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A different kind of Rick Steves

I recently discovered his travel talks series. When he was starting out, Rick said he would go and give slide shows anyplace that would have him (and sell his books). He is very good at this and I've been watching his talks about the various parts of Italy. He stands on a stage with slides and talks for about 30-40 minutes and, frankly, it's almost more useful than his shows. I learned more about Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome from his talks than from any of his episodes. They're a bit hard to find on a Roku, but easy to search for on a computer or tablet and then transfer. Try one and see. The only caveat is, they seem to be 5 to 10 years old but hey, it's not like Sistine Chapel has changed (but things like hours and prices will).

His cohort Steve Smith handles the shows for France, obviously he knows his stuff since he lives there but he's not as good a performer as Rick.

Posted by
1641 posts

I have a feeling these are from the travel festivals he used to do at his hometown. I went to one of them and it was a lot of fun.

Posted by
4136 posts

Seeing your posting title, phred, I was half-expecting to read about a travel guru suggesting staying in the most-expensive hotel in town, eating every meal there, and trying to check off as many cities, in as many countries as possible, on a trip. Joining a huge tour group being optional.

But those talks have to be excellent.

My one live Rick talk was back in 2001, a couple months after 9/11, when he was encouraging Americans to still travel - except not to Morocco right at the moment. It was just him on the stage in Denver, with a slide projector that he personally set up out in the audience. He’d also set up a couple of tables in front of the stage, on which he’d laid out a variety of his books, and several folks had perused the tables prior to Rick’s talk. But when he took the stage, he started off saying that the books had disappeared, and were a display of samples, not freebies for the taking. He asked that anyone who’d picked up a book please return it. I hope he got them all back - he was headed to another town for another talk the next day.

Posted by
340 posts

I had the good fortune to attend one of his talks in Tampa in February 2020. So glad I got to see him before the pandemic. He was very engaging and fun. Lots of good travel tips.

Posted by
7964 posts

Yes, most of the ones I looked at from Carrie's link are from various Travel Festivals/Tour Reunions. Those were the days!

Like Carol, I attended a couple of them and they were fun. Yes, you definitely wanted to book every tour offered, lol!! He is a very good presenter (as are all the guides).

Posted by
6204 posts

One nice thing when watching them from this website rather than a streaming service is that many of them have downloadable "handouts" that include maps and the itinerary of the places he will talk about. I find them very handy.

Posted by
1624 posts

I'll be honest. I'd love to hang out with RS, smoking some weed, having a few drinks, and listening to some music like the Beatles. I know he is a fan of British Invasion music.

Posted by
4136 posts

While Rick undoubtedly listened to The Fab Four, Dave Clark Five, Gerry and the Pacemakers (sad to note the passing of Gerry Marsden earlier this month), Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, et. al., he undoubtedly also listened to The Doors. Rick’s the original Back Door Man.

Posted by
11450 posts

Many years ago he gave a talk in my city , I went and quite enjoyed it -some was quite basic as I recall ( travel tips for newbies mostly ) but he talks well and his anecdotes are interesting and thoughtful .

Posted by
2447 posts

Living 15 min. from the RS Travel Center, I am missing the yearly Travel Reunions, RS talks, classes and just hanging out using the complimentary library. Just recalled that the last Reunion I attended was 1/25/20. Many of my travel tips started with RS talks. One that stands out is "Traveling as a Political Act." It reminds me of Mark Twain, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness."