|The Manio family in Rome with their invisible friend, Rick.|
My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by taking our son (21) and daughter (15) with us to Italy for two weeks. We flew into Rome from Toronto and travelled by train to Assisi, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Venice and Naples and took the bus to Amalfi via Sorrento. We got Rick's books on all these places and we downloaded Rick's audio tours on Rome, Florence and Venice into our MP3 players. Our first stop was St. Peter's the afternoon we arrived in Rome. With our earbuds in place, we listened to Rick and just followed him and his friend (audio tours host) Lisa along. It felt like we were hanging out with our friends Rick and Lisa in Italy and sharing conversations with them!
Rick provided excellent context by first situating us in the space we were about to discover, and then giving us the history behind what we were about to see. We could also pause the audio tour and pick up exactly where we left off. Because our kids are older, they were able to explore on their own, at their own pace. My husband and I tagged along (at our mature pace!) as we familiarized ourselves with the MP3 play, pause, and stop buttons.
As Rick guides you to the places and the various works of art, you can walk, browse, look up, down, admire and marvel what is being described to you. You don't have to keep referring to your book to look up something. Instead you walk tall, feeling confident and proud because you are in such knowledgeable company. Not only does Rick make you laugh along the way, but he walks with you from the entrance to the exit, and along the way opens up a whole new world of adventure as history comes alive before your eyes, with the relevant soundtrack to go with it. His unpretentious tone and the dialogue style used in his tours make them seem interactive. Instead of a history lecture, you feel like you're listening in to an exciting conversation between two people, kinda like 'a fly in the wall'.
Sometimes we would catch ourselves chuckling along with other tourists, and we knew exactly what each one of us just heard — Rick's funny wisecracks.
My most cherished moments were the many stimulating and engaging discussions we had as a family because of these audio tours. Rick's guidebooks were an excellent resource, but the storytelling embedded in the audio tours was FUN! On train rides, we would discuss all the history stuff we learned, and comment on Rick's many anecdotes.
I am a big FAN, and I am so excited about your new app that brings your walking tours and radio content together. I will be going to Paris this spring with my sister for her 50th birthday, and I already have the Paris and Versailles audio tours downloaded on my iPhone.
With your books, DVD's, and audio tours, you have made intelligent travel achievable for all kinds of people. Thank you, Rick for making travel fun, affordable, and, most of all, meaningful and memorable!
— Ruby in Ontario, Canada
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