Stand with Brussels…and Keep on Traveling

Learning of today’s tragic attacks in Brussels, my first thought was of that city’s unique knack for celebrating life. It’s a city of great humanity, and great joy. In recent visits, I’ve been inspired by beer pilgrims who flew all the way from New York for a three-day weekend of sipping the world’s finest monk-made brews. After taste-testing decadent chocolates in a line of five venerable shops in a row, I’ve spied yet another shop…and popped yet another praline. And standing on the Grand Place, which was lovingly blanketed with flowers, I’ve enjoyed the best open-air jazz I’ve ever heard — forever giving Europe’s finest town square a joyful soundtrack in my mind.


Photo: Francisco Conde Sánchez, CC BY-SA 3.0

Half of Belgium speaks French, and the other half Flemish — but, with a battlefield called Waterloo just a few miles beyond its suburbs, Brussels understands the importance of getting along. And, as a city beloved for its cartoons, beer, chocolate, and buckets of mussels, it knows the rewards of cooperation are rich.

Brussels is the capital of Europe — an experiment in pluralism more open and determined than anywhere in the world. And not surprisingly, forces against freedom and pluralism have attacked it. In a world of soft targets, easy access to explosives, and vivid media, terrorism is here to stay. And our challenge to maintain a free and open society is here to stay, as well. Europe is strong. It will pursue both safety and the bad guys. And, as a matter of principle, its people will continue to embrace freedom. As a matter of principle, I will keep on traveling. How about you?


51 Replies to “Stand with Brussels…and Keep on Traveling”

  1. My husband and I have plane tickets to Brussels (and home from Amsterdam) in July. We were supposed to go last year, but had to postpone because of a serious illness. We’re going. I was worried when I saw the news this morning, but I’m most worried about friends and family being overly concerned. No one would bat an eye if we were going to NYC, the site of the worst terrorist attack ever. I immediately thought, “Yes, we’re still going. That’s what Rick would say we should do.” Don’t give in to fear. Keep traveling. There’s still more risk of dying in a car crash on the way to the airport. And on the upside, maybe it’ll be less crowded from scaredy cats staying away.

  2. I just want to clarify, I didn’t mean there is, in any way, an “up side” to this tragedy. Just that if some travellers choose to stay away, it’s a shame, but we’ll have smaller crowds.

  3. Rick you are good at what you do, but you are the biggest apologist for Islamic terrorism. You never address it.

  4. I am still planning my trip to Bruxelles and Amsterdam this summer. There is no way that I will let fear keep me away!

  5. We loved a month in Turkey three years ago. Are you going this year what with protests, bombings, not to mention a rising political tension including attacks on a free press? (This in a country that tried hard to be in rage euro zone)

  6. I concur with Tom’s statements below. This sounds like a sales pitch to me in an effort to keep the cash flowing in for Rick and his crew.

    These are international tragedies. The US State Department has just issued a “Shelter in place” statement for us travelers in Europe. Take Note and be Safe!

  7. I received one of the emails yesterday from the U.S. State Department to citizens in Europe. No where was “shelter in place” used. Be aware of your surroundings, take steps to bolster your personal security, exercise caution in crowds, expect increased police and military presence and expect delays at the points of entry/exit. This is what they said. Granted all is not sunshine. There is a situation but if one exercises caution and common sense then you should be alright. Bottom line – be careful but you don’t need to bolt for the nearest exit.

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  9. Tragic event in Brussels – as travelers we need to be mindful of our destination. I agree with Tom and Dan, but I’m much less critical of Rick. He’s in the travel business and not a commentator of political events and strategies on how to resolve centuries old conflict. Until or unless our political leaders are prepared to address this aggression, I don’t expect my travel guru to be the voice of political fortitude. Let’s pray for the victims and for our leaders to find a solution for us all – keep traveling!

  10. We are leaving Baton rouge on April 18 for a 36 day trip to Amsterdam,Bruges,Ghent, Luxembourg across Germany and home from Prague.we will not let what has happened in Brussels make us change our travel plans.

  11. I would take issue with Tom’s comments. Yes Europe has had horrible attacks recently. But Rick Steves is not a state department employee to advise or comment on these incidents and what is their cause, nor is it his position to warn travelers off of traveling. He owns a company that takes travelers to Europe. He is reflecting on his expertise and that is, even though there are problems, we should keep on traveling. Don’t let these incidents, as horrible as they are, stop you from doing what you enjoy.

    I am planning a trip to Europe in two months. Last night on the news the pundits were saying that any place in Europe could experience a terrorist attack and nothing is safe anymore. Will I allow this to make me stay home in fear. No.

    Each person must determine what is their position, and comfort level, with these issues but don’t condemn someone because they respond differently than YOU think they should.

    The world is a very different place than it was when I took my first trip to Europe in 1996 or my second in 2002 and unfortunately what we see now may be the “new normal” for a while. However, I won’t let that stop me from doing something I love. While I am concerned, I know that as an individual person I can’t change the dynamics of Europe, but I can travel and show my support that way.

  12. Thank you Barbara for your insight. I too, have a trip planned in 6 weeks, to France on a RS tour with my husband and son. Yes, I’m nervous about travel to Europe, but then I remind myself that I routinely travel to NYC, often ride the 7 train from my son’s neighborhood in Long Island City to the Times Square stop, and could just as easily be in harm’s way there. I’m always aware of my surroundings in NYC, but not fearful. I hope I can bring that attitude with me to France and wherever else I travel now that we are all coping with a new normal.

  13. I just arrived home from visiting London and Paris with my mother and sister. I felt very safe in both cities. I work in downtown San Antonio, which is much more dangerous than London or Paris. The hospital recommends that I call security to be escorted to and from my car if I am called in in the middle of the night. Yes, they are armed, also.

    In Paris, I noticed many soldiers or police patrolling all of the tourist sights. There were many bands of four, dressed in camoflage and wearing machine guns. I saw them at Louvre, in the train station at Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Versailles. I believe that the French are taking these threats quite seriously.

    I would still go to Brussels. It will be safer now than in the past, I believe. Everyone will be on high alert.

    I have been to Europe every year since 2003 and have a trip planned to Switzerland in the late summer. So far, these terrorist attacks have not intimidated me enough to stop traveling.

  14. I have been promising my kids a trip to Europe in 2016 for almost ten years now. After the Paris bombings I was conflicted but the reality is that this is the only summer we will ever have the opportunity given where they are in life. I changed our plans from a complete do-it-yourself itinerary traveling on trains through a handful of countries to the “Europe My Way” tour on this website. Private Bus sounds better to me than the trains. After the horror of Brussels, I will also make sure we avoid the Metro at both rush hours. We are also flying in and out at non-peak times. Beyond that, we have to live our lives.

  15. I say keep on traveling.I live in Alaska, when I go stateside, I keep my wits about me. I have 2 trips ,scheduled overseas. the UK and Ireland. and will heading to the continent next year. Yea theres risks in travel either Going to a mall in Seattle or Brussels , just use common sense.

  16. I am in Europe now. Life goes on. I may want to get to the airport earlier than usual for departure, I can imagine security lines will be longer.
    Some historical perspective. I started travelling in Europe in the 1970s. Police in the streets with submachine guns, the IRA in UK, the Red Army Fraction in Germany, Red terrorism also in Italy. Security checks everywhere. The past wasn’t perfect either.

  17. I agree with Barbara.
    Also, I believe you should always use caution when traveling; keep your wits about you and if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.
    I am of the opinion that we should keep traveling, and not let fear keep us away from seeing new and interesting places.
    I was in Paris two weeks ago, for two weeks; and felt very safe everywhere I went.

  18. My dear Americans, are you forgetting how many senseless deaths that we have here with people and their guns? In Newtown, 26 children were killed and no one thought they should stop moving around their neighborhoods. I worry more about the unbalanced people who are allowed to own guns.

    I’m looking forward to my trip in Belgium and the Netherlands!

  19. I refuse to let these desperate, hateful people dictate how I live my life. Yes, there’s a new normal and I hate that it means innocent people get hurt and killed. My wife and I are traveling to Paris in June and we will keep our wits about us. The alternative is hunkering down in safe, predictable normalcy.

  20. I’m sure the people of Belgium are thanking Rick for the useless gesture of ‘defiance’. Terrorism and global warming be damned– travel!

    As we are friends with Europe now, maybe Rick should start a Syria, China, Russia and North Korea through the back door. Or quit polluting the planet with CO2 and stay home. Don’t be a limo lib Rick– quit talking and start doing good for something other than your bank account.

  21. Will be departing in June for a one month independent trip to Italy and France. Not letting this latest terror event stop us but it admittedly casts a cloud over plans. I think Rick is saying is the risk of being a victim of terrorism is worth it to him. Each of us make that decision for ourselves. In making that risk decision each of should not be in denial that IS has trained 400 fighter to attack Europe in a wave of terror and bloodshed.

  22. When I see headlines that 400 ISIS fighters have been trained to attack Europe, it definitely gives me pause. I’m booked on a trip to France through Rick Steves tours in May. Honestly, I would cancel if I thought I could get some sort of refund on my airfare and tour. I’ve been to Europe three times, but have never felt this nervous. I’m all for “keep on traveling,” but Rick’s statements seem a little self-serving. I love the Rick Steves tours, but this will probably be my last one. Lots of things to do in the US!! And please don’t tell me I shouldn’t be afraid, everyone should be afraid of what’s going on around the world.

  23. My first ever trip to Europe way back in September 2005 for a college graduation present came just two months after the bombs in London and while family did voice concerns, I went anyway and never regretted it for a second. A few years later was my first ever trip to Mexico City came literally ten days after the Swine Flu hysteria and I again listened to my family’s concerns yet went anyway (one aunt in particular actually called me crazy and told me not to call her if I got sick).
    If I had let fear rule my life on these first-ever trips to new countries, I would have probably missed out on my four additional trips to Europe and my two additional trips to Mexico (which is where I found my beloved dog!) and would still be wondering what those places are like. I encourage people to be aware and use common sense, yet to follow your dreams (travel and otherwise) wherever they take you and not let anyone (terrorist, scared family member, etc) convince you otherwise.

  24. We are taking our adult daughter for her first trip to Paris this coming weekend. This will be my 5th trip to France, and I am so excited to begin her long-overdue introduction to Europe. Because of the terrorist attacks this week in Brussels and last year in Paris, family and friends are worried. I am no more concerned about terrorism in Europe than I am about terrorism at home. I know that France and the EU face many challenges, but I also know that terrorism isn’t their problem, it’s our problem. If my response to terrorism was to be terrorized out of the opportunity to broaden personal experience and exposure to different cultures, what role would I be choosing on the world stage? I choose freedom, not fear.

  25. There are many opinions here I agree with from travel at your own risk, too yes Rick Steves has a corner on the market since he has been the EU travel expert for decades and doesn’t want us to stop traveling as it would affect his industry, to don’t let IS control your freedom, and also tolerance is based on each individual’s thoughts and preceptions: I don’t think there is the right answer except that the reality is terrorism is worse today than it was in the 70’s, terrorism is the new war against civillians because us civillians are not geared with armor while we vacation and we do not want to have to stress about finally getting some time off of work to enjoy other cultures, sights and sounds and feel as though we are looking over our shoulder every two minutes. However with all said above, the bottom line is: if you choose to venture out of your houses today, the reality is you are in a zone of best beware of your surroundings if you do not want to become the next victim. Interesting the taxi driver who drove the three assailants to the airport said they were suspicious to him and something didn’t seem right (there is that intuition one should act on), taxi driver said seemed like their luggage was incredibly heavy and the men did not want the cab driver to touch their luggage. Red flag taxi driver…so I end with if you see a situation such as this whether you are traveling, at home in your driveway, or relaxing on a beach, it is your duty to tell the authorities and do something. Debbie

  26. Why I am not afraid of dying in a terrorist attack.

    The overall average of dying in any kind of terrorist attack worldwide is 1 in 9,300,000 (9.3 million).

    Here are some other odds of dying:

    Drowning in a Bathtub: 1 in 685,000
    Fatally Slipping during a Shower: 1 in 812,232
    Being Struck by Lightning: 1 in 576,000
    Being Murdered: 1 in 18,000
    Dying from any kind of Injury: 1 in 1,820
    Dying from intentional Self-harm: 1 in 9,380
    Dying from an Assault: 1 in 16,421
    Dying from a Car Accident: 1 in 18,585
    Dying from any kind of Fall: 1 in 20,666
    Dying from Accidental Drowning: 1 in 79,065
    Dying from Exposure to Smoke, Fire, and Flames: 1 in 81,524
    Dying from Forces of Nature (earthquake, heat, cold, lightning, flood): 1 in 225,107
    Dying from Choking on Food: 1 in 370,035
    Dying in a Fireworks Accident: 1 in 1,000,000
    Dying from a Dog Bite: 1 in 700,000
    Dying from Falling off a Ladder: 1 in 2,300,000
    Dying form unintentional Alcohol Poisoning: 1 in 820,217
    Dying from a Heart Disease: 1 in 5
    Dying from a Cancer: 1 in 7
    Dying from a Stroke: 1 in 23
    Dying from Electrocution: 1 in 5,000
    Bee, Snake Venomous Sting: 1 in 100,000
    Scalded by Hot Tap Water: 1 in 5,000,000
    By Falling Coconut: 1 in 250,000,000
    By a Shark Attack: 1 in 300,000,000
    Dying of a Snake Bite: 1 in 3,500,000
    Dying from Food Poisoning: 1 in 3,000,000
    Dying from Accident at Work: 1 in 43,500
    Dying in a Road Accident: 1 in 8,000


  27. As a Dane and European, it is quite interesting to see, how the attacks in Paris and Brussels are being perceived by Americans – and how they affect U.S. interest in travelling to and around on “my” continent.

    No doubt about the fact, that both Rick Steves and millions of Europeans have a major interest that this sort of traffic will go on, despite terrorist attacks now and in the future. Especially capitals and major cities depend heavily on tourists spending their hard-earned vacation currency here, there and everywhere.

    But … why not realize, that so far, attacks have hit exactly in capitals/political and economic centres, and therefore begin to explore new parts of Europe ?
    You may not have the same sorts of attractions there as in the high profile cities, like Paris, Brussels, Rome or Copenhagen.

    But still, every nation has a line or number 2, 3 and 4 cities and regions, that will also have a lot to offer. Not to mention nature and the less spoiled and downtrodden attractions, which you will only find if you venture further away from the main tourist track. Even in a small country like Denmark, go to Northern Jutland or Funen, and you will have an expenrience much different than those tourists, who only see inner Copenhagen. To some this might be an unacceptable compromise, but you can compare it to someone saying that only New York, Washington D.C., LA/SF are worth seeing in your nation …

    Yes, you may have to pass through a major airport/hub or two, where terror is a possible risk.

    No, you may not have the same shopping oppurtunities and 5-stars hotels to choose from.

    But in my opinion, going to less high-profiled cities or provinces will reward you with increased safety, a more realistic picture of European life, and not to forget – direct contact with Europeans, who don´t nessarily just see you as another tourist/source of income in a long, neverending line.

    Hope, that you´ll all enjoy Europe at some time …

  28. Posted a comment yesterday and it appears to have been removed, so I’ll post again.
    I’ve been on three previous Rick Steves tours to Europe with no issue, but I must admit the current situation makes me reconsider the tour I have scheduled in May to France. Honestly, I would probably cancel if I thought I could get any sort of refund for the tour or the airfare. I’m all in favor of “keep on traveling,” but to discount what’s going on now seems naive. ISIS has said they are training 400 fighters to wreak havoc in Europe, so I’m properly impressed by their warning. Maybe it’s time to discover what America has to offer (and no, I don’t consider that letting the terrorists “win” because apparently they want to do us harm here, too). I’ll be in Paris in May along with my other tour mates, looking over my shoulder the entire way.

  29. None of these attacks in Europe are new. None. Paris was subjected to bombings often in the 70s and 80s from communist groups. London dealt with it for decades from the IRA. The relatively bomb-free 90s and 00s were the outlier years.

    Frankly, I’d rather see a few hundred people killed every year from terrorism than watch us give up a single iota of our liberal western values. Stick it to radical Islam – visit Paris!

  30. This is my first time blogging. I appreciated all of the thoughtful comments. My wife and I have been to Europe several times and are going again this summer – multiple countries – and with 2 of my sisters who have never been to Europe. Here’s our perspective. We – like all of you – are well informed and will make our own risk decisions. Rick Steves has dual (and maybe more) perspective – decades of travel to Europe – and being in the travel business. I’m not bothered by his perspective. I am not going to live my life in fear otherwise I’d ‘shelter in place’ in my home for the rest of my life. That said, we’re not going to be reckless, so we’ll be watching the State Dept site for any travel advisories before we go. And, we are going to fully live our lives -including a lot of travel – until our knees give out!

  31. Let’s not forget those 22 souls slaughtered by extremists in the Ivory Coast. The media (and the U.S. public) seems to only care about Western tragedies.

  32. The problem is not on the ground, it is getting there by air and through the airport. For years I have been concerned about air travel but hedged my bets taking foreign carriers where possible. It is true no place in the world is safe especially at home where disaffected citizens succumb to foreign recruitment BUT we know our own neighborhoods. The main problem as I see it is that tourists are being targets in foreign countries. These are not just political activist but terrorist wanting to make an impact on innocents.

  33. I have lived in Belgium in the past, traveled on a Rick Steve’s tour to Turkey 2 weeks after 9/11 and have recently returned from a road trip of 15 European countries. I am a seasoned traveler; however I believe that it is unsafe to travel to large European cities now as there are many ISIS cells throughout Europe that are alive. I think it is prudent to wait and see how the Europeans handle this very serious, unprecarious situation. BTW I left the Paris airport 2 weeks after the Paris incident.

  34. The entire country of Belgium has a population of 11 million people.

    There are approximately 180 homicides a year in that country.

    The State of Ohio, which has approximately the same population, has on average almost 400 a year. Illinois, which is not much more populous than Belgium, with just over 12 M population, has almost 700 murders a year.

    It will take another 10 terrorist attacks like this between now and the end of the year for Belgium to become as dangerous as Ohio, and 15 more terrorist attacks like this, for Belgium to become as dangerous as Illinois.

    Yet some people here are expecting Rick Steves to recommend not to go to Europe and go to Chicago instead.

    To those ‘statistically challenged’ posters here, I will say that if you live in America you will actually enhance your chance of survival if you go to Belgium now and stay there as long as you can.

  35. We are comfortable with what’s familiar and close to home. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, crime. Nearly 100 people per day die in cars in the U.S. Have any of us stopped driving cars?

    In 1992 we lived just a few miles from the LA riots. I didn’t feel the need to buy a gun or flee to another neighborhood. Months later, on Thanksgiving, guests who heard we lived just off Florence Avenue were afraid to come! We often feel safe and comfortable with what we know, and we don’t often realize the everyday risks in our own communities.

  36. I agree wholeheartedly Henrik, my sentiments exactly…and I remember when Rick Steves was just all backroads and backdoors…there are a lot of people in other countries to enjoy in smaller regions out of sight from tourism. Take a bike ride through the countryside and meet the locals. Sounds quaint and less stressful!


  37. I am a big fan of Rick’s but as someone who spends 60 days per year working in Brussels for the EU as an independent contractor, I can tell you that this is a dramatically changing city and this rosy picture is under serious threat.The refugee crisis is a huge problem and the policing of extremist groups is widely considered a joke……..with virtually no info sharing among EU nations on watch lists, each country is starting from scratch…….open and unsecure borders have made this place far less safe and that’s a fact, just ask anyone living in this city.

  38. I think those that blame Rick here and say that he is being opportunistic… do not really KNOW him. It’s not a matter of whether his tour company continues to exist! Travel is part of his being and the same for many of us. I have been worried about our upcoming trip in late April to Paris… but after reading here and thinking about it more.. we are still going. We went last year shortly after Charlie Hebdo attack without any problems. We felt safe because of the increased security. So don’t blame Rick for a world gone crazy. Respect his motto “keep on traveling”!

  39. Heading to Spain, Morrocco, and Portugal this month. Here’s to continued travel, adventures, and looking up!

  40. Tom’s comment is right on the mark. The ineptitude of the Belgiam police force is mind boggling, The Beligian police in Mechelen (where several of my co-workers live) had the address of Salah’s safe house (mastermind of Paris attacks) but they didn’t upload the info to the national database. Turkey informed Belgium authorities that they had apprehended Bakraoui, Belgium did not seek his arrest even though he was a convicted criminal who had violated parole, guess what, he flew through Schiphol, then back to Belgium, then blew himself up at the airport this week…… can’t make this stuff up, unfortunately it’s true. Temporary residents of Brussles (like myself) and permanent residents as well, do not share Ricks optimistic views, though I like and respect him.

  41. Terror attacks aside — I’m planning a trip to Europe this summer, and wondering what is going on with all of the refugees. I’ve seen articles about how they are flooding through Europe, but the specifics are not very helpful. Lots of issues around Calais, France, where they’re trying to cross the border. Issues in Germany, where there were sexual assaults… I’ve seen sporadic reports of refugees laying down on train tracks, and refusing to let trains pass. I’m not really looking to Rick Steves to advise me on whether to be scared about terror attacks. I can assess that risk myself. However, I’m not on the ground there, and I would appreciate information that would be helpful to my travels. Do I need to avoid trains because of disruptions? R. Steves has let us know about sporadic strikes in France and Italy, and now I need to know if there are other considerations in light of the refugee situation. Can I still rely on trains? Should I be looking at planes for travels within Europe? Are there certain areas where there are makeshift tent cities that are probably best avoided? Has Rick Steves provided this information somewhere on the site, and I’ve just missed it? If so, could someone please let me know where to look??

  42. The State Department has issued a general alert for Europe. It would be helpful if Rick Steves would augment his usual information with what areas should be avoided, instead of just saying that people should continue to travel out of principle. It is now pretty obvious that Brussels has dysfunctional police departments; police departments speaking different languages; not communicating with each other sufficiently, etc. Systemic problems like that are not going to be solved overnight. Parts of Paris are also problematical. It certainly sounds like young women should be particularly cautious given the taharrush activities that happened in major German cities on New Years Eve, and maybe are still happening. This is the time for specific information, which Rick – having traveled for several decades in the area – can provide. I had not planned on visiting this year, but if I were, I would value that kind of specific information.

  43. I’ve already purchased tickets to take my two daughters to Europe for 3 1/2 weeks this summer. Will terrorists scare me away? No.

    I think Rick’s point is that each of us has the power to let the terrorists win or lose. Cancel a trip to Europe and deny myself the freedom to travel where I want? They win. Keep on exercising my freedom to travel? We win.

    How many deadly school shootings in the US over the past year? How many people keep their kids home from school because of the threat of a school shooting?

    Keep on traveling!

  44. Should we go to northern Nigeria so that Boko Haram can see we are standing with Nigeria? Or visit markets in Syria or Iraq in solidarity with the civilians there? Or head for Somalia for a back door experience in Mogadishu? I think it would be entirely rational to say that, as interesting a cultural experience as those places might present, it wouldn’t be worth the risk to go as things stand today. Now, I’m not saying that Brussels is in that category. Only that it is not at all unreasonable to make decisions about where to vacation considering the potential for terrorist violence. Some people will say that urban Europe is worth taking on that risk; others will say, the world is full of fascinating places where terrorist attacks are far less likely. But the risk in urban Europe is real, and it should not be denied.(Ask yourself why your travel insurance doesn’t cover losses due to terrorism; insurers make unsentimental cost-benefit analyses about the risks they are willing to cover and the risks they find unacceptable.)

    Comparing the risk for terrorist attacks in Europe to American murder rates is apples and oranges. Most murders in the US are committed by murderers who know their victim. These terrorist attacks–Belgium, Paris, Turkey, and Tunisia–are deliberately attacking civilians in airports, public transit, restaurants, concert venues, beaches, shopping areas, and museums. Exactly the places that tourists are likely to go. Believe me, if the murder rate in Ohio were concentrated on hitting tourists in airports and the like, you can be sure that I would avoid changing planes in Cleveland and Cincinnati if I could.

    I plan to ‘keep on traveling’ myself–both to Europe and to Asia on business this summer. But I am under no illusions that my European visits are some kind of statement of defiance to terrorists, or that those who choose to substitute less risky travel for European travel are ‘scaredy cats.’

  45. Wow Janice Amen your post as pretty much sums up the realism of traveling to areas being a “tourist!” Under the radar is a better choice until proven otherwise!

  46. It may have taken 47 postings to get here but … Janice’s March 27 post has given us a level of clear writing and logic that was overdue. The contrast between her perspective and “Stand with Brussels …And Keep on Traveling” and “What Does the Travel Alert Mean?” is obvious. With no mention of “monk-made brews”, “pluralism” or “tragic bloodshed”, she gets to the key points in this sad issue. Kudos for a posting which Rick Steves should have written at the outset.

  47. I believe Steves is absolutely right because travelling let us know many values about each other from the first hand experience and nothing could change that decision not even a politician! So if you want to learn about the World and besides learning having fun is crucial that is the main reason we travel. The joy the sophisticated time we spend during travelling is not compared to anything else.I was a tour guide between 1991-2000 and the joy could only be lived not described.

  48. In reading all of this, I am wondering why Rick has failed to respond to any of these emails? Does he honestly believe that the “keep on traveling” mantra is making those of us with current and eminent travel plans with his tours feel more comfortable? Day after day since the latest incident, we have been bombarded by comments from the press and advice from the government. I leave in a month. I am very nervous. Do I have any options to get out of taking this tour? This will be my fourth RS trip. I am not a novice. This is a whole different situation. I want some answers other than rosy catch phrases.

  49. Suggesting that Mr Steves’ opinion were tantamount to recommending travel to Iraq or Syria is a category error born of either misjudgement or the perception that the emotional intensity of an argument can supervene its fundamental weakness.

    Not to endorse all of the Israeli state’s reactions to terrorism, but at least its people understand that refusal to be terrorised is fundamental. Part of that is continuing to evaluate odds rationally. So yes, tourist travel to a war zone is not a good idea, not least because so few people do it anyone who tried it would be taken, perhaps literally, for a spy…but rational evaluation of the situation tells me that compared to Syria and Iraq, Brussels and Paris might as well be my American, middle-class, suburb.

    It is possible that Mr Steves’ opinion were influenced by his interests, as he is human, but that is different to the calculated attempt to endanger the public for which some here were quick to take it. In any event, I believe that the greatest factor influencing him is his familiarity with places many of the rest of us have in mind only when something horrible happens there.

  50. Tom is a fear monger and a big reason why people get scared. Everywhere on this planet can be dangerous especially the USA where people die violent deaths every day. If you want to highlight the importance being a savvy/safe traveler with your head on a swivel, then go right ahead. That’s common sense. But your spin on Brussels is a classic example of fear mongering. It is no more dangerous than many cities and, quite frankly, way more charming. Stay home Tom. One less person in line to get a beer in Belgium.

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