If there’s a patron saint of travel advice, Rick Steves is arguably the heir to the role. The Edmonds-based travel guru brings his advice on European travel for two lectures at the Admiral Theater in Bremerton this Sunday, his first appearance in Kitsap County in a long time, he said.
Some of Steves’ advice is timeless, such as how to craft a good itinerary, or how to identify the most important places to go and things to do on one’s trip, he said. Other advice is timely and changes depending on current conditions: What’s it like this year? What are the crowds like? What’s new?
I’ve been back to Europe five or six times since COVID and the energy is there
“I only have about an hour and a half to share these ideas,” Steves said. “So my challenge is to figure out what’s the most practical and helpful hour-and-a-half that I can share with all these people that go to the theater in Bremerton.”
For the past few years, COVID-19 has been the biggest issue affecting travel, but that’s beginning to change, Steves said.
“We’re coming out of COVID and I’m looking at my slideshow and I’m realizing that’s kind of old news,” he said. “I’ve been to Europe on three different trips this year and I just want to share for people what’s going on. What are the challenges? What’s the impact of the war in Ukraine? What’s the impact on crowds? How do you manage getting into museums when they want a reservation, and so on?”
Steves said after returning to Europe for the first time after a COVID-imposed hiatus, he wasn’t sure what he’d find. He was worried the mom and pops, bed and breakfasts, and cafes he loved would be boarded up.
Thankfully, his fears were unwarranted.
“That’s the good news to me, is the energy in the streets is there,” he said. “In fact, it’s there with gusto because people just said, hell no. We’re going to be embracing life like we did before COVID.”
Steves referred to the “revenge travel” phenomenon, with people making up for travel opportunities lost during the pandemic. And, due to the nature of social media and crowdsourcing information, everyone is going to the same sites and complaining about the crowds, Steves noted.
“As far as I’m concerned, you can get rid of the top 10 percent of all the sites where 90 percent of the travelers are going, and Europe would still be a great place to travel,” he said. “So you’ve got to decide, are you going to go to Anne Frank’s house and wait in that line and suffer through all those crowds? And maybe the answer is yes, and that’s great. Or are you going to say, I’m going to leave that to the mobs, and I’m going to go to the Dutch Resistance Museum — which is actually a better site and nobody goes there? There’s alternatives if you want to avoid the crowds.”
One of the biggest changes people should be aware of is that more places are requiring reservations. That was a practice that started during the pandemic, but has become permanent for many sites. “They realized this is a very handy way to control the crowds,” he noted.
Steves said he’s excited to impart his knowledge with those attending his lectures at the Admiral Theater.
“If people are enjoying travel, if they’re dreaming about travel, if they’ve got a trip coming up in the next 10 or 15 years, there’s one place to be, and that’s the Admiral Theater this weekend in Bremerton, because I’m going to be going over there. I’m excited to be venturing over to Bremerton,” he said.
Rick Steves at the Admiral Theater
Rick Steves’ For the Love of Europe at the Admiral Theater, 515 Pacific Ave., Bremerton.
- 3 p.m. Oct. 8. Doors open at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. Buy tickets.
- 6 p.m. Oct. 8. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Tickets are $20. Buy tickets.
Featured photo: Courtesy of Rick Steves