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09 November 2009

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I tend to share your opinion of Rick Steves. I wouldn't have thought that he would write such a book, but how great that he did.

Thomas,
It was really a very interesting book. I didn't expect to read the whole thing but before I knew it, I was done! I think the earnestness which works against him on the TV show (and he is very, very, very earnest) really worked better in this kind of narrative. I still don't have a Burt Wolf-esque crush on him, but I must say, he wowed me a little bit. The drug chapter alone--how nice to read about how other countries approach the problem, even without starting "wars" on drugs--made this whole book worthwhile.

"ultimate souvenir is a broader outlook"

I like!

Lately, I've taken to reading about addiction (prescription pain meds & meth)in the U.S. The government's approach (the war on drugs!) is not working. Harm reduction makes a lot of sense. I'm going to get this book.

Sherry,
Yes, if you're interested in the subject, I would definitely pick this book up. The Dutch approach to drugs is very, very interesting.

What I always find hilarious in the government's "war on drugs" is that they're clearly not against drugs when they're making the right people money (like drug company and health insurance company fat cats). Personally, I figure a little marijuana's probably a lot less bad for you than are most of the prescription meds being pushed on patients in our society, particularly children. But that's just me.

I went to Spain a few years back pretty much blind, except for three guidebooks. I knew which cities I was going to stay in and what hotels, but outside of that, I had no plans. Rick Steves was the ONLY guidebook that made it through the entire trip. The rest got dumped in train stations and airports. It was the most informative and had the most useful tips in it. It ended up being an amazing trip, mostly because of Steves!

Lu,
I'll confess I've never used or even looked at a Rick Steves guidebook; I should have done before I went to GB! We often end up using Frommer's, for whatever reason, maybe because it seems like it's written for old people, and I share old peoples' interest in personal safety and hotels that are nice but not too pricey. I'll believe his books are good--just because I find him dull doesn't mean he doesn't know his stuff!

Lu--
How did you like Spain? What would you recommend seeing there?

I'm not surprised that he wrote this book. He's always been low-key, stressing "off the beaten path" and trying the small, local hotels, restaurants, and sites. He's also anti-ugly-American. I think he became more vocal about it after 9/11. He's pretty pragmatic, so I seem him more as that rather than a "bad boy".

Burt Wolf is the man. His travel/cuisine pieces are deLIGHTful. He's so... impish, yet he has gravitas. I approve your crush. (I know how much you crave my approval.) Mr CR should worry less and emulate more. I kid.

Sarah,
Hm, pragmatic. I like that. Since posting this I've heard lots more good things about his guide books, so I'm willing to go with "pragmatic."

Bert,
Burt Wolf IS the man. He and Anthony Bourdain are my favorite food/travel guys. Impish! That's perfect. I think Mr. CR is more disturbed about the average age of my main crushes: Burt, Bill Moyers, Jimmy Carter. Thank goodness for James McAvoy, bringing the average down a bit and tossing in a Scottish accent to boot.

I totally crave your approval, and thank you for the Burt support.

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