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A shout out to Rick Steves tour guides!

A lot of us have 2020 travel plans on hold, and the best we can do for the moment is relive a past trip or plan for the next one.

I did my first RS tour last summer and my fantastic guide was Maisie Hitchcock -- she exceeded my high expectations for a RS guide. She was nice, fun, knowledgeable, interesting, and a great teacher. I have identified over a dozen RS tours I'd like to go on, and if Maisie was the guide for each one, that would be fine by me!

Does anyone else have a great guide they'd like to celebrate in this time of no travel?

I don't know if the guides ever go on the forum, but maybe they could use the recognition right now. Maybe if we get this thread going the moderator can pass the compliments on to the guides :)

Posted by
227 posts

Our first RS tour was the Best of South Italy and we were so fortunate to be led by Ann Long. We never thought of ourselves as "tour people" but always enjoyed Rick's PBS shows so thought that we would take the plunge. Well, I have to tell you that Ann changed our mind about that! Having been born and raised in the Midwest she understood Americans and how we think. But she came to Italy to learn the language, met and married her husband and made Italy her home. What a treasure trove of knowledge and bundle of enthusiasm she is! We did a My Way tour with Jodi who just confirmed our image of the RS tours! When we decided to venture out of Europe and visit SE Asia this forum helped us find a company that followed the RS philosophy. On that tour one of our tourmates, Trish brought the RS quality to our adventure. These people have added so much to our travel experiences! Thanks to them all!!

Posted by
630 posts

Francisco Glaria and Federico Barroso are two Spanish guides I have had the great pleasure to know. In these difficult times, my thoughts are on their safety - wishing them well.

Posted by
1833 posts

Well, let's see...Dimitri (very first Family Tour-2008), Alfio (Sicily), Claudia (Portugal-most recent), Anne D.(Scotland), Daniela (Nice), David (Greece), Tom (So. England), Margaret (GAS), Nina (Sicily2), Mary (Southern France), Nygil (Barcelona-Madrid), Peter (Eastern Europe), Robert W (Basque), Susana (South Italy), Roy (London) , Tricia (Villages Italy), Mine (Istanbul), Ben (Russia), Suzanna (Prague), Tina (Adriatic), Marie (Paris). We had a wonderful guide for Villages Turkey and I am sad I can't come up with her names. Yes, a lot of tours and never the same guide twice. Every guide was spectacular. To a person, each is well educated, well qualified, well versed in their country of expertise and beyond capable of herding 24-28 travelers while not making them feel like they are being "herded". Gifted, professional....how many other superlatives can I mention? They each are dedicated to making sure all travelers in their charge are well taken care and go above and beyond to ensure that happens for everybody on their tours. I have made good friends of some of these men and women and take delight is meeting them again at the January reunions in Edmonds. During these trying and difficult times for all of us, I wish them good health and well being. We eagerly awaiting some return to normalcy so we can continue to travel with these extraordinary people and this remarkable company, so adept at hiring only "the BEST".

Posted by
5163 posts

Mert Tanner Best of Istanbul and Donato Chmura Best of Florence. Both stellar!

Posted by
66 posts

Our top 3:
Our Paris guide years ago, Arnaud Servignat, was so fantastic we got him again as our South of France guide.

We loved Dara McCarthy for our Ireland tour and Nigel Howes for Scotland. We did those countries back to back and consider ourselves lucky we had two such incredible guides.

Posted by
3930 posts

Andi, you're a tough act to follow. Let's see: Cecilia (Best of Florence and Best of Rome,) Jennifer (21 Day Best of Europe,) Elisabeth (Best of Paris,) Hans (Best of Belgium and the Netherlands,) Roy (Best of London, Best of South England,) Mari (Best of Sicily Off-Season,) Federico (Barcelona and Madrid,) Donald (Best of Sicily,) Tricia (Village Italy,) Dmitri (21 Day Best of Europe,) Michaelanne (Paris and the Heart of France, and Daniela (Best of Eastern France.)

14 tours, 12 guides. Most of them were outstanding; of the 12 there's only one we wouldn't be delighted to have again. (Well, maybe two.) But we have consistently been impressed the with skill, knowledge, patience, and even passion of the RSE guides.

Our first RS experience was similar to that of Pat; we knew we weren't "tour people," but thought we'd take a tour just to get our feet wet, never having traveled to Europe just for fun, always for work or school. Cecilia changed our minds pretty quickly, showing us how interesting, educational, entertaining, and just plain fun a tour could be. We immediately signed up for another tour, and were delighted to find she was our guide again. A couple of years ago while on the Village Italy tour we saw her again (the tour visits her family's vineyard and winery) and we were delighted that she remembered us.

Posted by
51 posts

Dara Herlihy Best of Ireland! A true Irishman and patriot. We all had a blast with Dara and still keep in touch with him.

Posted by
1868 posts

Kristin, what a lovely gesture!

* Merci to Toni (Loire to the South of France)
* Obrigada to Maria & Raphael (Heart of Portugal)
* sas efcharistó to Colin (Athens & the Heart of Greece)
* Hvala Vam to Marijan (The Best of the Adriatic)
* A special shout out to all the support guides in the cities as well.

So grateful for lifelong memories!

Posted by
335 posts

Virginie (sp?) on the Best of Paris tour. She was absolutely wonderful! She made Paris come alive and you could tell she absolutely loved the city. Thanks to her, Paris will be in my heart forever.

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
6034 posts

Rick seems to have a genius for finding top notch guides.

After our first trip and posting a trip evaluation, noticed that many/most others who had taken the same tour at different times during the year made a comment along the lines of "cannot imagine having a better guide", and everyone named a different guide.

Posted by
762 posts

Kirstin - what a great thread. I have been on 7 RS tours. First one was 2014 - Rozanne Stringer for 14 day best of Ireland. 2016 - Hans de Kiefte( extra guides were nica Johnson and Ben Cameron - 11 day Belgium and Holland. 2017 - Federico Garcia Barroso for 8 day best of barcelona and Madrid. 2018 did back to back tours, lynn corken - 8 day heart of Ireland and James Macletchie for 10 day best of Scotland. 2019 back to back tours again , 7 day London Jeanie Carmichael, then 11 day Paris and heart of France. 2020 was suppose to be 13 villages of south England for my 8th tour but it probably will be cancelled for mid May. All guides have been great and awesome. Think my three favs have been Hans, James and Jeanie. Loved Nica but she is not with RS anymore. I went with my sister for my 1 st tour. Now both Hubs and my self are retired. I got him to go with me to holland Belgium tour. Now he is hooked too on RS tours. We like doing the tours, then tacking along 3-4 days or so for independent travel. This year we were going to stay in England nine more extra days more than usually we stay.

Kim

Posted by
1435 posts

Donald (Heart of Italy) was our introduction to the Rick Steves style. For us, as novices, his ability to respectfully push us into confident independence while touring has made it hard to travel with hand-holding tours. David (Greece) was like a consummate hosting showing you his “home”. Dara (Heart of Ireland) joined his dry sense of humor with introduction to locals whom he clearly knew personally. Julie (Eastern France) covered it all - wine, history, art, and then personal stories of life in France. Our most recent was Tomaso (Best of Southern Italy) who introduced us to the delights of the region.

I wish I could remember the names of all the marvelous local guides.

Posted by
919 posts

Virginie More was our guide for Loire to the South of France. She was my 'Wow' moment of the tour. Every day on the bus she gave us lessons in french culture, language, and everyday life in France. It's our only RS tour so far and I've wondered if we lucked out and got the best guide RS Tours offers or if they're all as good as her.

Posted by
12 posts

Javier who successfully guided us through very trying times in Spain 2-3 weeks ago.

Posted by
1084 posts

Alfio from my Sicily tour was so great. I am still Fbook friends with him. I have been on 7 RS tours and really 5 of them were outstanding.

Posted by
139 posts

We have been on 15 RS tours and every single tour guide was excellent. Only once did we have a repeat on a guide and he was great on both tours. I will not attempt to name every guide as most have already been mentioned. I echo the thought that Rick has a marvelous instinct for picking the people he trusts to show his valuable travelers a great travel experience. Each one has been capable, pleasant, well versed in the culture, language, food and drinks, and everyday life of the location. While many are American or British, others are excellent English speakers. When problems are encountered, the guides have quietly and efficiently "dealt with it" and kept the group together. While on our Sicily trip, my husband had an accident and required a trip to the emergency room. Nina calmly summoned and ambulance and my husband was evacuated to the hospital from an island! When he was stitched and ready to leave, Nina had rejoined us, summoned a taxi back to the hotel, stopped to pick up a prescription, and made sure we were OK before time for bed. My husband, although a little bruised and scabbed, was able to finish the tour with no interruption. By the way, I learned to use Google Translate to communicate with the medical personnel. Never travel without it!

Posted by
16 posts

Tomaso for our Sicilty trip in spring 2019 was outstanding! Our first RS tour, and because of Tomaso, we plan many more. He was wonderful! Barbara and Gordon

Posted by
157 posts

Patrick Vidal (France), Daniela Wedel (Eastern France), Rolinka Bloeming (G.A.S.)

Posted by
213 posts

What a great thread! All the guides we've experienced are wonderful but the best of the best in our humble opinion is Ragen Van Sewell! He was our very first RS tour guide on the 21 day Best of Europe. It was also our first trip to Europe. Ragen made it so fun, entertaining and informational! He was calm, funny, warm and genuinely cared about all of us and it really showed. It was like traveling through Europe with a best friend - but one who takes care of every little detail and knows the lay of the land. We will never forget Ragen and how special he made our first trip! :0). Sending out positive thoughts and wishes that everyone stays safe and healthy. Looking forward to more travels once we are able.

Posted by
943 posts

The tour guides make things special on RS trips. My highest compliments to:

Arnaud (Paris City Tour)
Federico (Barcelona/Madrid)
Alfio (Sicily)
Gillian (Villages of South England)
Patrick (Loire Valley/South of France)
Ann (Village Italy)

Posted by
4855 posts

Thank you to the guides we've had on our tours: Jamie Blair-Gould, Andrea Wolf, Graham Sutherland and Karin Kibby. All were a pleasure to be with. We'll be ready to go again.

Posted by
38 posts

Great thread during the COVID-19 lock-down. We would love to tour with any of our guides again. All knowledgeable, professional, yet approachable and all-around exceptional. So, hubby and I send shout outs to our great guides over the years:

Rome – Lisa A (2006)

Greece – David W (2010)

Best of Spain with Morocco – Nygil M (2012)

Italy in 17 Days – Robin (retired I think) (2015)

Germany – Carlos M and Torbin B (2017)

Portugal - Maria (2018)

South Italy – Nina B (2019)

Sicily – Stephanie B (2019)

Hope to begin traveling again ..... 2021 perhaps!

Posted by
849 posts

Thank you, grazie, merci, dank u wel, blagodarya, danke, obrigada, and ta very much to: Heidi (Rome and Belgium/Holland), Marie (Paris), Rolinka (Heart of France and Belgium/Holland), Reid (Europe), Declan (Ireland), Daniela (GAS), Virginie (South of France), Stefan (Bulgaria), Martin (Scotland and England), Stacy (Rome), and Cristina (Portugal). I hope to travel with you or one of your colleagues again very soon!

Posted by
1 posts

My wife and I would love to go on another Great Britain trip with guide Roy Nicolls before he decides to retire. What a wonderfully calm demeanor, vast store of knowledge he had. A lovely, witty personality. I hope he and his wife are weathering Brexit and Covid-19 just fine. He made our trip special.

Posted by
29 posts

Wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments regarding RS guides expressed here! A special thanks to Torben (GAS) and Sarah S (Best of Italy). You both were truly amazing and I couldn’t resist telling Rick when I ran into him at the LA travel show this past February. You both rock and I hope all is well with you and your families.

@Kristin many thanks for initiating this thread 💛

Posted by
37 posts

Nina B. is one of the greats!! I did Village Italy and Southern Italy with her.
Suzanne is competing with Nina for first place in my opinion. She was our guide on Best of Spain.
Patrick is fabulous. Loire to the South of France and the tour of Paris, the DDay beaches, Mount Saint Michele, etc.
Danae was wonderful.Athens and the Heart of Greece.
I've been on 14 tours and all the guides were excellent, but some are stars!

Posted by
3306 posts

...would love to go on another Great Britain trip with guide Roy Nicolls before he decides to retire...

Ditto! Wonderful individual as well as being extremely knowledgeable. Certainly hope he and Jodi are doing okay and that everything is as "lovely" as can be under the circumstances.

Posted by
1 posts

Stephanie was our guide in Italy and she was so great, I hope she is doing well. Amanda was our Spain guide and she used our cooking class in Barcelona as our first dinner, such a great idea. It broke the ice for everyone and it was like a two for one. We were going to have dinner together anyway and we had such a great experience. Daniela was so much fun on our Christmas market tour. Cecelia gave us such a wonderful experience in Rome, and we got to see her winery on another tour. I hope that Amanda, Stephanie, Cecelia, Daniella and all the other amazing tour guides are doing ok. Thank you all so much and we hope to be in Europe again soon.