Other Fish in the Sea

28 Jun

Look at that... he knows I've been untrue but he still wants to tell me about these cows. Rick's quite a guy.

I’ve been checking out a fair amount of travel videos from the library.  It’s fair to say the Rick Steves is my gold standard but even I cannot live on the Rickster alone.  I’m totally biased in my take on other travel shows now but I keep checking out the competition.  And I like to tell myself it’s not just so I can be relieved to go back to my one and only.


I like Samantha Brown.  She gives good information and is outgoing and spunky just like Mr. Steves.  I’d be a bigger fan of her if it wasn’t so dang obvious that she’s traveling for the Travel Channel.  She shops, dines and stays in upscale places.  She also packs an entire Macy’s department store for each trip.  I watched an episode on Switzerland in which she wore three different pairs of boots, two winter coats, four hats and four scarves.  It could easily be said that since Sam is a lady that she needs to dress up.  No one wants to see a frumpy female talking about the wonders of the Alps, right?  The effect is that I’m distracted.  I don’t remember what sights she saw, only that she changed into a different beret to do it.  I think that I like my tour guides to be bigger geeks, honestly.

Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown


Speaking of geeks, I really enjoy Burt Wolf’s non-stop trivia tidbits.  I have a co-worker that teases me by saying “oh, no.  Karli is going to make us learn again” because I like to randomly throw out useless trivia.  Maybe Burty and I could have a trivia off?  But maybe not because homey is always on cruises.  It’s safe to say that his travel shows are geared towards the older traveler.  Though there is some charm in having a floating hotel room on a river there is also the lack of spontaneity.  And the addition of guest speakers.  Mr. Wolf also has the tendency to use the same musical cadence repeatedly when speaking so it’s kind of like listening to the same car commercial over and over.  I’d definitely watch his stuff again because though I’m not a fan of his mode of travel the information is fantastic.

Burt Wolf.com


I think that this is the wrong kind of geek for me.  This is “stop, you are embarassing yourself” kind of geek.  Many a time I find the cheese level beats out the information.  The visuals are fantastic as many of his shows are taped in HD.  He’s contributed to NPR shows and National Geographic Traveler magazine so he’s got street cred.  His facts are good but his pronunciation of foreign words is pretty aggravating.  Someone else writes Rudy’s script for him, perhaps they could also write out a phonetic guide?  It’s not that his accent is bad (it is) but that he simply says things incorrectly.  I’d hate to see a bunch of Americans asking a Florence tour guide about “Broon-uh-leh-ski” when it should be “Broon-uh-lesh-ee”.  You call it nitpicking but I call it aggravating.  When it comes to language I’m easily irked.  Just ask the Mister.  He has to watch baseball with me and those announcers aren’t so much mispronouncing things as making up new words.

Rudy Maxa.com


I was going to try and make this sound less harsh but these guys are a bunch of nut jobs.  Plain and simple.  While it’s nice to learn about the mistakes others have made it’s puzzling to watch a paid “professional” making them in front of you.  One guide forgot to validate his bus ticket and his train ticket in the same show and paid the fine.  Another guide drags us to a Venice film opening and then makes us watch as she tries to grab Oliver Platt’s attention.  Because they’re so dang kooky they also manage to get into interesting situations.  I keep getting these because this is my kind of reality TV.  So random and unfocused but these guides are really trying.  They are just traveling with very little scripted information and a bunch of energy.  It’s somewhat like watching a real traveler released into the wilds.  You never know what’s going to happen.  And if you find one you like, you can download wallpaper of their face.  Yes, really.

The official Globe Trekker website



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