Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, October 2021
The passeggiata, Italy’s ritual evening promenade. Photo by Rick Steves

I am terrible at foreign languages. Despite traveling around Europe four months a year since I was a kid, I can barely put a sentence together anywhere east or south of England. But with some creative communication, I manage just well enough to write guidebooks, produce TV shows, and enjoy Europe on vacation. And nowhere do I have more fun communicating than in Italy.

Because Italians are so outgoing and their language is such fun, interactions are a pleasure. Italians have an...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, October 2021
Guzelyurt (which means “beautiful land”) is a Turkish town that has changed little over the centuries. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Guzelyurt, in the region of Cappadocia in rural Turkey, is a town that has changed little over the centuries. Exploring it, I hike steeply down into a ravine, winding through a community in the rough — where the chores of daily life seemed stuck in the Middle Ages. Then, climbing up to a hilltop perch marking the end of town, I survey the view and marvel how the honey that holds this architectural baklava together is the community of people who live here — and the traditions they...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, October 2021
Évora’s main square. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Alentejo is a vast and arid land — the bleak interior of Portugal, where cork seems to be the dominant industry.

The rolling hills are covered with stubby cork trees. With their bark peeled away, they remind me of St. Bartolomeo, the martyr who was skinned alive. Like him, these trees suffer in silence.

The people of Alentejo are uniformly short. They seem to look at tourists with suspicion and are the butt of jokes in this corner of Europe. Libanio, my guide, circles the...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, October 2021 -- Page 25
In Dingle town, when the sun goes down, traditional music fills the pubs. Photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

I once met an elfish, black-clad old man in the little town of Ventry, on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula. When I asked if he was born here, he paused, breathed deeply, and said, “No, ’twas about 5 miles down the road.”

I asked him if he had lived here all his life.

He answered, “Not yet.”

When I told him where I was from, a faraway smile filled his eyes as he looked out to sea and muttered, “Aye, the shores of Americay.”

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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