Americans Boycott Danish B&B After Rude Awakening
We are planning on a vacation to Europe and need a room in Copenhagen for a couple of nights. I sent a message to a B&B you recommend and this is the reply I got. I just thought it was interesting to see how some others in the world see us these days. We responded by declining to use his B&B. We hate to get in a big discussion during a vacation. Note Mr. Frederiksen's PS.
Pray for our troops and country,
Trudi and John
Dear Trudi and John,
I have a double room available for the 2 nights requested, arriving the 27th of August. The price is 500 Danish krowns per night. Please, let me know if you want to book and, if so, also your arrival time. This is important as I don't have a 24 hour reception desk. Once you are here, you get your own keys and can come and go as you like.
P.S.: I'm sorry, but your last request about "praying for your troops and country" I can't fulfill, as I am very much against the US war crimes in Iraq and hate your evil, fascist, hypocrite president. And because of God letting things like that happen, without striking Bush and his criminal gang with a thunderbolt, I don't believe in him either. So your last request is completely impossible for me. I simply can't do it. Sorry.
Editors note: Morten Frederiksen received many emails in response to this exchange on our website. Here is a recent letter from him:
With my email inbox overflowing with support emails, I got curious whatever happened, and one of my supporters could tell me, that my private email to Trudi and John had ended up on a public billboard on your homepage.
I think it's quite OK of you to warn Americans with this kind of (to most Europeans) extremist political view, so that they keep it to themselves, if they don't want to get into political discussions. The great majority of the populations here are against the attack on Iraq. It's only a few of the European leaders that support it, and very much against the will of their own people. So asking people here to pray for these troops or for a country, that runs a concentration camp (Guantanamo), where prisoners are held for unlimited time, under inhuman conditions, without trial, is like waving a red cloth in front of a bull. To many of us, America is no longer the leading star of the free, democratic world. And this has nothing to do with the single american tourist, who (the vast majority) fortunately is a very pleasant experience. I have met Americans, who, immediately on arrival, even started out excusing their governments behaviour, without me getting into that matter, at all.
On the contrary, I assure them that I didn't hold them responsible for any of that, and that they didn't have to do it. We all know that only 50% of the American voters actually vote, and of them only 50% voted for George Bush. And that is only 25% of the Americans. I guess about the same percentage that would support a communist leader if their people had the chance of a free election. But your advice is good and well-meant: If you don't want to get into political discussions here, don't provoke us like that.
All the best to you.
Thank You for Changing Our Lives
I just wanted to write and say thank you for changing my and my husband's life. We are from the Boston area; my family has been here since before the Revolutionary War, while Mark's family is from Italy, Poland, Lebanon. I grew up with Yankee traditions and most of my family's vacations didn't include leaving the New England area. I started watching your shows accidentally on PBS and haven't stopped since. I was so excited by the worlds that you were introducing me to that I wanted to try to take my career, teaching, abroad. I spent months trying to find a job overseas and when that didn't pan out, we opted for a three-week vacation in Europe.
We packed our travel bags (carry on of course) and headed to Rome to begin our vacation. My parents insisted on letting us use weeks from their time share, so we left Rome and headed up to San Vigilio de Marrebe. When we realized we were in the middle of beautiful nowhere (Countries in Europe really aren't as small as the states, are they :), we ditched our three weeks plans made, sat down with your guidebooks to Italy, France, and Germany and a eurail schedule and flew by the seat of our pants. It was the adventure of our lifetime and we came home with unbelievable stories and laughs. In Germany, after planning another reroute, we washed all of our clothes in the sink and hung them out on the porch as it was a beautiful night. Imagine my surprise to be awoken in the middle of the night to loud claps of thunder and the first words out of my mouth to be — oh no — my underwear! The next day we were able to chase down a train to Salzburg only because of our carry on bags. A day trip to Pompeii included a side trip to Naples. My husband is a chef and when invited into a pizza kitchen in Naples was surprised when asked for Hashish. But we were more surprised in Pompeii when we thought that the nice man giving us the tour of the prostitute's home before closing asked us for hashish.
Not only is travel letting me experience new cultures, it is allowing me to
catch up on some history lessons as I fell asleep from 6th-12th grade! But,
Winston Churchill doesn't seem so boring once you have visited his War Rooms
and the Colesseum is really as big as everyone says it is :) As a high school teacher, I can share funny stories with my kids and encourage them to travel as well.
Traveling has been a life changing experience for me. I was always the type-A personality with a 15-minute block planner color coded with highlighters. To think that I spent three weeks in foreign countries, showed up in cities and said "where should we stay tonight?" would have seemed unbelievable a few years ago. Our first night in Europe we spent in Rome. We ran around to the Colosseum, Roman Ruins, etc. took our picture at the top of the Spanish Steps, and sat down to dinner disappointed! "I can't believe all it was were some stairs! What's the big deal?" I said. We were surrounded by culture and couldn't enjoy it. My husband and I both agreed, something didn't feel right. Aha! I said. "We need to just be!" I'm so glad that I remembered this valuable Rick Steve's lesson on our first day. We've had the same philosophy ever since.
In between trips, I am doing some travel writing and have gotten my first
article published online. I love looking over my journals and pictures and
reading history books to prepare for our next trip. It's fabulous to watch
some of your episodes and say, "we were there!" Thank you so much for
showing us the door to this unbelievable life!
A $73 Guidebook
Dear Mr. Steves,
My husband and I returned recently from our first trip to Europe. We were in Madrid, (our son lives there) then picked up a cruise ship in Barcelona and ended the trip in Rome. As we unpacked in Madrid, I realized I had forgotten all our guide and tourist information, most notably our Rome 2005 guidebook where we were going to be truly on our own. I was quite upset and my husband very patient.
So, we had our Rome 2005 book along with various other maps, etc. FedEx'd to Madrid for a mere $73. Therefore, I am quite certain we own the MOST expensive copy of your book and it was worth every cent. It was our constant companion in Rome and proved ever helpful.
Hope you enjoy this travel story as much as we enjoyed our trip and your book.
Mrs. Charlene Robertson