Today’s post comes from my good friend Stephanie, who originally hails from Louisiana, now lives in Maryland, and is the founder of The Cookbook Club, a club of which I am a member, despite having made only one of the multiple recipes over the last few months. (Steph doesn’t seem to mind, however, that I’m a slacker.) (Thank God!) She’s a double rockstar, not only for agreeing to guest post for me, but for giving me TWO PARTS to her post. Which means you, dear Interwebers, get a bonus read this week. For now, here’s part 1, with part 2 coming tomorrow. Read more of Stephanie’s travel adventures, thoughts on life and LSU football on her blog.
Europe was always a magical continent to me. Despite many pathetic pleas to my parents during my childhood, we never made a family vacation across the pond, which meant the extent of my foreign travel by the time I graduated college was Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. Then I married a man from Eastern Europe—and, no, I didn’t marry him just because it was a guarantee that we’d travel (at the very least) to his home country.
We did travel to his home, Ukraine, a year after we were married and it was one of the most incredible traveling experiences I ever had. But that’s not what today’s guest post is about.
Nope, it’s about my unabashed love for Rick Steves.
The next year, armed with my fancy We the People U.S. passport, we decided to travel to the United Kingdom. My husband was presenting at a conference in Newcastle, and so we made it a two-week tour of the British isle. This is when I met and fell in love with Mr. Steves.
I didn’t actually meet him, but I was introduced to his books by a well-traveled friend. I pored over his books for months before the trip—the London edition, United Kingdom, England, Scotland—and, with very little hesitation, booked his recommended bed and breakfasts and even altered our destinations based on his tips.
It was a leap of faith that I was taking. But for some reason, I trusted him. I photocopied his walking tours, I stuffed two of the books in my tiny suitcase (hubby and I only travel with carry-ons) and crossed my fingers that this Rick guy knew what he was doing.
Our trip was phenomenal. Every walking tour we did (in London, York, and Edinburgh) was a lesson in history, culture and random trivia. Every bed and breakfast he recommended was fantastic with really interesting owners. Every restaurant we visited (and subsequently saved tons of money at) had decent British food for reasonable prices. Rick was a hit.
Not surprisingly the next year when we decided to do Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris, I turned to Rick. Not only are his recommendations for lodging, eating, shopping and touring spot on, but he also has invaluable tips about getting around cities and learning essential phrases—dank u wel, alstublieft.
Thanks to Mr. Steves, we discovered some gems in Europe, whether it was the cheapest (and pretty darn good) meal in town, the best place to stay, or the easiest way to travel from point A to B. I will share some of those with you…in part 2. Stay tuned.