April News from Rick: Greece, Grace and Grappa
|My new Rick Steves Audio Europe app is updated with new audio tours of Athens.|
Our free smartphone app, Rick Steves Audio Europe™, is just a month old and we're adding four new audio walking tours of Athens. Along with a world of interviews, this means we now have 29 audio tours — covering all the essentials in Paris, London, Venice, Florence, Rome and Athens — bringing history, art, and cityscapes to life.
I'm particularly excited to offer these newest tours because Athens presents the sightseer with some serious challenges. Now, the strain and confusion is replaced by fun and meaning. Curious? Download this latest edition of Rick Steves Audio Europe now — for free — and try it out.
Europe for travelers is constantly changing, and in this month's Travel News we take a look at what's new across Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany and Austria for 2011. You'll also read one family's Travel Tale about the unexpected impact audio tours had on their sightseeing, catch some Helpline chatter about our tour program, and learn how you can help fight global hunger and save 20% on a railpass at the same time.
As you read this, I'm in Rome, updating my guidebook and running into lots of happy travelers. I've been here just 48 hours, and the Eternal City is pelting me with experiences.
For centuries, pilgrims have been climbing the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs) on their knees. And for decades I've been watching them. Yesterday, a voice inside me said "do it!" and I tried the climb myself. Knees screaming, weathered faithful struggling up the staircase with me, fresco of a crucified Christ high above, I learned a bit about the value of pain when praying.
Last night, in an entirely different mindset, as I was finishing up a fine meal with a Roman friend, he paused to savor his glass of grappa. I tried my best to enjoy the local fire water, and failed. Sipping the grappa, he instructed me: "You must not be in a hurry when taking a grappa!" He then told me his ultimate joy: having a glass of grappa with a Tuscan cigar on his sailboat halfway to Corsica. (A Cuban cigar tastes better, but on a sailboat "the wind will smoke it for you" — so a slower-smoking Tuscan best completes the scene.)
I'll be reporting all month from Italy on my Facebook page. Join me there, and I promise some fun and vivid insights into my favorite country.
P.S. MP3 and iPod users can download my new Athens audio tours as podcasts; more interviews for the Rick Steves Audio Europe app and a new Android version will arrive later this month; and the new-and-improved second edition of my Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese guidebook — with print versions of the Athens audio tours — just arrived today in our Travel Store.