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Running Into Rick

I've been meaning to post this since I returned from Europe two weeks ago. Like so many on this site, I'm a huge Rick Steves fan. I've grown up watching the show on PBS, I listen to the podcast religiously and treat his guidebooks as gospel when planning my European vacations. As long as I can remember I've been passionate about travel, and in no small part, that's due to Rick's work.

So, you can imagine my total surprise and excitement last month when I happened to run into Rick while strolling the Harbor of Honfleur with my wife! I know lots of folks probably meet Rick at lectures, book signings, travel tradeshows, etc., but there was just something incredible about meeting one of my personal heros - at random - in FRANCE! And, the cherry on top was that he was with Steve Smith! I might have freaked out just a little....

They were both so kind to stop and chat with my wife and me for several minutes and even took a quick photo with us. It was a highlight in a trip full of amazing moments and it's something I will remember forever.

So, that's not your typical trip report, but I thought it was neat and wanted to share.

Happy Travels!

Posted by
14 posts

Same thing happened to me some years ago in Edinburgh Scotland. We were staying at a Rick-ommended B&B, went to walk the "Royal Mile" downtown the next day and...there he was, filming a segment for the TV show...decided not to bug him...he was working...but years later I had him on MY radio show (I used to be a dirtbag rock and roll disc jockey in Seattle...not far from Steves HQ)) and mentioned it, and he said he LOVES meeting people using his books when they're using them!

Posted by
670 posts

Jordan, that is so cool!!!! I've been to a couple of his talks when he's come to Denver, but actually seeing him while on vacation would be the best. What a great memory!

Posted by
214 posts

I saw Rick at a David Sedaris reading. It was like my podcasts had come to life.

My daughter made me go up and say hello and he was so interested in hearing about my experiences on the Best of Italy tour. Asked me lots of questions and really wanted to know if I'd enjoyed the guide, the hotels etc

A really nice guy.

Posted by
1821 posts

Got an autographed at a book signing. Missed by a week at our hotel five years ago and by one night at a restaurant in Siena last year, my wife ( who happens to meet many celebrities through work) was extremely disappointed to have missed him.

Posted by
7205 posts

Can you imagine being recognized everywhere you go and people stopping you and wanting to talk or have autographs or photos? I think it would drive me insane after a while.

Posted by
100 posts

How exciting! I also ran into Rick hiking the Cinque Terre trail over a decade ago. It is wonderful to see him as "a tourist" in places he writes about!

Posted by
671 posts

My family happened to be seated next to Rick and Simon (producer) in the small breakfast room at one of his recommended hotels in London in the late 1990s. We exchanged one sentence of pleasantries, and that was about it, even after our 6-yr-old daughter told Rick "My daddy loves you" (actually, l loved his shows, but not him). I recall that Simon just grunted, stared at his food, and continued eating. That day, Rick was far from the bubbly personality that I had seen on tv. Maybe he and Simon were hung over.

Posted by
282 posts

That is so cool! I live in Rick's hometown and we saw him out and about this weekend. Needless to say, I was a bit starstruck! Seeing him in Europe would be the coolest--I've always thought he'd be a fascinating person to have a drink with. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by
34 posts

My wife and I were taking in some wine in Bacharach, Germany 2 years ago. Her back was to where he was walking and I said, essentially, there's Rick Steves! She called my bluff until she saw his pretty recognizable stroll. We met up with him a few blocks up as we were both scouting for a good beer spot. Nice guy, though I did not ask for a photo.

Posted by
5262 posts

I met him a few years back in the security line at SeaTac, he was a few places behind us. As we were putting our shoes back on I asked if he had any tips or tricks for the TSA process, alas he had none. I thanked him for the work he does, we've been to Europe several times with his help. Friendly enough but he wasn't eager to talk, understandably. He recommended his new season on PBS.

Since then I joined Global Entry, which lets me keep my shoes on. So less chance of random encounters with shoeless celebrities. They must be relieved! ;-)

Posted by
244 posts

We were in Venice on a gondola and guess who was in the gondola next to us! Yep, Rick. We had taken his advice to enjoy an evening gondola ride. Perfect way to run into Rick!

Posted by
21720 posts

Mine was not nearly as exciting. Many years ago I was in the Omaha airport returning from an Iowa State homecoming weekend. He sat down next to me. He was on the PBS fund raising circuit. Had just finished in Omaha and headed to Denver. While his European travel is exciting, the daily grind of keeping and promoting his travel empire is a constant activity. He has a lot of balls to juggle and it is not easy. Truth of the matter, I would not trade places with him.

Posted by
210 posts

Welll, we haven't actually met Rick Steve's but were in Venice and Paris at the same time ;-) We learned that he was there from others who had seen or met him.

Posted by
1937 posts

Went to hear him speak at Vanderbilt University several years ago. I was so very much looking forward to hearing him speak in person, as I had recommended his tours and products to so many people. But, what a disappointment, when my husband was taking a quick photo of me with Rick and the flash did not go off.........Rick did NOT allow a retake. Those 15 seconds he could not invest with a fan really really did disappoint me.

I still recommend some of his products (and obviously I am here on the Forum right now), but I did ratchet down my enthusiasm and promotion of his brand several notches after that.

He is a brand....the persona of the brand. Every interface either reinforces the brand or erodes the brand. Jordan, I'm glad the brand did not disappoint you and that you had a pleasant experience and one that you will likely never forget. That photo makes you feel more personally connected to the brand. A smart businessman takes the time for those type personal experiences!

Posted by
3 posts

To Margret if you still have that dark photo of you and Rick, there are ways with technology now that the photo can be edited so you can see you both together in a lighter setting. I took over 17,000 pics on my RS Tours 3 years ago ( still editing the best) but some were really dark inside pics. So i have used Apples Aperture (Lightroom equivalent) to actually fix many of the photos . Not perfect but better than nothing. Its worth a try as it an important memory for you.

Posted by
993 posts

Jordan, That's really great. I live near Edmonds Washington and so I "see" Rick often when he is giving talks, but I've never gotten to see him "in the field" working. I always thought it would be fun. He really is my travel guru.