字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Hi. I'm Rick Steves-immersed in the wonders of Venice — and back for part two of our three part travel skills special. This time, we're going beyond the sights, bringing you more practical tips to help make your European trip fun and hassle-free. Thanks for joining us. The skills we'll cover in this episode: planning, packing, safety and-perhaps the most rewarding skill of all-connecting with locals. Today more people than ever are enjoying Europe. And it's lots of fun snapping photos of the predictable biggies and checking out the cultural icons. But you can go deeper than traditions put on display for tourists. A more intimate Europe survives. You find it best by becoming a temporary local. Drop in on a dog show. Join the village parade, make new friends where there are no postcards. In this three-part travel skills special, we start in the Netherlands, venture through Germany, dip into Italy, sweep through Switzerland and France before finishing in England. In this second episode we travel through the highlights of Northern Italy: Venice, Siena, and the Cinque Terre-my favorite stretch of the Riviera. For most people, Venice is a must-see destination. To be here, on this unique island, amid all this culture and history is truly a wonder. But, with its popularity, St. Mark's Square-in mid-day-can come with over-whelming crowds. It'll take an hour for these folks to get into the church. With so many people traveling these days, if you're not on the ball, crowds can be a real problem. To me, there are two kinds of travelers: those who waste valuable time waiting in long lines like this and smarter travelers who don't. Most lines you see-like this one at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence-are not people waiting to get in. They're waiting to buy tickets to get in but there are other ways to get tickets. For example, these people at the Louvre in Paris could avoid this notorious line if they simply bought the city museum pass (which lets you go directly through the turnstile). You can also make reservations-in places like Rome's Borghese Gallery-to get directly into crowded sights by phone or on the web. Or you can arrange your schedule to avoid crowds. The ancient Pantheon is mobbed through the day...but literally all yours early or late. Travel is fraught with cultural differences. Celebrate them ...it's fun...that's why we're here. Rick: Buongiorno. Hotel clerk: Buongiorno. Your birthday date, please. On forms, fill in the date European style: day...month...year. Hotel clerk: OK, here is your key. Second floor. Rick: Grazie. Hotel clerk: Prego. And over here the ground floor is the ground floor. So, what Europeans call the first floor is the American second floor...and their second floor is what we'd call the third. By the way...cute little European hotels...often without elevators. In order to travel well, you need to be engaged. Weights and other measurements throughout Europe use the metric system. Give it a try. Here's about half a kilo ...that's roughly a pound. All over Europe, produce-in this deli, cheese and meat-is sold in 100-gram increments-about a quarter pound-plenty for a hearty sandwich. Butcher: This is a kilogram. So, one kilo, hundred grams. Ten little one makes kilogram. Hundred grams, she looks like this. This is 100 grams. This is 100 grams. And this is 100 grams. Good enough to make one sandwich. And when they write their numbers, Europeans use commas and periods differently than we do. For example, one and a half kilos looks like this...and there's one thousand grams in a kilo. And you might as well write your numbers European style, too: cross your sevens because a one looks like this. And for temperatures they use Celsius rather than Fahrenheit-here's a memory aid: 28 C is the same as 82 F...pretty warm. During the Middle Ages, Venice was Europe's trading superpower, but today the big business is tourism. All over Europe-wherever there are tourists, you'll find tourist information offices. But be aware, while handy, their purpose is to help you spend money in their town. Many are privatized. Funded by hotels and big tour companies, they can be more interested in selling tickets and services than just giving information. Still, drop by to pick up a city map, learn about special events, and so on. When it comes to information, like anywhere, be a savvy consumer. You can explore Europe on your own or with a tour. Either way can be the right choice. Going on your own gives you flexibility, freedom, and you can connect more intimately with Europe. Many wish they could go on their own but are nervous about traveling independently. Equipped with good information and a determination to travel smart, you can be your own tour guide. Guidebooks-print or digital-are vital tools. There are guidebooks for everyone: shoppers, opera buffs, campers, seniors...even vegetarians. Invest in a guidebook that fits your style. But for many travelers a guided bus tour can also be a good choice. After thirty years of tour guiding experience, I've found that for the right person, choosing the right tour can reward that traveler with some of the best travel experiences possible. Good tours come with expert, passionate teachers for guides, small groups, and take full advantage of the economy and efficiency that can come with group travel. Tour guide: Our hotel is literally just down there. And five minutes that way is St. Mark's Square. Five minutes that way is the Rialto Bridge. If we were staying on the outside of town or some cruise ship, we could not be here. The benefits of being a small group are fantastic. We get to enjoy Venice as it should be enjoyed. OK, let's get to our hotel. Barbara, you're in room 214... Organizing the top sights into a smooth and stress free package, a tour provides good comfortable hotels, door-to-door bus service-except in Venice, of course-and an efficient sightseeing schedule at a fine price. But understand how standard tours make their money. The retail price is often too good to be true-designed just to get you on board. Most of their profit actually comes in Europe. For instance, here in Venice, your guide is sure to arrange an entertaining glass blowing demonstration. And it's always followed by a shopping opportunity. Guides are generally paid a token wage and make most of their income through tips, selling optional sightseeing tours, and kickbacks on your shopping. Seeing the great sights of Europe from a cruise ship is more popular than ever. Cruising is a huge and growing industry. Like the big bus tours, it can be efficient and economical-and the base cost is reasonable. Again, the serious profit is made elsewhere-in your drinking, gambling, shopping, and selling you the on-shore excursions. Each ship carries thousands of tourists effortlessly from famous port to famous port. Passengers have choices. You can spend shore time sightseeing in organized tour groups. Or you can explore on your own. There are clear options. For the independent traveler who takes advantage of a good guidebook, the ship can provide an efficient springboard for getting the most out of a series of quick one-day stops. Anywhere in Europe, you can stay in touch easily with the Internet. And, each year there are more good reasons to be empowered by on line tools, clever apps, and communication innovations. Internet access-often for free-is everywhere, from cafes to trains to hotels. Your various mobile devices are important travel tools. Before leaving home understand their limits, costs and abilities. It's time to say ciao to Venice and head for Tuscany. Our next stop: Siena. Siena is a stony wonderland...an architectural time-warp where pedestrians rule and the present feels like the past. Its main square, Il Campo, is enchanting. Five-hundred years ago, Italy was the center of humanism. Here, it's the city hall bell tower rather than the church spire that soars above the town. And today, the beloved square feels like a beach without sand. At the edge of Siena's medieval center, our hotel's garden is a fine place for reviewing some ideas on itinerary planning. Start your travel experience early by enjoying the planning stage. Talk to other travelers, choose books and movies with your trip in mind, nurture your travel dreams. Then develop a thoughtful itinerary in steps: Brainstorm a wish list of destinations, put them in a logical geographical order, then write down how many days you'd like to spend in each place and then tally it up. 32 days. And now you've got to fit it with your vacation time. I've got 21 days off, that means I'm going to have to do some serious cutting here...minimize redundancy...can't do both the Italian Riviera and the French Riviera. Keep a balance between big cities and small towns. This is heavy on big cities. I think I'll have to cut Rome. Greece takes too much time to get to. It'll have to be on the next trip. Rather than spending an entire day on the train I can save a day in my itinerary by flying or taking the overnight train, from Bavaria to Venice. I still have to cut one day. I'll have to tighten up on Paris, three days rather than four and I've got it-21 days. It fits. Now fine-tune your itinerary. Anticipate any closed days. For instance, in Paris most museums are closed on Tuesday. Take your trip to the next level by researching events you'll encounter along the way: concerts, sporting events, and festivals. Also, consider building in a few slack days...two days on the beach midway through the trip; that'll be very nice. One-night stops are hectic. Try for at least two nights per stop. And remember...open jaws-that's flying into one city and out of another city-that's very efficient. Finally, be realistic about how much you can cover. You'll always find places you can't get to. I really wanted to get to Greece, but squeezing it in would rush my entire trip. Assume you will return. Travel is freedom. It's rich with choices and exciting decisions. That's part of the appeal. Factor in your comfort level with doing things on the fly. Some people have a great trip with nothing planned at all. Others have a great trip by nailing down every detail before they leave home. I like to keep some flexibility in my itinerary-perhaps I'll fall in love with Siena and stay an extra day. Also, plan thoughtfully to get the best weather and the least crowds. The most grueling thing about travel over here is the heat and crowds of summer-especially in Italy. Check the weather charts. My rough rule of thumb: north of the Alps is like Seattle or Boston; south of the Alps is like Southern California or Florida. I prefer visiting the Mediterranean countries in spring or fall and I travel north of the Alps in summer. We happen to be here in August. And it's hot. Winter travel is a whole different scene. And it comes with pros and cons too: flights are cheaper, museums are empty, and the high culture-symphonies, opera and so on-is in full swing. But in the winter it rains more and gets dark early-especially in the north; and many activities and sights are closed, or run on shorter hours. While small towns, outdoor sights, and resorts can be sleepy; big cities are vibrant and festive throughout the year. By the way, while Europe has little violent crime; it comes with plenty of petty purse snatching and pickpocketing. European thieves target Americans-not because they're mean, but because they're smart. We're the ones with all the goodies in our day bags, wallets, and purses. There are all kinds of scams. Remember: thieves don't dress like thieves. Thieves can be mothers with babies in their arms and fast-fingered children at their sides. Thieves work to distract you. They'll spill something on you or shove a cardboard sign in your face, and so on. You're not likely to get mugged, but if you're not careful, you could get pick pocketed or purse snatched. How can you foil thieves without feeling like you're constantly on guard? A great way to handle this problem is to zip up and secure your valuables. I like to wear a money belt. It's a nylon pouch you tie around your waist and tuck in like your shirt tail. In it, you carry just your essentials so you can wear it comfortably all day long. For instance, I keep my drivers' license, a couple of credit cards, my passport, my big money, and my train tickets. As an added precaution, before my trip, I email myself all my important personal information. Venice and Siena are wonderful cities, but they're very popular. Throughout Europe, I make a point to venture beyond the famous stops. In Bosnia, watch daredevils jump from a bridge rebuilt after the war...In England, climb your own private peak...in the north of Spain, you can join the pilgrims on the route to Santiago. I love the charm of the Cinque Terre-five remote and traffic-free villages wedged in the most rugged bit of the Italian Riviera, trying to hide out from today's modern world as they did from pirates centuries ago. Each town is a character. This is Vernazza. While this stretch of coast was an exciting discovery for me 30 years ago, it's pretty touristy now. And that's the case with much of Europe. But Europe still has its untouristy corners. And, even in popular places like this, you can still find your own back doors. Venture away from the spiffed-up commercial zones. Explore. Vernazza has no modern hotels, and that's actually good news. It keeps away the high-maintenance travelers-those who demand all the four-star comforts. You can sleep in humble pensions, move in with families renting out spare rooms, and enjoy the classic small town Riviera experience. Whether the place is touristy or not, you can always connect with the locals. Offer to catch a line... And leave the crowded main street. Support the local entrepreneurs. Rick: Come si chiama? Children: Conchiglia. Rick: Conchiglia. Shell in English. Quanto costa? Children: Due ori. Rick: Due ori, OK. Good. Grazie. Ciao. Years ago, the language barrier was a big problem. But today's Europe is increasingly bilingual-and English is its second language. These days it seems any place interested in your business speaks your language. While it's nothing to brag about, I speak only English and manage fine. Still, a few tips help. It's rude to assume everybody speaks English. To be polite, I start conversations by asking, "Do you speak English?-Parlez-vous anglais? Sprechen Zie Englisch?" Whatever. If he says no, I do my best in his language. Generally after a couple of sentences he'll say, "Actually I do speak a little English." Okay, your friend is speaking your language. Do him a favor by speaking slowly, clearly. Enunciate. No slang, no contractions, internationally understood words. Instead of asking for the restroom, ask "toilet?" Instead of asking, "Can I take your picture?" point to your camera and ask "Photo?" Make educated guesses and proceed confidently. This must be a pharmacy. And at the station, this sign shows trains arriving and trains departing. Communicate with a curiosity and an appetite for learning. In Europe, each region has its own gestures. There's also a gesture for; I'm tired of carrying my bags. Whether you're battling crowds or exploring the back doors there's only one way to avoid this. Packing light is essential for happy travel. Think about it: Have you ever met anybody who, after five trips, brags, "Every year I pack heavier"? Learn now or you'll learn later the importance of being mobile with your luggage. Pack light. While large, unwieldy suitcases are bad for this kind of travel, smaller, carry-on sized wheelie bags are popular and can work well. If you don't mind slinging your suitcase over your shoulder, a bag like this works great. This is a convertible suitcase/backpack. It's designed to be as big as you can carry onto most airplanes. I use it as a backpack but if you zip away these padded shoulder straps, it converts into a soft-sided suitcase. You'll see all kinds of travelers and bags on the road. Remember, you'll be walking a lot with your bags-especially if traveling by train. Before your trip, try this test. Load everything up, and go downtown. Window shop for an hour with all your gear. If you can't do that comfortably, go home, spread everything out on the living room floor, and reconsider. Pick up each item one at a time and look at it. Ask yourself, "Will I use this swimming mask enough to justify carrying it around?" Not "Will I use it?" It'd be great fun here on the Riviera. But will I use it enough to feel good about carrying it through the Swiss Alps? Frugal as I may be, I'd rather buy it here than pack it all around Europe. Don't pack for the worst scenario. Pack for the best scenario and if you need something more, buy it over here. If you run out of toothpaste, that's no problem. Then, you've got a great excuse to shop around over here... and pick up something you think...might be toothpaste.