If you've enjoyed my TV shows over the years, you may have noticed that I'm always traveling with someone I introduce as "my friend and fellow tour guide" — just about everywhere in Europe. Most of those friends lead our Rick Steves' Europe tours. And one of the greatest joys of our tour program is the chance for people like you to enjoy those same friendships. When a tour is finished, our travelers and our guides bid each other farewell as kindred spirits with a newly stoked appreciation for the rich culture and natural wonders of Europe.
Of course, until we conquer this virus and are able to celebrate the joys of travel together again, we are nurturing a skill that is not an American forté: patience. If you miss being in contact with your favorite tour guides, we've come up with a solution: Our Rick Steves Guides' Marketplace. This is a fun shared space for virtual travel…a perfect opportunity to enjoy a little travel dreaming and learn a bit from the road at the same time.
For some armchair travel with a dynamic tour guide, check out our featured travel blogs: Carlos and Torben co-writing from Berlin, Helen from Scotland, Sašo and Tina from Slovenia, Stefan from Bulgaria, Pål from Norway, and many others. Some of these are video blogs, allowing you to feel even more connected to post-coronavirus Europe.
For Canadians and others lucky enough to visit Europe, many of our guides are already offering tours of their towns, cities, and regions. And until Americans are considered safe enough to be welcome in Europe, these guides are serving up an intriguing array of virtual travel experiences: Dafni offers Greek language and cooking lessons. David from Orvieto is sharing his music and giving lectures on Italian culture. Declan, an Irish artist in France, shares his creativity. Federico gives virtual tours of Madrid's museums. Francesco from Verona offers online wine tastings. Stacy, an artist in Venice, is selling her art. Rafael gives online classes in Portuguese culture. Véronique in Paris offers French language lessons and virtual tours. James shares his inspiring photography from Scotland's Outer Hebrides islands. And that's just for starters.
While we've canceled all of our 2020 tours, we're aiming for 2021 — and we hope you are, too. Until then, we're encouraging our American travelers to be committed and diligent about reining in this virus.
And in the meantime, this month's Tour News can help you dream up those future travels: Discover the intimate magic of small-town Italy with a colorful slideshow of our Village Italy tour; take a trip to the salty, seaside Scottish town of Oban; and check out my newest book, For the Love of Europe — a collection of 100 of my favorite memories from a lifetime of travel. And if you'd like to pretend you're in Europe, we have a whole host of fun Zoom backgrounds to use on your next video call.
As we all do our part by social distancing, masking up, and staying close to home, we hope you can enjoy a little vicarious travel with our wonderful guides as they also patiently await the day when we'll all be reunited, touring together again.
Happy (virtual) travels — with the help of our Guides' Marketplace.