Becoming a Stark: Archery at Winterfell

Tourism based on TV and pop culture is an odd bird, but I have to admit that Game of Thrones is making me a believer. While its story and settings are brilliantly fictitious, many of the filming locations have their own historic, cultural, and eye-catching charms that can be worth a visit for even non-GOT…

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Italian Experiences with Rick Steves

It’s been more than Rick Steves has led one of our Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, but you’d never know it. His enthusiasm, energy, stamina, knowledge, and love of Europe seems only to have increased with those passing years.  Along with 28 happy tour members, my guide colleague Ben Cameron and I (we’re Rick’s assistants on…

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Summer Nights in Beaune

France. Burgundy. Beaune.  Any one of these place names might conjour thoughts of remarkable wines, pungent cheeses, or exquisite meals—and rightly so. But in the last few years, Beaune has been luring visitors to linger after their decadent dinners and explore the town with its Animations Nocturnes (Evening Animations). Beaune is a picture of bustling…

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Conquering Fears and Storming a Castle in Austria

My friend Julie once experimented with “The Year of Trying New Things.” Whenever she encountered something she hadn’t tried  or didn’t want to try before (activities, food, routes, ways of thinking), rather than say no to it, she opted to try it…just for kicks. When Rick and I are faced with the choice of doing…

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Germany

Confession time: I’m a last-minute packer, sometimes finishing up just hours before a flight. Fortunately, I pack so often that I’ve got my incomprehensible-to-most system down pat. On most trips, procrastination serves as stimulus to “get ‘er done.” Rare is it that something needed is forgotten at home. I get to the airport with sufficient…

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12 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico Part 1: Welcome to the Jungle

Sunscreen: check. Bathing suit: check. Eager-beaver attitude: check. Our first port was calling our name, and I, for one, was ready to hit the beach and take in a year’s supply of Vitamin D in the form of Caribbean afternoon sunshine. As we packed our day bags with our necessary gear, a husky Italian voice…

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