Hi from Rick: Why I'm a Happy Customer
Our tour bus pulled up a long, rutted driveway to a remote farm. As we stepped out, a dozen eager border collies of all ages scampered to greet us. Then came the shepherd, whom the dogs clearly loved and followed like a messiah. Mr. Neil Ross proceeded to sit us down in a natural little amphitheater in the turf and explain all about his work. With shouts and whistles, each dog followed individual commands and showed an impressive mastery over the sheep.
So here I was, on a crisp morning in the Highlands, being delighted and fascinated by a down-to-earth Scottish experience. I knew I'd take one of our tours this summer. But I didn't decide on which one until pretty late in the season. It may surprise you to know that I chose Scotland not out of love — but because it's a part of Europe I've been the least enthusiastic about.
Don't get me wrong. When it comes to Europe, I'm Mr. Enthusiasm. But everyone has their favorites. Time after time, when I'm not wild about a place, it's really because I don't know enough about it or because I haven't been blessed with good guides to unlock its wonders. It was my hope to affirm that belief with my Scotland experience. And taking this Rick Steves fellow's Best of Scotland tour did exactly that.
By intentionally visiting a region I was weak in, I was steep on the learning curve, so the teaching that our guide shared was all the more interesting. And it helped round-out my overall understanding of Europe beautifully. (It also infected me with a Scottish brogue that may worsen my language barrier in France this month.)
You name it: Poland, Portugal, Sicily, Norway, Croatia... when you travel with a top-notch guide through places lurking in the periphery of your travel dreams, you get turned-on to a place that's been eagerly waiting to do just that. And, when you enjoy the efficiency of a finely-crafted Rick Steves tour, you get maximum experience — like those dozen sheepdogs — out of every minute you're there. As a bonus, when you share a tour with the kind of people we attract, you say your good-nights after that delicious final dinner knowing you've made a gang of wonderful new friends.
As the guy whose business created this tour, you can't imagine how gratifying it was to see how happy each person was on our bus. I'll hop on a tour again next year — I just don't know exactly where yet. Maybe it will be one of our tours that crisscrosses Central and Eastern Europe, featured in this month's Tour News. Check it out, stay tuned, and...