
Seattle, WA USA Fri 09/09/2011
Today's show with the Czech/American prince was fascinating. He was incredibly articulate and the show ended altogether too quickly. I hope you'll invite him back for his tips on visiting his country. I want to go there!
Vancouver, WA USA Sun 09/04/2011
Your podcast for the week of Sept. 1st under cheap eats didn't mention that the servings in many restaurants can be huge and sharing even an expensive dinner can make for cheap eating. Just tell the waiter you plan to share and they will bring an extra plate or even divide it between 2 plates. Leave a little extra tip. If you are still hungry you can always order dessert. Maybe this will appeal mainly to seniors but maybe not. Look to see how much is on other diners' plates or note if the menu actually states the size of the steak, etc. Sometimes after we've ordered two dinners and are sorry, we return later and share. I have noticed huge servings recently in British pubs and Greek restaurants. I'm sure this must happen elsewhere.
Ottawa, ON USA Thu 09/01/2011
I worked in the UK for many years and know that salary and cost of living never seem to be on par so you have to be creative with your budgeting to survive and find funds to travel, Here are some of my tips: 1. UK shops like Sainsbury's, Tesco and Co-Op usually mark down their short dated goods from 6 p.m. onwards and they tend to keep them in one are of the store. Scout out the location for shelf stable and chilled reductions and you are set! 2. Stay in hostels where you have access to cooking space and utensils. I like the private rooms in the hostels - great value since I meet so many people that I get great tips from. 3. Go to the University areas of a town/city and watch where the students seem to be eating. Usually budget friendly and vegetarian options. 4. In the UK look for a Weatherspoon pub (they usually have long weird names). This is a chain of pubs in restored, unique locations (like old Opera halls) where the beer and food are decent (not great mind you) but budget friendly. Do not go too late at night (after 9 p.m.) because the locals use this as a watering hole to get ready for the expensive clubs later in the evening. 5. Check out street food stands where you see a lot of locals and near an area to sit down and enjoy your food (like a park or quai). The good vendors tend to get the choice spots because of public support! Tip - eating street food is economical until your company will not reimburse you because you have no receipt! 6. Little cafes linked to the local trade/produce normally have good food for a decent price. Have found some of the best fish dishes at little cafes within the fish market at the docks. 7. Long bench/family seating is usually a good sign because tourists don't frequent these places and they tend to be more local. 8. Ask questions about the food, how it is prepared, where it comes from, etc. I once scored a meal at someone's home because I stood under the kitchen window sniffing and swooning. The lady was so touched that she invited me in to join her. 9. Check for local beer festivals (CaMRA site for UK is best) or Salon de Vin in France because they highlight small producers with products you would not normally get a chance to try and the prices are good. For a nominal fee (less than $10 normally) you get to see locals and try local fare.While at these festivals I ask around for a good place to eat and have never been let down yet. Warning - do the Salon de Vin at the begining of your trip so you can drink the bottles of wine before you leave and avoid having over weight luggage!
University Heights, OH USA Mon 08/29/2011
English in Madrid
About the program aired on Saturday Aug 20th... about the English Conversation trip near Madrid... a clarification: It is NOT true that it was forbidden to learn a foreign language under Franco: I am 51, grew up under his dictatorship and learnt French and English; we could not use our own languages (i.e., Catalan), but a 'foreign' language, sure. Second point, Franco died in 75... there has been time since (36 years) to 'catch up', so we are not 'delayed' (or whatever expression you used in the air). Being on vacation doesn't justify blatant ignorance. Traveling to another country is always best served by learning some of its history.
Lafayette, IN USA Sat 08/20/2011
Inverness Scotland was a favorite stop on the way to the Orkneys. Turns out my family has ties to a manor on the coast of Moray Firth
Norman, OK USA Sat 08/20/2011
SPANISH IMMERSION PROGRAM IN MADRID
What was the name of the Spanish/English program your last caller named in Madrid? Thanks and love your show.
Ojai,, Ca USA Sat 08/20/2011
I listened to a great piece on Italy on 8/14. As a hotel owner I was thrilled to hear the owner of one of Rick's favorite hotels in Rome ask visitors to call the hotel direct and not use internet booking engines. The Roman was right to say that the commissions are detrimental to business but he was wrong to say that you can get better deals at big hotels using the net but not small ones. ANY hotel will do better for guests who contact them directly. We will all gladly give the commission back to the costumer rather than the middlemen! Rick should discuss how the internet travel scheme is hurting ALL travel related businesses and dispel the myth that they have the best deals. It just can't be! Red Mountain Inn
Glenwood Springs, Colora USA Fri 08/19/2011
Interstate 75 road trip
I was just listening to a program with Rick and the author David Hunter, a Canadian who wrote a book called Along Interstate 75. As the author was recounting his favorite places to stop along the interstate, he told of locations in the deep south where locals still believe they are fighting "the war between the states" aka The Civil War. I was disturbed to hear him describe with some affection an unmarked restaurant in one of the southern states that doesn't allow "Yankee's". As Hunter is a Canadian, and Canada supported the Civil War way back when, he and his wife were welcome. As an African American woman there are still places in the south, in 2011, that I would not drive through after dark and heaven forbid I should get a flat tire there. It would seem that David Hunter described just one of these towns. What disturbed me was that neither Rick nor the author acknowledged the sinister flip-side of these backwater locations, that they are racist and potentially dangerous to all those who are not "welcome".
Houston, TX USA Sat 08/06/2011
Polar bear hibernation
Re. Polar Witness: The Last Polar Bear; Penguins on the Brink, Airdate: March 19, 2011, Program 239. Steven Kazlowski talks about waiting for the polar bears to come out of their dens in spring when they wake up from hibernation. Everything else I've read about polar bears says they do not hibernate, per se. Considering his intimate involvement with them, perhaps he should be a little more specific. His photos are stunning, though.
Duarte, CA USA Tue 08/02/2011
It nice to hear a media program on Israel that didn't dwell solely on the conflict with the Palestinians. Yes, there is a difficult and controversial conflict with the Palestinians. But for once, it's nice to hear something about the ordinary lives and views of regular Israelis without over-politicizing things.
Cleveland, OH USA Mon 08/01/2011
Your affectionate review of Israel was very distasteful. Israel was far from "a land without a people" but rather destroyed or dispossessed 542 Arab communities in 1948, establishing itself through ethnic cleansing (Known to the Palestinians as the Nakba - the "catastrophe"). You should be discussing not the Holocaust, which is long past, but the Nakba which remains ongoing.
And the indigenous Palestinians are NOT comparable with "immigrants" since most were expelled by Zionist terrorism and those left continue to live under an oppressive apartheid system denying then basic rights in almost every area of life. About half of historic Palestine live under brutal, suffocating Israeli occupation and inhumane blockade.
The international boycott campaign is strongly opposed to any treatment of Israel as a "normal' country - which your program violated in the eyes of our human rights community.
Springfield, OR USA Sun 07/24/2011
Fish eating customs in Japan
I enjoy the program but today I heard a description of a fish being eaten whilst it was still alive that I found beyond disgusting. The theme was 'when in Rome' and entering into local customs but surely this behaviour is cruel beyond belief and to decline to partake is the only civilized reaction.
Carrollton, GA USA Sun 07/17/2011
Eating a LIVE FISH
I was totally horrified to hear the casual mention yesterday of eating a LIVE FISH. You don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan to recognize the brutality of eating a fellow creature WHILE IT IS STILL ALIVE!
Where's the compassion? Where was the outrage?
There's more to travel than just "when in Rome..." We shouldn't leave our moral values behind when we board the plane.
Vashon Island, WA USA Sun 07/17/2011
I absolutely agree. This was the most insensitive and disturbing program on radio I have every listened to. I fully understand that there are differences in cultures, but there are still limits. What's next, a program on how much you enjoy dining with cannibals?
USA Sun 07/17/2011
Japan eat and meet
I just wanted to thank you for talking about travel and eating in Japan. I love the show but it seems stuck in Europe so I was so happy to hear you've also traveled in Japan. I took my son to Japan last June for three weeks where we basically bummed around spending three days at each stop. In most places we were the only westerners to be seen and had a wonderful time eating and meeting. I have never met friendlier people in my life and we learned to communicate even though we didn't speak the language. We just dived in and had a ball. My 14 year old son tells me he wants to live there. I have to agree. We loved how the mom and pop restaurants displayed there dishes in the window making selection easier even if we had to take mom outside to point out our selection. We experience wonderful exchanges with the school children at temples and shrines and pensioners on the train rides. Next year it's Ireland with my other boy. Thank you for the radio show.
Dayton, Oh USA Sat 07/16/2011
Your program July 16 2011 on NPR about travelling feasts came after a program about Portugal. We have spent 1 winter in Spain and 2 in Portugal so our preference is obvious. We would go to Malaga for Sunday afternoon free bass band concerts and met a group of "expats" from England and other mostly European countries. After the concert we walked with them at their very kind invitation for what seemed miles. They felt a good walk was healthy and a good meal followed. We walked along the ocean front for an hour or more and came to a wonderful place out on a patio. The waiters burst through the kitchen doors hollering the dish on their huge trays and you had to catch them as they wisked by for servings for your table. Mostly fish/crustations/squid sardines roasted on sticks. What an afternoon! Simply spontanious! Simply wonderful. I lost my only child a number of years ago in his 20th year. Few things wake true pation in me now, but that day I was 100% alive. Travel can take us totally out of ourselves. Thanks for the time Luella
Niagara Falls, Ont Can Sat 07/16/2011
Rick, I have trouble supporting your idea that there are good places among the quite dangerous areas of Mexico. Your assertion that the border are to be avoided, though true, is not all inclusive. Until Mexico looses ALL of its tourist dollars, I doubt the government will take the steps necessary to end the carnage that is taking place ALL OVER the country. 20 Dead in Monterrey Mexico: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mexico-violence-20110710,0,1835138.story?track=rss
Santa Barbara, 93101 USA Sun 07/10/2011
Women travelling--or not
I am listening to the interview with a traveller in Africa (a male, 60-something). It is interesting--but the pressing question for me is: "Could a woman travel in Africa the way did this man did? Could you try to ask the people you talk to--men typically (not your fault--men travel and write more)--what they think about the safety/practicality/customs aspects of a woman traveller in the same situation? Thank you. Janina
Houston, TX USA Sat 07/09/2011
Re: travel to the Baltic. Several years ago I travelled with my mother in law, who is Latvian, back to Riga. She and her family fled Latvia when the Russians re-occuppied Lativa. We took the train from Moscow to Riga (yes she was able to visit the former USSR and I was very impressed) and saw the apartment where she grew up with her family. We also visited her former house in the country which had been taken over by the Russians and divided up into tiny apartments. Biruta had not been back to her country since she fled and her first visit was soon after the Russians granted latvia it's independence. When she returned to her house in the country it was dilapidated and torn up. but lo and behold - she found the gold and diamonds and cigarette cases that her father had buried in the back yard (to hide from the Russians) and on my visit we dug up the basement and found bottles of champagne bureid in the 1940s. it was heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. I love Riga and plan to revisit - we took our children (10 years old at the time) and they helped dig in the basement. your wonderful broadcast brought back memories of a wonderful trip.
Carlsbad, CA USA Sat 07/09/2011
More about exploring DC
Rick, I really enjoyed the recent podcast about DC, which was a bit surreal to listen to as I sat at work in my DC office! Hearing an outsider's questions and perspective made me realize how skewed our local view might be.
A few other quick tips for DC tourists:
- When it comes to the Metro, there are 3 things you can do to save yourself a headache. First, try to avoid traveling during rush hours. That time is full of locals at their grumpiest. Second, when on a system escalator, the unwritten rule is "stand on the right, walk on the left." Lastly, many downtown stops are very close together, so don't bother trying to transfer trains if you only have one more stop to go.
- To save a little on dining, check out places that serve "small plates" which are based on the tapas craze. Share a few with your friends and you'll fill up fast. Also be willing to dig into foreign food - the large international population in the area means we have a world of cuisine at your fingertips. One of the most prevalent in town is Ethiopian - and it's fantastic!
- Your guest mentioned the museums, but there are several nature sites that are also free. Try the Botanical Gardens, the National Zoo, and (my favorite) the National Arboretum.
- If you have a car, explore the greater DC area. Your guest mentioned Arlington, and there are a host of other great places to see just outside the DC border.
Cheverly, MD USA Fri 07/08/2011
Rick and Andy Steves/Father and Son
Enjoyed the program with Andy Steves. PS Thanks, Rick, for signing my books when you came to Denver!
CO USA Mon 06/20/2011
Hostels in America
Enjoyed the program with Andy Ricks and hostels. Glad to hear that they don't make you clean any more. But, about American hostels not welcoming Americans, I had a great time sitting in the hot tub watching pelicans at the lighthouse hostel in Santa Cruz, CA and two visits to one at Drake's Bay. Don't forget to ask for the "family rooms" to get more privacy. PS Thanks, Steve, for signing my luggage when you came to Fresno! Come back!
Fresno, CA USA Sun 06/19/2011
Zoos / butterflies
In the segment about zoos, Rick asked Allen Nyhuis about butterfly houses in the U.S. I can recommend the Butterfly Pavilion in the Denver area. See their website: http://www.butterflies.org/
Salem, OR USA Sat 06/11/2011
I lived there first as a student and moved back to work for two years. I did it for the experience; it was intense and charming as your guests say. I also had a couple of close calls with crime. I even heard an assassination take place, as I lived near the Federal police chief who was gunned down in his residence. On the other hand, I walked it end to end, even with two broken arms, and later got a bicycle and rode all over it. I will always remember the amazing weather and bright lavender Jacaranda blooming in the springtime.
Stephenville, TX USA Tue 05/31/2011
Navigating Mexico City
I first visited Mexico City as a lone traveler after spending time on a beach at Zihuatenejo, a village near the concrete tourist trap of Ixtapa. Although I had taken a year of Spanish in high school, I hardly remembered a word before the trip, but it started to come back to me during the trip. By the time I got to Mexico City I got along just fine with help from an English-Spanish dictionary. I stayed at a hotel in La Zona Rosa, the international embassy district. The hotel was later made structurally uninhabitable by a major earthquake, but I stayed there in two separate years. Although I was warned to take only licensed taxis, which could be identified by working rate meters, when I got to the airport I was approached by one of the many unofficial drivers who make their living with tourists. They steer fares to hotels and tourist-oriented where they receive bonuses for bringing a tourist with a pocketbook. One of the tactics you learn is that the taxi driver will always tell you that "there's a convention in town, so (whatever hotel you want to stay in) is full." Be insistent if you have a specific place you want to stay. My taxi driver was a young man, hardly more than a boy, who attached himself firmly to me for the week I was at the hotel he recommended to me. Whenever I left the front door, he was right there ready to take me wherever I wanted to go, and we developed a good relationship over the course of the week for two people who communicated with the help of a well-thumbed dictionary. He took care of me, didn't try to rip me off, and was intensely protective and loyal. At the end of the trip, I gave him my dictionary, and it was only by his puzzled inspection of its pages that I realized that he probably was illiterate. I never felt unsafe in the parts of the city I visited, although I sometimes found that even some taxi drivers wouldn't take a fare to some of the places I wanted to go. A case in point was the San Angel Inn, an excellent and famous restaurant in a centuries-old hacienda. The San Angel at the time was known for taxi drivers and tourists being ripped off by local hoods. On public transit one is advised to keep close hold of any backpacks, and to keep wallets, money and other important papers away from outside pockets - good advice you've heard from Rick many times already, and true in many places around the world from Boston to Bombay. NEVER accept an offer of a shoeshine or any other service without settling on a price first. You may not get the opportunity to say no. This was a learning experience for me. One Sunday, out on a solitary afternoon walk, I was offered a shoeshine, which I accepted nonchalantly, even though I HAD been warned. There was very little human traffic on the Sunday afternoon street. I followed the shiner into an alcove and he went to work with a "very special" (read "expensive") material. A tall man entered the alcove, letting the shiner know he also wanted a shine [INVALID] and incidentally, letting me know that he was around. I started to realize how isolated I really was. When my shoes were finished, the shiner smiled at me and gave me a figure in pesos. Even though I had no other reason to believe I was in trouble, I peeled off the bills for the amount requested. I later calculated that, in dollar exchange, that shine had cost me $50 American. At the time, all I knew is that I had violated the cardinal rule of agreeing on a price beforehand, because after the fact, you're at a distinct disadvantage. The important thing was that I didn't know who the tall guy was, and whether he was waiting outside in event I disputed the value of the work done. I paid and left, and the street was literally vacant. But the sun was shining, and I continued my walk, a bit wiser than before. Never did see the tall guy; must have changed his mind about the shine.
Port Orchard, WA USA Sat 05/28/2011
Lisa Andersen in Italy Interview, May 21
I was just listening to Rick's interview with Lisa Andersen about her cross-cultural marriage to an Italian. Her story sounded so familiar and I realized that she was our guide for the Venice city tour back in 2003. She was relatively newly married, then, and told us a lot of stories about life in Italy. One of my favorites was a story about a custom-made matress and bedroom furniture that they had to get for their new home. I am so glad to hear that things have worked out for her. I still have the little Venetian glass candy that she gave each of us as a parting gift! Lovely trip!
Houston, TX USA Sat 05/21/2011
Following Martin Luther--No Sidewalks!!
We need to think more about pedestrian access. Philadelphia, when I worked there: no walking many places. Also San Francisco. But here on the farm I mow trails in the woods. Walk more. Good health! Beauty everywhere! I love the radio show best of all the things I love about Rick Steves.
Donnellson, Iowa USA Mon 05/09/2011
Relics & Sri Lanka
As I heard it, Peter Manseau described the Buddha's tooth in Candy as the "center of Sri Lankan society" and of "what it means to be Sri Lankan." That denies the existence, or at least the legitimacy, of the 30 percent of Lankans who are Hindu, Christian, or Muslim--something the nation's Buddhist versions of Mullah Omar and Terry Jones are all too glad to do, and to see obliging Westerners do.
Seattle, USA Sat 04/30/2011
Relics & Sri Lanka, corrected
Whoops, that is of course Kandy, not "Candy," in Sri Lanka. What Manseau said pertains to Sinhalese Buddhism.
Seattle, USA Sat 04/30/2011
Simon Winchester program
I did enjoy the show today on the author's experiences of the Atlantic Ocean, but unfortunately in his discussion of cod and atlantic fish resources, he describes the chilean sea bass (Dissostichus eleginoides) fishery as well-managed. This is not the case. This is a long-lived, slow to mature and reproduce fish, which is being fished too heavily with gear which damages deep water habitats. More information can be found on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's website: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx?gid=6.
Miami, FL USA Sun 04/17/2011
First in the Americas
Your first guest from today (April 16th) was speaking about the first people to reach the Americas. It was undeniably people from the Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) civilization. This was from 70,000 years ago. Thor Hyderal (sp) wrote about it and even went on a voyage to the Americas using a reed/papyrus boat.
This continent (the Americas) was named Maanu in the heiroglyphic language called Medu. Maanu means "land of the setting sun."
San Diego, Ca USA Sat 04/16/2011
Your interview with Ken Burns on the Civil War
Your interview with Ken Burns was an excellent addition to the considerable scholarship being generated by the Sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War starting this week with events throughout the country.
Watching Ken Burns' Civil War series the first time it aired opened my eyes and mind to researching and setting up university-based programs on human aspects of the Civil War that were ancillary (yet of equally paramount importance) to the military battles and personalities. Rick, your own emphasis on finding the history of places while planning trips made me dig a little harder to find Civil War related sites in our own Pacific NW backyard.
Even though I live in Oregon, our newly minted state (1859) prospered due to the legacy of the Lincoln Administration and to the huge influx of Civil War Veterans who chose our state to raise their families, make their fortunes and last resting place. We have cities, counties and landmarks with Civil War connections.
Thanks to the inspiration I received from you, Rick and from Ken ; I am part of a group of volunteers who are putting on several special events and free lectures during the 150th Anniversary.
We have a "Fort Sumter Memorial" in downtown Portland which will be the scene of commemoration on April 12, and will hold a candlelight vigil under a famous Lincoln statue on April 14 to honor the 146th Anniversary of the death of Lincoln by the assassin John Wilkes Booth.
Almost 20.000 veterans are buried in Oregon, and during the summer months, special cemetery tours are taking residents and tourists to the gravesites of escaped slaves, Gettysburg veterans and more. Our active Sons of Union Veteran camps put on several battle reenactments at Ft Stevens and other sites in Oregon.
Over the next 4 years we will definitely make the pilgrimage to the actual scenes of battle in the East, but we're also proud and will continue to promote Oregon's close connections and heritage sites to the Civil War that still exist . Keep up the good work!
Portland, Oregon USA Mon 04/11/2011
West and the Civil War
I enjoyed the interview with Ken Burns about the Civil War. Being a westerner, we have had a larger impact on the Civil War than normally perceived, it was was the gold mines of California and the Comstock in Nevada that bankrolled the war. In Oregon, you need to look at the counties Grant, Sherman,Union and Lincoln. The newspaper in my home town in the Northern Mines of the Sierra Nevada, Grass Valley was The Union and so quoted founded for the preservation of the Union
Talent, Oregon USA Sun 04/10/2011
a book for armchair travelers
I'd like to recommend to armchair travelers interested in Mexico City a book (Palace of the Blue Butterfly) being read (podcast) by the author, Jane Rosenthal, at her web site allaboutjanesranch.com. Jane's prose is beautiful, and it's hard to wait a week to hear the next 30-45 minute reading.
Miramonte, CA USA Sat 04/09/2011
We stopped at Gettysburg on the way home to Ohio from the Atlantic coast. The re-enactors were wonderful, particularly a woman playing a resident who described the unspeakable carnage they had to deal with in their own homes. Also, we saw a private display I recommend, a diorama depicting I think Pickett's charge. Standing in the middle of a 360 degree view of the battle with a docent leading us through the various moves, charges...you felt you were there and the hair stands up on your neck. And it's this visit I remember, not the beach.
cleveland hts., oh USA Sat 04/09/2011
Ken Burns and the Civil War
Your interview with Ken Burns was very perceptive. As I listened I was filling a photo album with pictures I took on a visit to the battlefield of Shiloh in Tennessee. My younger daughter and I have visited Shiloh twice. It made a deep impression on her. Near the end of our first visit as we stood by the Bloody Pond she looked very thoughtfully at the still water and the green woods and very quietly said "I can see it, I can really see how it was." I was thrilled. Now a young woman, she has taken the long look back that I know has made clear to her many things about who we are now. I think every child in the United States should have at least one chance to visit Shiloh, Gettysburg, Antietam or one of the other Civil War sites. I think it would do a lot to dispel the unthinking ignorance I see so often.
Dayton, OH USA Sat 04/09/2011
Hi Rick, I recommend a visit to Fort Pulaski near Savannah GA. They do a great tour with musket and cannon demonstations. The earliest known photograph of a baseball game was taken at the fort. In 2010, "The Conspirator" was filming at the fort and in Savannah. The film is just about to be in theatres. Tybee Island would be a wonderful place to stay while you visit the area.
Fort Worth, TX USA Sat 04/09/2011
The traveler Ibn Battuta
On your April 9 show your guest mentioned the 14th century Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta, the greatest traveler of premodern times in terms of the length of his travels and the richness of his narrative. Tim Macintosh-Smith, a wonderful writer, has now published all three volumes of his excellent work on his years following in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta. See also my book: Ross E. Dunn, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth century.
La Mesa, CA USA Sat 04/09/2011
Pickpockets in Geneva
I'm an American expat, been living and working in Amsterdam for the last 6 months. This Friday evening, March 25th, I was in Geneva, Switzerland on a minivacation (going to see CERN, Mont Blanc and a few watch museums,) and had a very entertaining experience with a pickpocket. Not a particularly *good* pickpocket, as I still have everything I went to Geneva with, but it could've turned out otherwise.
One of the tips you mention in is that if it *does* happen, to turn it into a "fun" experience. In this case we turned it into a dance. People say the Lambada is a coded dance, each move having a certain meaning. In this case, after your partner approaches, it starts with a regular handshake. Then, trying to convince you that it's some "cultural" thing, "Hey, we're friends now, let me show you how Brazilians greet you." Which immediately set off alarm bells.
The real dance now begins with a left-handed handshake in a tight grip, which is likely your weak hand. Not his. In this interpretive dance, this means "Wereyou wearing a watch?" which is likely in Geneva. You won't be afterwards, and luckily I wasn't anyway.
You now find how strong this hood's grip is, and we move into the more aggressive part of the dance. You're now standing hip-to-hip, and the next move is to wedge his left leg in between your legs, both to make sure you can't wedge your right hand in, and hook you so he can trip you as he runs with your wallet. I managed to wedge my right hand in beforehand (I do have a wallet in that pocket, but it doesn't have much) and foil that.
Moving on to the left side he'll try the same thing, but my pockets are deep, and that just jammed my cell phone deep down where he couldn't reach it. The final step in this dance is to get into the bulge in your top pocket, which in my case is where my passport is, secured by two zippers and a velcro flap. He tried to get in, I noticed and with my free hand politely zipped back the outside zipper. He realized I was *completely* the wrong mark, and waved goodbye as he walked away into the dark.
Lessons learned? Money belts still work in 2011, but they can't protect everything.
Amsterdam, - USA Mon 03/28/2011
Dog sledding cruel sport
Please look into the cruelty of dog sledding. I'm sure you would not want to support this sport after you find out the facts.
Vacaville, CA USA Mon 03/28/2011
Ethiopia - It is a truly marvelous place. My wife, her father, and I just visited there. Most people (including the US Customs officer upon our return) simply said "Why" when they learned of our travel destination. For us this was a somewhat random choice of destination, but it was informed and encouraged by friends who had traveled there and by what we read.
But we were unprepared for how taken we would be with the country, the landscape, and the beauty, warmth, and generosity of the Ethiopian people. When not overcome by the diesel smoke, the air often seemed filled with a wonderful blend of aromas - frankincense, eucalyptus fires, coffee, goats? The food was delicious - I have to learn how to make cabbage, carrots, and potatoes so delectable.
We traveled to the North - Addis of course; Lalibela; trekking with TESFA on the Meket escarpment (an absolutely amazing experience, and very healthy example of sustainable "eco-tourism". It is run by a non-profit with proceeds benefiting the communities involved. Worth a show in itself! - http://www.community-tourism-ethiopia.com/ ); Gonder; hiking in the Simien Mountains. A much too short two weeks. We need to return, and we need to explore the many Ethiopian restaurants in Portland.
While there I quipped "We have to tell Rick Steves to get over here, if he hasn't already". How apt that our first weekend back in the States my wife should hear the program about the Blue Nile! I will have to listen to the podcast.
Portland, OR USA Sun 03/27/2011
I just watched your video in my German class about Switzerland. It was amazing you do a lovely job!
Novi, MI USA Wed 03/16/2011
I did a solo London trip last year but I was never really alone with my Rick Steve's walking tours! I learned so much and had such a great time! I will be downloading the new App! Thanks, Rick!
San Diego, CA USA Wed 03/09/2011
Traveling as a Single Mother
I don't often get a chance to hear your show, but was thrilled to hear the recent episode with the single mom traveling with her kids. We are a rare breed! I took my kids to Vietnam for seven months when they were just 9 and 14--after another extended visit and three years later, I can say it was definitely the best thing that could have happened to them in regards to helping them see the world differently. Thanks for bringing her on to talk about her travels and how it IS possible. Not always easy, but amazing.
Portland, Oregon USA Tue 03/08/2011
Paul Theroux's Peace Corps
Paul Theroux is exactly correct! Fifty years in and out of Haiti forced me to understand the truth. Congratulations Paul!
coteaux-Haiti / Ft. Lauderdale,, FL USA-Haiti Sun 03/06/2011
Your interview with Paul Theroux was excellent! He is a very intelligent and experienced commentator on the world situation and a wonderful guest for your show, with very good information for travellers. Who is responsible for censoring his comment on trade with China? Was that NPR?
Corvallis, or USA Sun 03/06/2011
Coming back home from far away places
I listened with great interest to your interview of the man Frank? Who was once a Peace corps man in Africa. I related to his conversation so much! He was a Peace corps man in Africa while I was a soldier in the Middle east for a long time courtesy of Her Majesty UK. His comment about peace corps people being unable to talk about their experiences with others who had not been anywhere really hit a chord. It becomes a lonely life that way. You speak the language and know the country. Most of us who really know what is going, Oman,Iran Afghanistan etc on had to learn it the hard way as he said...by being there.In my case I don't even have a forum to go to as most of my Mates are either dead or vanished into the old age gloom. I really like your work. If you get the chance give him my best. Good man.
Tucson, AZ USA Fri 03/04/2011
THE SCENT TRAIL
Your guest needs. unless she already has, read the EMPEROR OF SCENT by Chandler Burr. Excellent book on the science and the politics of scent.
RAOUL A. ORNELAS
BEND, OREGON USA Sun 02/13/2011
Rick, IMHO you should learn a bit about music theory and the physics of sound before making absurd statements like a "C" is two "G"'s or some such. In fact when you double the frequency it raises the pitch an octave which by definition has the same letter name. The frequency of G' is twice that of G. You are correct that G appears soon in the harmonic (overtone) series of C but C is quite a bit further up in G. The tritone also appears in the harmonic series.
As for the tritone (Devil's interval), C and F# sound just fine in a D7 chord featured in any blues in D, G or A. The naked tritone is an acquired taste but in chords it's beautiful and just the ticket if you want to create tension requireing resolution.
Please don't just flap your gums if you don't know your facts.
JW Hanberry, Bachelor of Music
Seattle, wa USA Sat 02/12/2011
Travel In Ireland
I enjoyed your show on Travel in Ireland, which I heard broadcast on 02/05/11. But I found one part of the program of particular interest. One of Rick's guests, when explaining the usual topics covered by Irish Traditional Music, used as an example a song titled "I Wish I Was Back Home in Derry."
The song was presented without attribution, but the song "I Wish I Was Back Home in Derry" was written by Robert Gerard, "Bobby," Sands. Bobby Sands was a member of the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland. He was ultimately imprisoned in HM Maze Prison, and carried out a hunger strike demanding to be treated as a prisoner of war, a political prisoner, rather than as a criminal. He died May 5, 1981, after 66 days of his involvement in the hunger strike. Near the end of his hunger strike, Bobby Sands was elected a Member of Parliament, where he planned to sit with the opposition to the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Thirty years is a long time, but the name Bobby Sands still means something to me, and to many others as well. Some of it is good, and some not so good. But it is hard to think of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland without thinking of him, and of how the world has changed since those days. And it is nice to know there is a place called Public Radio where the politics of those days can be set aside for a while, and where the poetry of a song can be enjoyed and admired.
Seattle, WA USA Sat 02/12/2011
How Travel Changed My Life
Seven days later Nine Eleven was etched in my mind while traveling through France. What a surprise to see French flags at half-mast and wreaths scattered in respect. "You were with us in World War II. We are with you now" they said. They had not forgotten the pain. War's cost indelibly etched in their minds, their soil drenched in blood of a thousand years. German soldiers visiting their cemetery near Normandy, parted with the words "never again." They too knew well the devastation of war. We said they didn't get it. They would not join us in our folly. We were like petulant children, stomping our feet because we could not get our way. We showed them what we thought. We renamed our French fries - Freedom. Unaware, that they did understand our pain - the decision to go to war. We said they didn't get it. But they did.
La Jolla, CA
La Jolla, CA USA Thu 02/10/2011
a long and accurate discussion on trip insurance would be well worthwhile with everything that is happening in the Middle East.
Seattle, WA USA Tue 02/08/2011
I do think that you forgot about the cruelty. Why not tell it how it is so people actually have an informed decision and then they can make it? Just like sea world, zoos etc. Some people are stupid and they need to have it spelled out for them. Yeah it maybe fun to dog sled and the dogs seem to love it....well they do for a while then until they can't perform anymore then there they go.....get slaughtered. So they trust the people, like what they are doing then get disposed of. Let people know the truth and specially on the radio.....people may listen.
Burlington, ON Canada Wed 02/02/2011
Rick, I'm sure your program about Croatia is over. We are 9 hours ahead of you here in Macedonia, so I'm listening, I think, to a rebroadcast. But I'm fascinated by hearing about a country we just traveled to over our Spring break from teaching here in Skopje. So far you haven't mentioned Zadar. This is an amazing town with a perfectly preserved and re-animated old city on a peninsula in the Adriatic. The city walls have been demolished and replaced with a series of green parks so you can walk all the way around the old city on marble pavers right on the edge of the Sea.
At the southwest corner there are two magical works of art. The Sea Organ is a set of organ pipes set up so the waves of the sea provide the bellows. The music is eerie, but never unattractive. And then just a little farther along (but within hearing distance of the music) is the Sun Salutation. In the daytime, it is just a large black circle of solar panels. But at night it is a swirl of ever-changing colors. It was cold when we were there, but there was a girl about 5 years old dancing over and around the colors. That was clearly the proper reaction--but at my age all I could do was walk over it amazed at the motion.
Zadar also has a Roman Forum and lots of old buildings, many of which now have boutiques on the ground floor. I don't know whether it would be as attractive in the summer if it were filled with tourists, but we are planning to take our visiting family there in May, so we may find out. We visited Split and Dubrovnik on our circuit, but Zadar was the most impressive, friendly, and delightful place we stopped. Oh, and the food was extremely good too. We ate one night at the Kornat Restaurant. The food was Mediterranean and world class. And of course Croatian wine is rich, red and wonderful.
If you don't know this place, you should definitely look for it. We stayed
three days and could easily have spent a couple more.
Alameda, CA USA Tue 02/01/2011
Are you aware of the suffering of dogs during the Iditarod? Please respond.
Charleston, SC USA Tue 02/01/2011
Traveling to Rome two years ago and this past summer has made me yearn for an abundance of life so much more in my life. Traveling, when first introduced, is a great love that one might never come to know again. Thanks keeping my great love of Italy and traveling inspired for future trips.
Canton, Ohio USA Sun 01/23/2011
Life-changing aspects of travel
Stumbled on your show recently thru Buffalo station. Subject: the life-changing potential that travel offers. As a retired high school language teacher who has led many student trips to Europe & elsewhere, I can attest to the marvelous positive effects that travel holds for kids. They begin to glory in differences, rather than being suspicious of others. They come back citizens of the world, and are more tolerant of others. It's the best education they can get-companionship, learning about other cultures, sampling food that is not like ours.
Toronto, Ontario Canada Sat 01/22/2011
Rick, I was just listening to your show on Istanbul. How in the HECK did you swallow the date pit and not choke on it????? That reminds me of the episode when you ate RAW saffron in Iran!! The guy who was holding the saffron (for you to appreciate NOT eat) threads just looked at you with a totally bewildered stare. Gosh! Also, that date which was given to you by (?), required A LOT of appreciation. Whether it was actually from the tree that Prophet Mohammad planted or not, that woman was bestowing a HUGE honor on you, as a guest and/or a friend, by offering you THAT fruit. A simple "oh, that tasted good.." doesn't do the job. It's not like you can go to your local Grand Union, Publix, Cubs Food, or Safeway and buy a box of it. She tried to emphasize the significance of the fruit by citing an example non-Moslems may relate to (imagine if you were eating the fruit from a tree Jesus planted), but that just went completely over your head. Still GREAT shows though.
Terra Firma, IA USA Sat 01/15/2011
I think it is absolutely disgusting for you to say that foi gras "is a beautiful thing". Take a look at some videos showing the confinement and force feeding of these animals. Would you want to be treated that way? There is nothing beautiful about foi gras. I have enjoyed listening to your show aevery week on FPL Louisville, but I will never tune in again due to your insensitive and inaccurate statement regarding goose liver. Have a "beautiful" day.
Shelbyville, KY USA Sun 01/09/2011
There is nothing beautiful about ramming a pipe down a duck or goose's mouth and force feeding it three times daily until it's liver is engorged up to 10 times its normal size. The birds have difficulty standing and often die before reaching the slaughter house when their organs rupture.
Aside from this outrageous feeding practice, the birds are kept their entire lives in tiny wire cages or crammed into dark sheds, and suffer the same maladies as factory farm chickens, with infection, broken limbs and stress related behaviors rampant.
There is nothing beautiful about foie gras and talking about it in a positive light is a disservice to public radio.
Dallas, TX USA Sat 01/08/2011
Travel in Vietnam
I was utterly disgusted to hear, in the segment about travel to Vietnam, about the horrific abuse of live animals in restaurants, from cutting them up alive to stripping off their skin before serving them. Offering the still-beating heart of a creature -- I think a snake? -- to a diner is unnecessarily cruel, and to hear the host remarking with approval and interest was repulsive. I listen to the travel show to enjoy information about adventures in other lands, and while unfortunately animal abuse and torture exists in many places in the world, to discuss it with admiration and approval was greatly offensive to me. What's next -- describing violence against women or children in other cultures with relish? Go ahead and do it if you want -- I certainly won't be listening again.
Buffalo, NY USA Sat 01/08/2011
A year and a half ago, we bicycled from Oregon to KY. It was a great trip! While in Farmington, MO, we met Eric and Amaya, from France who were in their 3rd year of biking the world. They are now in Patagonia, having completed year four! See: http://www.worldbiking.info/wordpress/ They'd be great guests! We met other interesting people, including a group of 4 young musicians who were biking cross country, raising $ for Alzheimers while performing at nursing homes. We also met a paraplegic in KY who was biking from the east coast to the west coast pedaling only with his arms.
Florence,, KY USA Sat 01/01/2011