Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2009 -- Page 71

Every year when I update my guidebook series, I find out what’s new in Europe. Here’s a review of what Americans can expect the next time they cross the Atlantic.

• In 2009, it’s not the “old Europe” anymore as countries continue to open up their borders. Several Eastern European countries, including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Baltic States, have recently done away with border controls for travel within Europe. This means you can now go from...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, February 2009 -- Page 75

One of the things that charms me about traveling through Europe is its ethnic variety. Hop on a train and two hours later you step into a different culture, different language and different heritage.

As Europe united, I feared its ethnic diversity would be threatened, but I find just the opposite is happening. In Europe there are three loyalties: to your region, to your nation and to Europe.

Ask a person from Munich where he’s from and he’ll say, “I’m...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, January 2009 -- Page 76
Berlin’s Reichstag building is a powerful statement of openness in government. Photo: Steves

Travelers get a wonderful chance to witness European history in the making. Years ago when I got my history degree, I said to myself, ‘I’d better get a business degree, too, so I have something useful.’ But I’ve learned over the years that if more people knew more about history, our world would be better off.

Whenever I see the restored Reichstag building in Berlin, I’m reminded of my visit in 1999, when it opened to the public. For travelers unaware of...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, December 2008 -- Page 72
Rick Steves poses with teenage girls in Iran, a place that might give many Americans culture shock.

Many Americans board a plane for an overseas destination without fully realizing that they are flying into a completely different culture. Some experience culture shock: a psychological disorientation caused by immersion in a place where people do things — and see things — differently.

Most cultural groups develop separately, with their own logical (as far as they’re concerned) answers to life’s basic needs. While every culture is ethnocentric, thinking...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, November 2008 -- Page 81
English office workers and savvy travelers get tasty sandwiches at delis. Photo: Steves

Fresh from researching London, Bath, York and Edinburgh, I’ve discovered some new restaurant deals and confirmed some previous favorites.

In general, I found British portions huge. Rather than getting two appetizers, two main dishes and two desserts with wine for $70 each, a couple can order two appetizers, split a main dish, split a dessert and drink tap water. You’ll probably fill up fine, enjoy the same atmosphere and get out for $30 each.

Don’t be shy...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, October 2008 -- Page 80

The other night I found my way home, a little tipsy after an evening in the Belgian town of Bruges. I’d been at my favorite bar in town, the ’t Brugs Beertje, where not only did I get schooled in the many varieties of local beer, I learned a few things about modern-day Belgian life.

I was a bit down on Bruges after a long day of visiting every sight in town. It’s inundated with tourists, especially when a cruise ship is docked. It seems nothing there is “...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, September 2008 -- Page 70

With its membership in the European Union, many things are changing in Portugal.

Day after day, the roads there were messing up my itinerary. I’d arrive in town hours before I thought I would. I remember a time when there were absolutely no freeways in Portugal. Now the country has plenty. They build them so fast, even my Michelin map was missing new ones.

There were other signs that Portugal is well into its EU upgrade. In the past, open fish stalls lined the streets;...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, July 2008 -- Page 77

Each summer, Europe greets a stampede of sightseers and shoppers with eager cash registers. Before jumping into the peak-season pig pile, consider the advantages of an off-season trip.

Given the current weakness of our dollar overseas, the potential price savings of an off-season trip are enough to brighten a gray winter day. Airfares are often hundreds of dollars less. And with fewer crowds in Europe, you’ll sleep cheaper; many fine hotels drop their prices, and budget hotels...

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