Posts Tagged ‘ Europe ’

New York Times Travel Expo (with Rick Steves!)

This weekend was a lot of fun. I went to NYC to visit the Javit’s Center and check out the Travel Expo they were hosting there. I love, love, love to travel and although at first I was skeptical when my girlfriend mentioned the expo, I’m really glad we went! While it did have many people trying to sell you their travel packages, they were rude or pushy about it (which was why I wasn’t too excited about going in the first place) so I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. We picked up stacks of travel brochures with glossy photos and fun ideas that I will then use to find actual deals on these destinations. I’m a big advocate of doing research and finding the biggest bang for your buck in order to plan the best possible vacation.

The best part of the experience (I can see my girlfriend reading this and rolling her eyes) was getting to meet Rick Steves. Let me say that again – RICK STEVES! Not only is he, in my opinion, the premiere travel guru of Europe, but he is witty and friendly and totally exceeded my pedestal expectations. If you don’t know who Rick Steves is, he writes travel books, hosts a travel show and takes tour groups around Europe. I always take his books with me whenever I visit Europe and they have provided me with a wealth of valuable information. He knows the ins and outs of many countries and cities like where to sleep (he’s never steered me wrong), where to eat, and how to find insider secrets (such as free sights or how to avoid long tourist lines for famous museums).

I was beyond excited when I actually got to meet him at his book signing. I’m pretty sure I turned twelve shades of red but somehow managed to carry on a somewhat (I hope) intelligent conversation with him. I’m such a nerd…sigh.

Here’s a picture of Rick Steves with Arthur Frommer and Frommer’s daughter.

Soon his team will be launching a new updated app that will feature podcasts of Rick Steves’ talks on various sights around Europe. Now, instead of paying $50 for an audio tour at your favorite museum, you can plug in your headphones and listen to his free version. Super cool. Also, he’s offering to pay the passport fees for any “virgin” traveler who signs up for one of his tours. Also super cool. Hmmm…I really should be getting a cut with all this free advertising… 🙂

So, in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I highly recommend checking out his website and his books before you travel to Europe. It will make a huge difference in your travel experience!

European Vacation

Sorry about the blog hiatus, I was running around Europe with my girlfriend and didn’t have internet access most of the time. It was absolutely amazing! We visited Switzerland, France and Spain. France was by favorite by far with cobblestone streets, fabulous boutiques and mouth-watering boulangeries (bakeries) and patesseries on every corner.

That’s me in front of the Cote d’Azur in Nice, France.

My favorite part of the experience was the bike tour that we took around the French Riveria. It was through Cyclomundo, a bike touring company that provides a variety of tour packages as well as the option of creating your own tour in various countries in Europe – most being in France. You are outfitted with a hybrid bike (very comfortable), water bottles, sidebags that hook onto the side of the rack on the back of your bike, and a binder of maps and directions. Each bike is outfitted with a kind of board that clips onto the front of your bike into which the maps and directions are placed so you can read while you ride. The trickiest part was figuring out the directions as we didn’t have any sort of odometer and the directions were in kilometers to boot. We only got lost a few times and even then it wasn’t difficult to find our way back to the route we were supposed to be on.

It was a beautiful three-day trek from Avignon to St. Remy to Arles back to Avignon. We biked past fields of poppies and vineyards and olive groves. One day was spent traversing the Alpinnes, the chain of mountains that stretches through the south of France. Our last day was spent battling fierce headwinds that would stop our bikes if we stopped pedaling for even a moment! One of the most difficult physical challenges I’ve ever done but it felt amazing to accomplish such a task.

It was wonderful to take such a great vacation, but it’s great to be back home. 🙂