Note: This is an updated (redux) blog post from one similar I did on my old blog just over 3 years ago.
I’m a long time loyal customer of Rick Steve’s guidebooks and travel gear. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Europe 16 times over the past 13 years speaking at various developer conferences and events. If you plan to travel to Europe, check out the various books, maps, videos, train tickets, and travel gear that Rick Steves’ company offers. And if you ever visit Seattle and you are a European traveler, I highly recommend visiting Rick’s Steves Travel Center walk-in store in Edmonds, WA. Edmonds is about 15 miles north of downtown Seattle. Edmonds is a nice place to walk around, and it’s on the shore of the Puget Sound with a ferry dock, shops, restaurants, all walking distance to Rick Steves travel center.
A few months ago I was in Paris for a week, and while there I read Rick’s travel book on Paris via the Kindle eBook format on my iPhone via the free Kindle for iPhone app.
Last March, I attended one of Rick Steves’ presentations on Italy, a 2 hour session part of an all day event near his store in Edmonds, WA. The Rick Steves travel book on Italy is apparently the #1 selling European travel book in the U.S. There are now several Rick Steves iPhone apps available for the iPhone and iPod Touch via the iTunes App store. Search on Rick Steves at http://appshopper.com or in the iTunes App store for a listing and details. Later this month I go back to Europe for my 17th trip, this time back to Prague, Germany, and Austria.
In 2005, I blogged about the CIA World Factbook which contains great detailed information for any country you might visit. There are now many iPhone apps based on the CIA World Factbook data. I have the called World Facts installed on my iPhone. Back in 2004, I also blogged about 6 detailed posts while touring around in Europe in June 2004, including one entry that describes how I was in 5 countries within 9 hours by car. It was that series of blog posts in June of 2004 which got me started in blogging, now 5 years ago.
Two additional useful related articles I found back in 2005 are Rick Steves: Helping millions explore Europe and Europe: by train or by car?. One thing you won’t find many of on the roads in Europe are SUVs and large pick-up trucks, almost none. The price of gasoline is over twice as expensive in Europe as it is in the U.S.. The price of gas in Europe was around $6US back in June 2004 when I was in a car touring 2500miles (4000km) around Europe. I’m not sure what the price per liter is there now, probably a bit more.
Trains are a great way to get around Europe, and traveling by car allows you to stop and see many interesting non-tourist locations. The sightseeing and tourist type hot spots are usually fun and interesting, but the best part about European travel is socializing with people who live there. The train system in Europe is a great way to get around and to talk to people, both locals and other travelers.
Rick Steves has a podcast show and audio tours at http://ricksteves.com. Here is the RSS feed for the Rick Steves podcast show. There are now over 200 MP3 podcast shows already, not just about European travel but also about locations world-wide, wines, food, and sports in Europe. He as a great travel blog at http://www.ricksteves.com/blog/. As Rick Steves says at the end of all his Rick Steves’ Europe travel shows on TV, “happy travels”.