Program 306a: Germany Faux-Pas; Ferenc Máté's Real Life; Becoming a Road Trip Pilgrim

Release Date: 03-22-2014

On Air Description

If texting a phone message is the biggest workout your hands get all day, Ferenc Máté (FAIR-ENZ MAH-tay) wants to talk to you. On this week's Travel with Rick Steves, he shares the rewards of relying on one another, instead of our gadgets.

And Dan Austin describes his journey into becoming a "road trip pilgrim" — how a low-budget bike journey changed his view of the world, and spurred him to do the same for others.

Plus, listeners share teachable moments they encountered while traveling in Germany.

Transform your world, with this week's Travel with Rick Steves.

Notes to Stations

If your station plans to conduct additional fundraising during Travel with Rick Steves, beyond using the fundraising modules we provide, you can contact producer Tim Tattan for suggested cutaway cues during any week's edition of the show. This will give you additional fundraising time, and clean ins and outs, while retaining most of that week's program content.

This is a re-edit of a program which first aired November 10, 2012.


  • Ferenc Máté, author of "A Real Life" (W. W. Norton)
  • Documentary producer Dan Austin, co-founder of the 88 Bikes Project, and author of "True Fans"  (self-published) and "The Road Trip Pilgrim's Guide"  (Mountaineers Books)

Related Links


  • Describes a problem with use of index finger versus thumb to indicate “one” in Germany, when ordering a pastry. (Jennifer in Portland, Oregon)
  • “My friend and I, both blondes in our young 20s, went to Augustiner Bräu in Salzburg and wanted to practice our German. We were supposed to meet a friend there. Several men came up to us and we kept saying to them ‘wir suchen ein Freund.’ We thought we were saying ‘we're looking for our friend’ and when they kept answering ‘We'll be your friend’ we realized our error. (Donna in Dallas)
  • "My modest sister visited a German spa with some friends. She was embarrassed to see people of all ages and body types walking around nude, and was intimidated when she realized she was expected to leave her bathing suit behind when using the spa facilities. She was mortified when the attendant, a cranky, wrinkled lady with no teeth, ran after her screaming, 'trocken! trocken!' Her knowledge of the German language was limited, and she had no idea why she was being singled out, naked in front of God and everyone. Turns out it is mandatory to shower before entering the spa, and she was 'trocken' (dry), much to the disdain of the snarling attendant." (e-mail from Mary in St. Louis)
  • Describes son’s faux pas while participating in a summer high school student exchange program in Kassel, Germany, regarding not throwing away food. His host-mother informed him, "we do not waste anything. We almost starved during the war and afterwards it was only the American soldiers and relief programs that kept starvation away." (Jeff in Easton, Maryland)
  • Describes the potential pitfall of riding on the wrong train car in Germany. (Rick in Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Incidental Music

  • Mito Chamber Orchestra, "'Presto' from 'Death and the Maiden' (String Quartet No 14 in D minor) (Schubert)," Schubert/Mahler: Death And The Maiden / Sony
  • Jack Costanzo, "Inchworm (from 'The Garden of Eden Ballet')," Cocktail Mix vol. 1 - the Bachelor’s Guide to the Galaxy (collection) / Rhino
  • Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, "A Walk in the Black Forest," Going Places / Shout! Factory
  • David Fray, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, "Keyboard Concerto in A: III - Allegro ma non tanto BWV 1055 (J. S. Bach)," J. S. Bach Keyboard Concertos / Virgin Classics
  • Lotte Lenya, "So What," Lotte Lenya Sings Kurt Weill / Sony Classical
  • Country Fair, “Der Froliche Wandersmann,” Oktoberfest / Columbia River Entertainment
  • * Massimo Farao Trio, "Ode to Joy," The Classic Jazz Lounge / Azzurra Music
  • Janos Balint, Imre Kovaks, Budapest Strings, "Carnevale di Venezia, op. 78 (Briccialdi)," Carnevale di Venezia / Capriccio
  • Christopher Parkening, "Simple Gifts," The Great Recordings / EMI Classics
  • Sergio and Odair Assad, "Suite Troileana," Saga Dos Migrantes / Nonesuch
  • Mamou Prairie Band, "Blue Runner," Catch My Hat / Swallow
  • Iris DeMent, "The Way I Should," The Way I Should / Warner Bros.
  • * Philharmonia Virtuosi, "Appalachian Spring Variations on a Shaker Melody ('Simple Gifts')," Out Classics (collection) / BMG Classics
  • Jean-Luc Ponty, "Computer Incantations for World Peace," Individual Choice / Atlantic
  • Mark Isham, "Men Before the Mirror," Vapor Drawings / Windham Hill
  • Lord Invader and the Calypso Orchestra, "Merrily We Roll Along," Children’s Music Collection (collection) / Smithsonian Folkways
  • St. Andrew's Strings (from Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida), "Simple Gifts," Simple Gifts / (self-released)
  • Susan Boyle, “Who I Was Born to Be,” I Dreamed A Dream / Syco Music-Columbia

Dated References

  • Caller Jeff describes an incident, starting at 12:28, in which his son threw away an uneaten sandwich at a July 4th picnic in Germany.
  • At 23:43, Ferenc says he just spent time on an island near Vancouver, BC, and later contrasts his home renovation work there with the stress of a 90-minute drive on I-5 to Seattle.
  • Around 27:15, Ferenc notes that Italy is slowly catching up with US statistics on obesity.
  • At 54:52, Dan Austin explains that his "88 Bikes" project is based on the average cost of US$88 to purchase a bicycle in the developing world. He adds at 55:18 that he's been doing this for five years.
  • Dan notes at 55:45 that Bihar is the poorest and most dangerous state in India.
  • At 56:02 Dan calls Project Asha his "new project."