Program 315: Falling in Love with Madrid; Romantic Prague; Travel Kindnesses

Release Date: 02-09-2013

On Air Description

Find out why Madrid and Prague are two of the most romantic cities in Europe on this week's Travel with Rick Steves.  Local tour guides describe outstanding architecture, peaceful gardens, friendly street life, and romantic viewpoints where visitors might find themselves falling in love.

Plus, Rick chats with listeners who share unforgettable encounters from their travels, where the kindness of the locals — even with a language barrier — left a lasting impression.

The world is your valentine, when you travel with Rick Steves. 


  • Federico Garcia Barroso and Javier Menor, tour guides based in Madrid
  • Jana Hronkova, tour guide based in Prague
  • Cameron Hewitt, co-author of the "Rick Steves Eastern Europe" guidebook (Avalon)

Related Links


  • "I grew up in Madrid and went back to study in college. Try to make it to a professional soccer game with Real Madrid. You'll get a good feeling for what Spain is all about!" (Alfonso in Allen, Texas)
  • Fell in love with the city on her first trip to Europe. "The three days I spent on tour in Madrid last summer were absolutely life changing." (Suzanne in Riverside, California)
  • "My husband and I love garden tours. When are the flowering months in Prague? What are the must-see garden and houses?" (Joyce in Bellevue, Washington)
  • "Aside from the top sights, could you tell me the top three experiences that one should have while in Prague?" (Joseph in Indianapolis)
  • "Without a doubt, the most romantic place in all of Europe is St Mark’s Square in Venice in the evening. Get an outdoor table at one of the cafés around the perimeter of the square, order a couple of glasses of wine, and enjoy a night of musical showmanship from the dueling quartets and quintets around the square." (e-mail from Gail in Trabuco Canyon, California)
  • Recommends the evening skyline in Shanghai, China as a romantic setting. "Standing on The Bund with the historical western-style buildings behind you and the super modern Pudong skyline across the river is exhilarating. Splurging on high-end restaurants on the Bund side offers a panoramic view and dazzling lightshow over wine." (Liz in Aston, Pennsylvania)
  • While cat-sitting on Lefkada Island in Greece, describes being rescued from probable drowning by two men, and being given a free contact lens by the local pharmacist to replace her lost glasses. (Sally in Lavelle, Pennsylvania)
  • "Once, on a drive back to the US through the Baja Mexican desert, at 3:00 a.m., I pulled off the Pan-American highway onto a dirt path to sleep in my pickup truck.  In the morning, there was a knock on his window. Fearing I’d be attacked, I panicked. But it was an old Mexican woman with a basket filled with food for breakfast." (J-Bruce, on a sailboat in the Florida Keys)
  • Tells her French classes about an incident when traveling in Alsace to dispel American stereotypes that all French people are rude. "My husband and I were staying in Strasbourg. Setting out from our hotel in search of the city center, we got lost and separated from each other. I spotted him a distance away, speaking with a gentleman. By the time I joined them, the gentleman had summoned his wife, since he spoke mostly German. She said to get in her car, and led us to the spot where we should have turned, and bid us bon voyage." (Marilyn in Uhrichsville, Ohio)
  • Describes the outcome from being assaulted while a 23-year old Peace Corps teacher in Malaysia, and how kind acts by neighbors helped her to heal, and are fondly recalled to this day. (Nancy in Baltimore, Maryland)

Incidental Music

  • Ketama-Diabate-Soto, "Pozo del deseo," Songhai 2 / Hannibal
  • Ketama, "Vengo de borrachera," Duende (collection) / Ellipsis Arts
  • Elementales, "Camino de pan bandito," Duende (collection) / Ellipsis Arts
  • * Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jesús López-Cobos, cond., "'The Neighbor's Dance (Seguidilas)' from 'The Three-Cornered Hat' (Manuel de Falla)," Bella España  (collection) / Telarc
  • Cleveland Quartet, "Quartet No. 12, Op. 96, I-Allegro ma non troppo (Dvorak)," Dvorak: Quartet No. 12 and 14 / Telarc
  • Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, "'Vysehrad (The High Castle)' from 'Má Vlast' (Smetana)," Smetana - Selected Works / X5 Music Group
  • Karel Gott, "Svet je báje?nej kout (What a Wonderful World) (DJ Neo Summer in Prague remix)," DJ Neo Remixes (EP) / Supraphon a.s. (Czech) 
  • The Newstead Trio, "Little Brook (composed by Ping Jin)," Romanza / Prince Productions
  • * Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Dimitry Yablonsky, cond., "Polka in B flat major, B 114 (Op. 53a/1), 'For Prague Students' (Dvorak)," Dvorak: American Suite, Silent Woods, Prague Waltzes / Naxos
  • Christopher Parkening, "Les Barricades Mysterieuses," The Great Recordings / EMI Classics
  • Lucha Villa, "Baja California Sur," El Relampago / Musart-Balboa
  • Ryuichi Sakamato, with David Sylvian, vocal, "Heartbeat (Tainai Kaiki II)," Heartbeat / Virgin

Dated References

  • Javier says at 11:33 you can get a ticket to watch a Real Madrid soccer game at their 80,000 seat stadium for around €50 for most matches.
  • At 13:00 Federico and Javier tell Rick the soccer season is late August through early June, with some non-season games played in summer.
  • Jana says, at 24:17, that the most beautiful building in Prague is the early 20th century Municipal House. Rick notes that tours of the building are available, and Cameron describes hearing a concert there. Jana adds that the elegant French Restaurant is in the front of the Municipal House.
  • At 25:40, Jana says the 20 huge paintings of the Slavic Epic have recently been returned to Prague after being displayed at a rural chateau, and are now exhibited at Veletr┼żní Palace, which is easy to reach by public transit.