|"So here we were, watching a Spanish band playing an American song, trying to make it Celtic...it was an experience!"|
I wanted to share a comment with Mr. Steves and the rest of your team. I have attended a number of sessions taught by Rick during your all-day travel events in Edmonds, as well as reading a number of his books. One bit of advice he shares that has always stuck with me is to be flexible — and be prepared to go off the typical tourist route — in order to experience the culture. That bit of advice was running through my head when the following occurred:
Last May my wife, our 25-year-old daughter and I travelled to Sevilla, Spain to spend a week with our 21-year-old daughter who was ending her semester studying abroad in Sevilla. The four of us had taken a side trip to Granada for a couple of days, and were returning to Sevilla by bus. It dropped us off just before midnight, and we began the mile-and-a-half walk back to our Sevilla apartment. As we walked, we heard what sounded like amplified live music in the distance. At that point I asked myself, "What would Rick Steves do in this situation?"
I turned to the rest of the family and said, "I know it's the middle of the night, but let's go find out where this music is coming from!"
They were all game, and off we went following the music. We came to a large park that turned out to be the venue for a type of Renaissance Fair. Being Spain, at midnight the place was packed with people visiting various booths containing crafts and food. At the far end of the venue was a stage where the live music was coming from. It was a group of Spanish musicians playing Celtic music.
At this point I need to add that both our daughters have been trained in Irish Dance. In 2004, we'd travelled to Ireland where one competed in the Irish Dance championships — another two-week Rick Steves inspired vacation that resulted in both daughters doing some impromptu dancing in an Irish pub in Doolin.
Back to the story. As the group was coming to the close of their set, they announced that they were going to play an American song that, although not really a Celtic tune, had a similar beat. Then they launched into "Oh Susannah!" So here we were, watching a Spanish band playing an American song, trying to make it Celtic, and singing the American words with very heavy Spanish accents. It was an experience!
During the entire performance a few people directly in front of the stage were dancing and moving to the music. All the while our eldest daughter was tapping her feet to the tunes.
Finally, the group announced its final number. As they began to play, our eldest daughter launched into her Irish dancing and moved directly to in front of the stage. As the band played, she danced, and the rest of the crowd parted into a large circle to watch her dance to the music. When it was all over, the band — AND our daughter — all received a great cheer and applause.
As our daughter joined us and we prepared to leave, two members of the band found us, asked our daughter if she lived locally, and if she could arrange to dance with them at more of their performances. We explained that we were only visiting and that we really enjoyed their music. They wished us well and we headed back to our apartment.
We would not have experienced any of this if I had not asked myself: "What would Rick Steves do in this situation?"
Thank you to everyone at Rick Steves' Europe for helping us to get more out of our vacations.
— Eric in Mount Vernon, WA
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