Hi from Rick: My Dutch Sense of Herring

Dear Traveler,

Last month I spent four days in a driving rain in the Netherlands — amazed at the fun I was having. What made it so was being out in the weather with locals. They'd say, "We're from Holland, rain doesn't keep us in!" And I'd say, "Tell me about it, I'm from Seattle."

When I look at this photo (at the Zuiderzeemuseum, an hour north of Amsterdam), I remember how that hot, greasy little fish was part of a big, beautiful ensemble of sensory experiences: huddling around the big old herring steamer and smelling the sea in its fumes; listening to the deep, Dutch accent of the fisherman and feeling grounded in the turf that was reclaimed by the hard work and ingenuity of his forefathers; and then walking with my herring-breath around a centuries-old windmill in action (careful to give the swinging blades a wide berth) to witness the venerable Archimedes screw powering water up from one pond to another higher one.

A trip to Europe is spiced with vivid little moments like these. In this month’s Travel News we can help get you started, with articles on the ins and outs of renting a car, the pleasures of eating in Spain, and the quirks of my favorite oddball museums. You’ll also find a travel forum discussion on when not to say "Ciao!" in Italy, my video on working windmills, and all the skinny on our just-launched early-season 2015 tours (book now and save $100 per seat).

I'll be eating herring with a view of the Zuiderzee again next week — this time with my film crew. Even if it's sunny, we'll have a fun time pulling out the stops to bring a new TV season of great European experiences back home to you.

But you really should visit here first and watch the TV show later. That way the herring-breath won’t be up to your imagination.

Happy travels,

Rick