Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, September 2021
Yellow lampposts brighten a street in Trebon. Photo by Rick Steves

Submerged in a mucky peat brine, it occurs to me that this must be the strangest bath I have ever taken.

I’m in the well-preserved Czech spa town of Trebon. I’ve decided to supplement my intense time in touristy Prague by venturing south, deeper into the Czech countryside.

Trebon’s biosphere of artificial lakes dates back to the 14th century. Over the years, people have transformed what was a flooding marshland into a clever combination of lakes, oak-lined...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, September 2021
The Dolomites, ideal for hiking … or thinking about hiking. Photo by Rick Steves

Leaning back in my lounge chair, I enjoy the heat of the sun on my skin. A vibrant sea spreads out before me, but it’s a sea of wildflowers. I’m not at the beach — I’m on a farm, looking out on Europe’s largest high alpine meadow, manicured by munching goats and cows. In the distance, stark snow-dusted peaks tower boldly against the blue sky. These are Italy’s Alps, the Dolomites.

My soundtrack is the happy laughter of Italian children enjoying a...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, September 2021
The Capuchin Crypt in Rome. Photo by Rick Steves

Here’s one of my favorite European memories illustrating how, if you know where to look, you can find human bones on display in many corners of the Continent.

Deep under the streets of Paris, I was all alone ... surrounded by literally millions of bones — tibiae, fibulae, pelvises, and skulls, all stacked along miles of tunnels. I was in the Paris Catacombs. I jumped at the opportunity to pick up what, once upon a time, was a human head. As what seemed like two centuries...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, September 2021 -- Page 24
Wenceslas Square, where the history of the Czech people plays out. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

As we’ve had to postpone our travels because of the pandemic, I believe an occasional dose of travel dreaming can be good medicine. Here’s one of my favorite European destinations — a reminder of the fun that awaits us at the other end of this crisis.

It seems whenever my Czech friends take me around Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, we see the sights and then invariably end up in a pub, where my lessons on the country...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, August 2021
Colmar, a French town with German flair. Photo by Rick Steves

Biking down a newly paved but skinny one-lane service road through lush vineyards, I notice how the hills seem to be blanketed in green corduroy.

My Alsatian friend hollers at me, “Germany believes the correct border is the mountains behind us. And we French believe the Rhine — you can almost see it ahead — is the proper border. That’s why Alsace changes sides with each war. That’s why we are a mix of France and Germany.”

I yell back, “...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, August 2021
Mostar and its famous bridge, rebuilt after the war. Photo by Cameron Hewitt

The Bosnian city of Mostar lies at a crossroads of cultures: just inland from the Adriatic coast, in the southern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mostar’s inhabitants are a mix of Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats, and Muslim Bosniaks who lived in seeming harmony before the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, then suffered horribly when warring neighborhoods turned the city into a killing zone. The persistent reminders of the war make my visit emotionally draining, but I’m hopeful that...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, August 2021
At <i>cicchetti</i> bars, you can assemble a meal. Photo by Rick Steves

One of my favorite European memories is the joy of a pub crawl in Venice — a reminder of the fun that awaits in this popular destination.

Venice entertains millions of visitors during a normal year. It’s particularly crowded with day-trippers when several cruise ships are in port. On a trip a few years ago, I was told by a Venetian friend that these days, almost every restaurant caters to the tourists. Then, with a sly smile, he added, “But there are still the...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, August 2021
The night watchman signals “All’s well.” Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

The walled town of Rothenburg, midway between Frankfurt and Munich, offers the best look possible at medieval Germany. And in this theme park of a town, the best ride is the night watchman’s town walk. Each night during the tourist season, with his eyebrows frozen in a raised position, the night watchman listens to the clock tower clang nine times. Then he winks, picks up his hellebarde (long-poled ax), and lights his lantern. Welcoming the English-speaking group gathered in 15th-...

CONTINUE READING »