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
Heading to Spain this summer? If you time your trip right, you’ll witness one of Europe’s most exuberant festivals and craziest spectacles: Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. For nine days each July, throngs of visitors descend on the city for the adrenaline-filled event. Revelers enjoy carousing, music, parades, fireworks, and lots of sangria. My TV crew and I were there for two days with front-row seats for the stampeding action. I was really impressed at how the people of Pamplona have it organized: party, party, party, bulls run, clean up, sleep, party, party, party…repeat daily for nine days.
When my publisher said we needed to reprint the book, I said, “Trump, Erdogan, refugees, nativism, fascism, fake news, and Brexit. Not until we rework it for all the changes impacting travel these days.” The third edition is 290 pages of travel thrills and insights that I like to think would win the endorsement of Mark Twain (“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”), Thomas Jefferson (“Travel makes a person wiser, but less happy”), and Muhammad (“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you’ve traveled”).
This clip shows about one minute of the 22 hours I spent in what felt like a padded cell, reading the book out loud. In the end, the finished audiobook is about ten hours, and I am thrilled with the final product.
(BTW, I’m donating all the royalties from the sale of the book and audiobook to Bread for the World, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to ending hunger.)
If Germany’s on your list, consider timing your trip around one of Europe’s biggest parties: Munich’s Oktoberfest. I’ve been in Munich for each of the last two Oktoberfests, and I’m so impressed by the simple Bavarian joy of the party. For a visitor, there’s no better place to see (and join) Germans at play. Inside huge beer-hall tents, you’ll find a slap-happy world of lederhosen, dirndls, fancy hats, and maidens with flowers in their hair. Join the party with me in this clip from my new, one-hour Rick Steves’ European Festivals public television special.