I'm sharing my travel experiences, candid opinions and what's on my mind. If you think it's inappropriate for a travel writer to stir up discussion on his blog with political observations and insights gained from traveling abroad, you may not want to read any further. — Rick

Daily Dose of Europe: Romantic Italy — Amalfi Coast and the Isle of Capri

Few places in Europe have the over-the-top romance of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. When international travel opens back up, I’ll be heading right back to Europe for a romantic break…and that’s where you’ll find me.

Even though we’re not visiting Europe right now, I believe a daily dose of travel dreaming can be good medicine. I just published a collection of my favorite stories from a lifetime of European travels. My new book is called “For the Love of Europe” — and this story is just one of its 100 travel tales.

Along the heights of the Amalfi Coast, every inch is terraced, connected by steep stony staircases that tempt visitors with twinkling but treacherous Mediterranean views. Climbing through terraced orchards of lemon trees, I’m hot and thirsty, fantasizing about fresh-squeezed lemonade.

And then, just like the fairy tale, I come upon the daughter of a farmer who seems to be waiting for a lost and parched American traveler. She welcomes me to her terrace to join her for a little slicing and squeezing. Then, as if teaching me a very important life skill, she demonstrates how you halve your lemon, stab it with a knife, and then — cupping the fruit with one hand — you wiggle the knife with the other, and watch the juice fill your glass. She adds lots of sugar, gives it a good stir, and hands me a glass of lemonade I’ll never forget. As I drink, she quizzes me about my journey. It’s one of those moments you travel for.

I’m staying in Sorrento, a town wedged on a ledge between the mountains and the sea. An hour south of wild and crazy Naples, Sorrento feels like its opposite: calm and genteel.

Crowding onto the early bus for the ride along the Amalfi Coast, I sit on the right, primed for the big coastal views and bracing myself for one of Italy’s great thrill rides. The trip gives me respect for the engineers who built the road — and even more respect for the bus drivers who drive it. Maybe I’m just hyperventilating, but I’m struck by how the Mediterranean, a sheer 500-foot drop below, twinkles. Cantilevered garages, hotels, and villas cling to the vertical terrain. Exotic sandy coves tease from far below, out of reach. Traffic is so heavy that in the summer, locals are only allowed to drive only every other day — even-numbered license plates one day, odd the next. Buses and tourists foolish enough to drive here are exempt from this system.

My first stop, the town of Positano, hangs halfway between Sorrento and Amalfi town on the most spectacular stretch of coastline. Most of the Amalfi Coast towns are pretty but touristy, congested, overpriced, and an exhausting daily hike from their tiny beaches. Specializing in scenery and sand, Positano is no exception. A three-star sight from a distance, Positano is a pleasant if pricey gathering of women’s clothing stores and cafés, with an inviting beach. There’s little to do here other than eat, shop, and enjoy the beach and views…and for most visitors, that’s just fine.

For lunch, rather than paying resort prices in a restaurant, I find a rosticceria — a deli selling roasted meats and antipasti. Using one of my handier Italian phrases, I request my food “da portare via” (“for the road”), then take my meal down to the pebbly beach. Grabbing a nice perch, I munch while watching the scene as it unfolds. Colorful umbrellas fill the beach while boats shuttle visitors in and out. Young Romeos — inspired by the older boys working the beach — polish their girl-hustling craft. I ponder what to do the next day, though, for many, the choice seems obvious — repeat and enjoy.

Early the next morning, riding the 30-minute ferry from Sorrento, I head for the enchanting isle of Capri. I think of the rich and famous who’ve headed to the same island over the centuries. Capri was the vacation hideaway of Roman emperors and centuries later became a favorite stop for Romantic Age aristocrats on their Grand Tour of Europe. Later, it was the safe haven of Europe’s gay cultural elite — back when being openly gay often meant being dead.

Today, Capri is expensive and glitzy — and a world-class tourist trap. Landing on the island, I’m met with a greedy line of white convertible taxis, eager to sweep me away. Zigzagging up the cliff with the top down, I think that despite its crowds and commercialism, Capri is still flat-out gorgeous. Chalky white limestone cliffs rocket boldly from the shimmering blue and green surf. Strategically positioned gardens, villas, and viewpoints provide stunning vistas of the Sorrentine peninsula, Amalfi Coast, and Mt. Vesuvius.

To give my Capri visit an extra dimension, I take the scenic boat trip around the island. It’s cheap and comes with good narration. Riding through the pounding waves, I work on my sunburn as we circle the island, marveling at a nonstop parade of staggering cliffs and listening to stories of celebrity-owned villas. There are also some quirky sights: a solar-powered lighthouse, statues atop desolate rocks, and caves in the cliffs with legends reaching back to the time of Emperor Tiberius.

The last stop is the highlight: the fabled Blue Grotto, with its otherworldly azure water. At the mouth of the grotto, a covey of dinghies jockeys to pick up arriving tourists, who need to disembark from their larger transports. The grotto’s entrance hole is small, so only these little rowboats can fit through. If the tide’s too high or the chop too rough, dinghies can’t get in, and visitors are turned back. Nervous that the waves will close it down, I gingerly climb into my dinghy and my raffish rower jostles his way to the tiny entry. He knows enough English to explain to me that if I don’t scrunch down below the gunwales, I’ll smash my skull on the rock and, as I’ve already paid, that was no concern of his. (I think this is intended as a joke.) Taking a moment to feel the rhythm of the swells and anticipating the instant when the dinghy reaches the low point, he pulls hard and fast on the old chain, and we squeeze — like birthing in reverse — into the grotto.

Inside, it takes my eyes a moment to adjust to the brilliant blue of the cave’s water (an effect caused by sun reflecting off the limestone at the bottom). As my man rows me around, singing a little “O Sole Mio,” I enjoy the iridescent magic of the moment.

Beaches, boutiques, blue grottos, and fresh-squeezed lemonade — it all combines to make clear why, for centuries, holiday-goers have chosen this corner of Italy to make their Mediterranean travel dreams come true.

This story appears in my newest book, “For the Love of Europe” — collecting 100 of my favorite memories from a lifetime of European travel. Please support local businesses in your community by picking up a copy from your favorite bookstore, or you can purchase it at my online Travel Store. You can also find clips related to this story at Rick Steves Classroom Europe; just search for Amalfi.

From Welsh Sunsets to Sicilian Recipes — Our Guides Offer a (Virtual) Taste of Europe

As we wait for travel to open up again, our European tour guides are finding creative ways to share their passion for teaching. We’re highlighting these opportunities — many of them free — on our Guides’ Marketplace, a little “market square” that connects homebound travelers with our team of talented guides. Each week we’re highlighting the delicious variety of cultural fun, storytelling, and other forms of travel inspiration available from our guides. Our goal: to connect travelers with tour guides who are bursting with energy and eager to share, even if those experiences are just virtual for now.

Mark Seymour runs tours in the United Kingdom and writes stories of British life on his blog, Seymour Travels. Mark often shares magical travel moments as well, such as this one from North Wales:

“Sometimes as a tour guide, you can make something magical happen. On a beautiful evening, several years ago, I climbed the mountains overlooking the Menai Straits of North Wales, with a man who has become a good friend, since then. His name is Gareth Wyn Jones, a local farmer with an intense passion for his lifestyle and his land. He wanted to show me (and my tour members) the wild horses that roam freely in the mountains That was an intense moment. But then we drove up to the cliffs and it occurred to me that we needed a song, and what better song than the Welsh national anthem. I didn’t know the words and I can’t sing, but knowing that every Welshman who was ever born has a magnificent voice, I encouraged Gareth to sing out loud…he did! And the reason why I fell in love with Wales was created.

“Over the years, I’ve stayed in contact with Gareth, his wife Rhiann and their family. I even take Rick Steves groups up there for a barbecue and a sheepdog exhibition, but for me the enjoyment comes when he and I or a couple of other friends take off over the hills with a bottle of Penderyn and enjoy the spectacular views as the sun sets.

“I’m very privileged to be a guide, and I love every minute of it, but these magical moments are the fuel that keeps me going and the fire that keeps me burning.”

Heading south across the English Channel, we rendezvous with two France guides — Véronique Savoye and Arnaud Servignat — in Cergy, less than an hour north of Paris by train.

Before returning to Europe in 2019, Véronique (or Véro for short) spent many years in the United States, calling Seattle home. She now lives in Paris, and her blog, French Girl in Seattle (Takes France), shares fun stories of getting reacquainted with life in her native France. Recently, Véro described her visit with friend and fellow Rick Steves tour guide, Arnaud, in his hometown of Cergy on the river Oise:

“When you have been confined in 265 square feet with no social interaction for several months, you want that first weekend out of town to be a special one. I was lucky: More than 100 days after my last adventure (a birthday celebration in Bourges), I headed out to meet a friend north of Paris. Better yet, that friend lives on a houseboat.

“Cergy is a town that ranges from ultra-modern architecture and grands ensembles (large developments) to the quaint and peaceful village and port de Cergy, the harbor where Arnaud’s boat is docked.

“Arnaud and I rode bikes around the Cergy-Pontoise Ile de Loisirs. From water sports to picnic areas, an accrobranche (tree climbing) course, miles of scenic trails along local ponds or the Oise river, there’s plenty there to keep locals entertained in the great outdoors.

“When I was on my own, I loved exploring Cergy-Village. There, I had another one of my ‘I-am-back-in-France’ moments: The main square is named ‘Place de la République.’ The Café-Tabac faces the memorial honoring locals fallen during WWI. Nearby, Saint Christophe church and its magnificent Renaissance gate greeted me on my way to the local boulangerie. Peaceful streets are lined with former farms, village houses or more affluent homes telling stories of a (not so) recent past.”

When Arnaud isn’t skippering his wooden houseboat, the Actarus, he leads Rick Steves tours in France and offers accommodations and customized cruises. This summer, Véronique continues to share her love of France and documents her travels in Western France daily in social media while teaching French online from the road.

Rick Steves tour guide and Stockholm native, Åsa Danielsson, is not in France…though from this photo, you might think she was:

“Lavender fields somewhere in Provence, France?” Åsa asks readers of Åwesome Travels with Åsa on Facebook.

“Nope, by the ruins of Alvastra abbey, founded 900 years ago when the Swedes had recently turned away from the old Norse gods to become Catholic. Saint Birgitta (Bridget), Patron Saint of Europe and Sweden’s only approved saint, received many of her visions here in the middle of the 1300s. Two centuries later the abbey was closed when the reformation came in 1527, and Sweden became the first Protestant Lutheran country in the world. A beautiful and evocative place!”

Åsa leads Rick Steves Scandinavia tours and offers trip-planning services for Sweden and throughout Scandinavia. She shares local insights as well as an inviting gallery of photos on her website, Åwesome Travels.

From Europe’s far north to its far south — just beyond the toe of Italy’s boot — we meet Tomasso Pante. Tommaso leads Rick Steves Sicily tours and offers accommodations, trip planning, and genealogy research services in Sicily. He’s also found a way to give homebound travelers a taste of Italy, by sharing some traditional Sicilian recipes from his “Mamma Pina”:

“Three thousand years, three thousand delights — Sicily is an island of great allure, fertile and sun-drenched in the heart of the Mediterranean. The island possesses all the colors in God’s creation: from the green of the coast, to the yellow of the countryside, to the blue of the sea, to the black of the lava and obsidian. Its history speaks the languages of the Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, and Italians who came here, willingly and not. They were brought by wars, shipwrecks, commerce, or a desire for knowledge, and all gave their colors and flavors to the cuisine.

“I have the honor of introducing Real Sicilian Cuisine with these delicious and simple recipes, with easy-to-find ingredients. All of these recipes are from the kitchen of Mamma Pina, my mother. Surely you know that we Sicilian men never cook because our mothers always cook delicious food for us (and also for our sisters, those modern young women). Yes, we are spoiled!”

On Tomasso’s website, you can explore recipes for all sorts of Sicilian dishes. Arancini (deep-fried rice balls), anyone?

Some of our guides are doing video blogs. For example, Pål Bjarne Johansen, Scandinavia guide and blogger, creates videos featuring his life and travels in Norway. After a month-long sailing trip in Scandinavia, from Norway to Sweden to Denmark and back again, Pål created this short and sweet montage:

Spain-based blogger Margaret Monnier recently shared this visit to small-town Portugal:

And in Bulgaria, Stefan Bozadzhiev guides you through the many layers of the historic Boyana church, on the outskirts of Sofia:

I know that many of our travelers care as deeply about our guides, as we do. We are friends. And supporting them in their creative business ventures during this crisis, as we await the day we can all travel again, is a wonderful way for friends to help friends. That’s what our Guides’ Marketplace is all about.

Daily Dose of Europe: Roman Pantheon

The Pantheon gives you a feel for the magnificence and enlightened spirit of ancient Rome better than any other monument.

As America continues to suffer crisis upon crisis, it has never been more important to broaden our perspectives and learn about the people and places that shape our world. And for me, one of the great joys of travel is seeing art masterpieces in person. Learning the stories behind great art can shed new light on our lives today. Here’s one of my favorites.

The Pantheon was a Roman temple dedicated to all (pan) of the gods (theos). It was a one-stop-worship place for ancient pagans who could come here to honor Jupiter, Venus, Mars, or any of the thousands of other Roman gods — the god of bread-making, of fruit trees, even the god of manure.

The temple was built by the Emperor Hadrian around AD 120. Hadrian was a voracious traveler, sophisticated scholar, and amateur architect, and he may have personally helped design it. Hadrian loved Greece, and gave the Pantheon the distinct look of a Greek temple — columns, crossbeams, and pediment.

The facade’s enormous columns — 40 feet tall, 15 feet around, and 55 tons — are each made of a single piece of red-and-gray granite. They were quarried in faraway Egypt, shipped across the Mediterranean, then carried overland to this spot, where they were lifted into place using only ropes, pulleys, and lots of sweaty slaves. It’s little wonder that the Romans — so organized and rational — could dominate their barbarian neighbors.

But what makes the building so unique is what’s on the inside — a soaring interior dome. Stepping inside, your eye is drawn upward, where the dome completely fills your field of vision. The dome was the ancient world’s largest, a testament to Roman engineering. It’s exactly as high as it is wide — 142 feet from floor to rooftop, 142 feet from side to side. You can put it into an imaginary box that’s a perfect cube. Even if you’re not a mathematician, the perfection and symmetry of the building makes a strong subconscious impression. Modern engineers still admire how the Romans built such a mathematically precise structure without computers, fossil fuels, or electricity.

The dome is made from concrete, a Roman invention. The dome gets lighter and thinner as it rises to the top — from 20-foot-thick walls at the bottom to five feet thick at the top, made with light volcanic stone. The square indentations, or coffers, reduce the weight as well. At the top of the dome is an opening 30 feet across. This sunroof is the building’s only light source. So what happened when it rained? They got wet.

With perhaps the most influential dome in art history, the Pantheon was the model for Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence, Michelangelo’s at St. Peter’s, and even the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

As ancient Rome crumbled, the Pantheon was spared. This pagan temple to “all the gods” was converted to a Christian church to “all the martyrs.” Over the centuries, it became a revered burial spot for “secular saints” like the artist Raphael and Italy’s first modern king.

The Pantheon is the only ancient building in Rome continuously used since its construction. Visitors from around the world pack the place to remember the greatness of classical Rome. And the Pantheon contains the world’s greatest Roman column: the pillar of light, shining through the sunroof, spanning the entire 142 feet, connecting heaven and earth.

This art moment — a sampling of how we share our love of art in our tours — is an excerpt from the new full-color coffee-table book, “Europe’s Top 100 Masterpieces,” by Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. Please support local businesses in your community by picking up a copy from your favorite bookstore, or you can find it at our online Travel Store. You can also view bonus content online with short clips that give context and dimension to the art at Rick Steves Classroom Europe; just search for Pantheon.

Daily Dose of Europe: Venice’s Cicchetti Crawl

Venice may be empty of tourists this summer. But in normal times, the city entertains millions of visitors each year. On a recent trip, a Venetian friend told me that almost every restaurant caters to the tourists. Then, with a sly smile, he added, “But there are still the cicchetti bars.”

Even though we’re not visiting Europe right now, I believe a daily dose of travel dreaming can be good medicine. I just published a collection of my favorite stories from a lifetime of European travels. My new book is called “For the Love of Europe” — and this story is just one of its 100 travel tales.

Cicchetti (pronounced chi-KET-tee) are the local appetizers that line the counters of little pubs all over Venice at the end of each workday. My favorite meal is what I call “The Stand-Up Progressive Venetian Pub-Crawl Dinner.” In a town with canals and no cars, pub-crawling is easy and safe — perhaps safer if you know how to swim. Tonight I’ll visit a series of these characteristic hole-in-the-wall pubs, eating ugly-looking morsels on toothpicks, and washing it all down with little glasses of wine. I look forward to the local characters I’ll meet along the way. Cicchetti bars have a social standup zone with a cozy gaggle of tables. In some of the more popular places, the crowds spill happily into the street.

Venetians call this pub crawl the giro d’ombra. Giro means “stroll,” and ombra — slang for a glass of wine — means “shade.” It dates back to the old days, when a portable wine bar scooted with the shadow of the Campanile bell tower across St. Mark’s Square. That wine bar is long gone, but the cicchetti bars remain, tucked away in the perpetual shade of the back streets.

While Venice is, it seems, sinking in tourist crowds, I’d bet 90 percent of those tourists gather along the glitzy shopping streets between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square. To find a characteristic cicchetti bar, you have to wander. I don’t worry about getting lost — in fact, I get as lost as I can. I remind myself, “I’m on an island and I can’t get off.” Even though there generally aren’t street names, when I want to find my way, I simply look for small signs on the corners directing me to the nearest landmark (e.g., “per Rialto”).

The cicchetti selection is best early, so I start my evening at 6 p.m. It’s in the far reaches of Venice that I bump into the thriving little bacari (as the local pubs are called). I ask for “un piatto classico di cicchetti misti da otto euro” and get a classic plate of assorted appetizers for €8. I sample deep-fried mozzarella cheese, gorgonzola, calamari, and artichoke hearts. Crostini (small pieces of toasted bread with a topping) are also a favorite, as are marinated seafood, olives, and prosciutto with melon. Meat and fish (pesce) munchies can be expensive, but veggies (verdure) are cheap. Bread sticks (grissini) are free for the asking.

Part of the attraction is the funky decor. There are photos of neighborhood friends here for a family party; St. Mark’s Square the morning after a wild Pink Floyd concert; Carnevale masks evoking a more mysterious past; and of old-time Venice, proving that people may change but the buildings remain essentially the same.

Venetians kick off the experience with an aperitivo, a before-dinner drink. Know your options. A blackboard usually lists several fine wines that are uncorked and available by the glass. Most nights, I get a small glass of house red or white wine (ombra rosso or ombra bianco). Tonight, I’m in the mood for an Aperol spritz — it makes me feel more local.

A man asks me, “Le dispiace se mi siedo qui?” (Do you mind if I sit here?) before sitting down next to me. It occurs to me that’s a handy, polite phrase for making new friends. He orders a drink and food. When his plate of fish arrives, he picks up one of the tiny fish, delicately tied in a loop. Holding it by the toothpick that harpoons it, he looks at it lovingly, says, “Sei il mio piu bel ricordo” (“You are my most beautiful souvenir”), and pops it happily into his mouth. Pushing over his plate, he offers one of the fish to me.

Connecting with people makes a pub crawl more fun: You can meet an Italian, learn some Italian, eat better…and collect your own beautiful souvenirs.

This story appears in my newest book, For the Love of Europe — collecting 100 of my favorite memories from a lifetime of European travel. Please support local businesses in your community by picking up a copy from your favorite bookstore, or you can purchase it at my online Travel Store. You can also find a clip related to this story at Rick Steves Classroom Europe; just search for Cicchetti.

Daily Dose of Europe: The Castles of Boyhood Dreams

The magic of Europe can make any traveler feel like a kid again. And one of my favorite places for that “king-of-the-castle” feeling is in the Bavarian and Tirolean Alps.

Even though we’re not visiting Europe right now, I believe a daily dose of travel dreaming can be good medicine. I just published a collection of my favorite stories from a lifetime of European travels. My new book is called “For the Love of Europe” — and this story is just one of its 100 travel tales.

South of Munich in the foothills of the Alps is Hohenschwangau Castle. It was “Mad” King Ludwig’s father’s castle — and Ludwig’s boyhood summer home. When his father died, Ludwig became king. He was just a boy, 19 years old. And rather than live with the frustrations of a modern constitution and a feisty parliament in Munich reining him in, King Ludwig II spent his next years lost in Romantic literature and operas…hanging out here with composer Richard Wagner as only a gay young king could.

The king’s bedroom was decked out like a fairy tale. The walls were painted in 1835 by a single artist, who gave the place a romantic, Tolkien fantasy feel. Lounging nymphs still flank the window and stars twinkle from the ceiling. A telescope stands as it did for the king, trained on a pinnacle on a distant ridge where Ludwig dreamed of building his ultimate castle fantasy: Neuschwanstein. On my first visit here, squinting through that telescope at Neuschwanstein (which had also inspired a boy named Walt Disney), I could relate to the busy young king. Bound by schoolwork and house rules rather than a constitution and parliament, with a stretched-out turtleneck and zits rather than crowns and composer friends, I too built a castle.

What I had that Ludwig lacked was a father who imported pianos. Shipped from Germany, they came encased in tongue-in-groove pine, sealed in a thick envelope of zinc sheeting. My wooden tree house was my castle: walls decorated with romantic 1968 magazines, the nails shining through the ceiling just long enough to bloody intruding bullies taller than me. Taking full advantage of those sliding pine boards, I could see who was coming. With a shiny zinc roof, my palace was the envy of other little kings. There was no tree house like it. Then, someone purchased the vacant lot next to our house, and I had to tear my tree castle down. At the time, I considered it the worst day of my life. Not long after, I embarked on my first no-parents trip to Europe. Touring Neuschwanstein, I relived my loss.

On that same trip, just over the border in Austria near the town of Reutte, I found another castle: the brooding ruins of the largest fort in Tirol — Ehrenberg. This impressive complex was built to defend against the Bavarians and to bottle up the strategic “Via Claudia” trade route that cut through the Alps here, connecting Italy and Germany. One castle crowned its bluff while another was high above on the next peak. Exploring the ruins, I climbed deep into a misty forest littered with meaningless chunks of castle wall — each pinned down by pixy-stix trees and mossy with sword ferns. This once strategic and powerful fortress had somehow fallen apart and was slowly being eaten by the forest.

My friend Armin Walch, an archaeologist who lives in Reutte, had a vision to bring these ruins to life. He was born the same year as me and pursued his project like the Indiana Jones of castle scholars. Today, with European Union funding, he’s cut away the hungry forest to reveal and renovate what he calls the castle ensemble. And it’s open for business, enabling countless children to live out their medieval fantasies, leaping from rampart to rampart with sword ferns swinging.

On my last visit, I was honored for bringing so many visitors to this remote corner of Austria over the years. With Armin as the jovial master of ceremonies, the town’s hoteliers and tourism folks gathered in the castle like a council of medieval lords. Together we ate smoked game and rustic cheese with coarse bread. We swilled wine and clinked pewter mugs. I gave an impromptu speech about the wonders of Americans climbing through history far from home. Then I knelt before a man in armor who drew a shiny sword with my name etched upon it, and was knighted — Sir Rick, first knight of Ehrenberg.

The sword was my gift. It was solid and sparkled with sentiment. I loved how it felt in my hand as I swung it back and forth, cutting through the air — and how it symbolically wove together my tree-house childhood, my love of history, my longtime connection with Reutte, and Armin’s vision. But the last thing I needed was to be packing a big sword through the rest of my trip. So I requested that my sword stay in the museum as a special exhibit on the castle-loving boy from Seattle who fell in love with the Ehrenberg ruins and then grew up to bring decades of American travelers to Reutte with his guidebooks.

On the way back to my hotel, Armin took me to his house for a drink. As a talented architect, he had cleverly hidden his sleek, futuristic, and creative pad behind a humble old-town facade. It was a royal domain for his family — two kids cozy on the carpet and a beautiful wife. Armin had bedazzled her at the university in Vienna and brought her here to remote Reutte with promises of a queenly life and a bitchin’ castle.

Armin and I climbed boyishly to his rooftop — a perch he designed to view Ehrenberg. Together we shared a glass of schnapps flavored with local herbs and peered through his telescope at our favorite castle complex — now illuminated by powerful floodlighting. In his youth — before he excavated it — almost no one knew about the fortress that hid beneath the trees on the mountain. Nudging me aside, Armin took his turn squinting through his telescope. Happy as two boys in a tree house, like two Romantic Age princes, we marveled at this castle of his dreams.

This story appears in my newest book, For the Love of Europe — collecting 100 of my favorite memories from a lifetime of European travel. Please support local businesses in your community by picking up a copy from your favorite bookstore, or you can purchase it at my online Travel Store. You can also find a clip related to this story at Rick Steves Classroom Europe; just search for Neuschwanstein and Ehrenberg.