Rome by the Dozen: 12 Images of The Eternal City

Anyone who’s ever been to Rome knows that it’s impossible to contain all of its magnificence in a handful of photos, but that doesn’t stop most travelers from trying. There are (quite literally) millennia of things to see, explore, taste, and experience in this city that was once the center of the largest empire in…

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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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It’s All German (and Turkish) to Me

One of my linguistics professors once said to me, “Language is culture.” He didn’t mean that it’s a part of one’s culture but that it both encompasses and permeates the culture. It defines—and is defined by— it. And whenever I travel, discovering the quirky phrases that make a culture tick helps me to get inside the…

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12 Hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico Part 2: From Boricua to Mofongo

After Tarzan-ing through Puerto Rico’s tropical forest, we freshened up on the ship and headed back out into the city of San Juan. We opted out of a ship excursion because we craved an authentic feel for the place. But we’d already discovered that the guidebooks we bought were lacking in any real content, context,…

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How to Find Great Values in Venice

Centuries-old former palaces crackle and peel away in the thick, briny air. Bottom floors of old merchants’ warehouses sit empty and still cling half-heartedly to their romantic patina of a time long past, slowly but beautifully decaying under the Venetian heat, humidity, and rising waters. As I glide down the canal on a slow vaporetto,…

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