Program 324a: Journeying with "The People's Guide to Mexico"; Dutch Treats and Eurovision Fever

Release Date: 04-26-2014

On Air Description

The authors of The People's Guide to Mexico recommend how to make your next trip south of the border extra-fun and culturally-rewarding, when you know how to connect with the locals.  And we look into family-friendly cultural treats that you can enjoy in the Netherlands, including Europe's guilty TV pleasure, the annual Eurovision Song Contest. 

Enjoy Mexico and the Netherlands like you're one of the family, on the next Travel with Rick Steves. 

Notes to Stations

This is a re-edit of a program that first aired May 4, 2013.


  • Carl Franz and Lorena Havens, co-authors of The Peoples Guide to Mexico (Avalon Travel)
  • Netherlands-based journalist Jonathan Groubert, co-host of the What's Up Amsterdam podcast

Related Links

  • Carl Franz and Lorena Havens have authored "The People's Guide to Mexico" since 1972. It's now out in its 14th edition. 
  • Wikipedia provides detailed information and photos about the baroque city of Zacatecas, which Lorena says is one of her favorites in Mexico, as well as Topolobampo on the Sea of Cortez, and Guadalajara, where caller Matt and his family vacationed. 
  • The Moon Travel Guides to Mexico include a number of online destination updates.
  • Jonathan Groubert describes his What's Up Amsterdam podcast as a "fast-paced and fun roundup of all the weird and wonderful things happening in the Dutch capital every week."  It's also available at iTunes.  
  • There is a web archive of Jonathan Groubert's former international news program from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, called The State We’re In
  • Wikitravel has a short article on the traditional village of Marken, north of Amsterdam.    
  • Jonathan recommends visiting the Kröller-Müller Museum in National Park The Hoge Veluwe. There are three entrances to the Park; at Otterlo, Hoenderloo, and at Schaarsbergen.  Rick adds the Netherlands Open Air folk museum at Arnhem is another worthwhile attraction nearby.
  • The exhibits at the Netherlands' NEMO Science Museum include interactive activities for children.


  • College Spanish major wants to visit Mexico to practice the language and experience the culture.  "However, I am hesitant to visit because of everything I hear on the news. What areas are safe to visit, but also would not be filled with lots of tourists? I've heard that the resort towns are safe, but I assume there will be lots of English speakers." (Meredith in Chattanooga, Tennessee)
  • Family has just returned "from 9 days in the Guadalajara area. Highlights included Tlaquepaque, Guachimontones, and the Guadalajara Zoo."  Children enjoyed it.   (Matt in Renton, Washington)
  • "My experiences in Mexico have been full of relaxation, historical revelations, beautiful sea life, and internal struggle with thoughts of poverty.  Do native residents despise tourists and their convenient blind eye, or are they grateful for the income that tourism generates?"  (Shelby in Charlottesville, Virginia)
  • Interested in the Netherlands' brews, cheese, art, architecture, biking, and dyking. "To what places off the beaten path should I frame a trip?"   (Syd in Atlanta)
  • "My wife and I are traveling for the first time to the Netherlands soon.  What locations in Amsterdam do you feel best represent 'gezeligheid,' so we can get a true Dutch experience?"  (Matt in Chicago)

Incidental Music

  • Modern Mandolin Quartet, "Redonda," Sampler ‘94 (collection) / Windham Hill
  • Santana, "Oye Como Va," World Hits (collection) / Putumayo
  • Intro to Tish Hinojosa, "Espérete," Destiny's Gate / Warner Brothers
  • Manu Chao, "Malegría," Clandestino / EMI-Ark 21
  • * Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, "Jesusita en Chihuahua," Memorias Musicales de Mariachi (collection) / MCM Mexico-WMI 
  • Manu Chao, "Sono Otro Mundo," La Radiolina / Nacional Records
  • Lucha Villa, "Baja California Sur," El Relampago / Musart-Balboa
  • Ensemble Sonos de México, "Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, 3rd movement (JS Bach)," Esta Tierra Es Tuya /  Sonos de Mexico
  • Christopher Parkening, "'Fugue' from 'Prelude and Fugue No. 4 in E' (M. Castelnuovo-Tedesco)," The Great Recordings, disc 2 / EMI Classics
  • Ricardo Cerda, "Caldo de Mariscos," Te Sigo Esperando / Alianza Records
  • * Los Ultrasonoros,  "Baja," Rebel Burlesque! / Brano Media
  • Joris Teepe, "Going Dutch," Twinz Records
  • Teach-In, "Ding-A-Dong," Europop Masters: Greenpeace / Carinco AG
  • Werner Oh, "Tulpen Uit Amsterdam," Authentic Holland Folk Songs / Legacy Int’l
  • Katrina and the Waves, "Walking on Sunshine," Anthology / Capitol

Dated References

  • In the billboard and intro to segment A, Rick notes we'll be talking about the Eurovision Song Contest, which happens each May, later in the hour.
  • At 7:14, Rick notes that The People's Guide to Mexico "is now out in its 14th edition."   In a reset at 12:30, Rick calls it a "new edition." 
  • At 13:56, Carl estimates that, together, the most-popular tourism locales in Mexico represent  maybe only 5% of the country.  Rick adds that's probably where 95% of American travelers venture in Mexico. 
  • Rick notes at 16:28 that 50,000 people have died due to drug-war violence in Mexico, and Lorena agrees that you avoid the border area at night.  Carl adds that the state of Sinaloa has a reputation for drug war activity, and later notes that a heavy military presence in northern and northwest Mexico confirms the regional nature of the danger, plus incidents in Guerrero and Veracruz.  He also notes that Cancun is probably the most financially successful planned resort community in the world. 
  • In his intro to segment B, Rick remarks that "50 years ago" Carl Franz first ventured to Mexico. 
  • Carl notes there is a significant American and Canadian ex-pat population around Guadalajara at 31:30, but that it's a major city that doesn't get a lot of tourism.   He adds that Americans are known as the most generous tippers in Mexico, at 33:30. 
  • Carl notes at 34:50 that he read an article in a Mexican newspaper that reveals that promotional materials for Cancun leave out references to it being in Mexico. 
  • In the open to segment C, Rick mentions that the Eurovision Song Contest "is gearing up from Copenhagen, Denmark (the 2014 location), with semifinals on May 6 and 8, finals on May 10."  At 46:00, Jonathan adds that the Eurovision content is held "at some point in late Spring every year."   
  • Rick tells Jonathan at 52:04 that he "was just driving over the huge dyke system at the Rhine Delta."  Jonathan replies that there hasn't yet been a strong impact of global warming on the Netherlands, but that construction enhancements and reflooding some reclaimed land are measures that anticipate the threat of a rising sea level.