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Rick Steves' Postcards from Europe

Rick Steves' Postcards from Europe Rick Steves'
Postcards from Europe
by Rick Steves
Paperback, 263 pp.
John Muir, 1999
US $16.95, CAN $26.00
ISBN 1562613979

Book Review

Rick Steves' Postcards from Europe is subtitled "25 years of travel tales from America's favorite guidebook writer." In truth, the book is much more than that. It's really three stories woven seamlessly into one narrative:

  • An account of one recent summer trip through Europe. The reader accompanies Rick Steves as he visits places featured in his guidebooks, shares anecotes and experiences with European friends, and has conversations with fans who recognize him from his TV shows. (The daytime visit to a drive-through brothel is an eye-opener--and no, Rick Steves didn't inspect the merchandise.)
  • Flashbacks to Rick Steves' early years as a student traveler and tour guide, including a summer when he and his travel companion were so pinched for pennies that they occasionally dined off the charity of locals and fellow American tourists.
  • Reflections on today's European travel industry, including tour scams and the question of how a successful guidebook author can write about "backdoor Europe" without destroying the qualities that make a seldom-visited town or village appealing.

As you might expect of a book written by TV's best-known travel host, Postcards from Europe is jammed with personal observations, lively anecdotes, and experiences that translate into practical advice for the reader. It may be the most readable armchair travel narrative of 1999, and I recommend it to anyone who's interested in European travel.

For sample passages from the book and related Web links, see pages 2 and 3.

Next Page > Spoiling the unspoiled? > Page 1, 2, 3

In this review:
Introduction Excerpts More excerpts, Web links