Friday, August 31, 2007

Live from Prague : Rick Steves' Prague 2007 Book Review

My husband Tom and I have toted our Rick Steves all around Europe. We love him. His pages are dog-eared and scribbled on and reread.

One time, in a moment teetering on tragic, we nearly left Rick on a German bus. Luckily Tom accelerates under pressure and although the incident left us pale and shaken, we were reunited with our trusty friend. I can’t say enough about German/Austrian Rick, London Rick, Paris Rick, or Italy Rick.

But in Prague, we got a little hitch in our giddyup. I find it hard to say out loud, but we had a squabble, Rick, Tom and I.

First he left us hanging on his orientation tour on the tram. We didn’t realize the route wasn’t circular and we ended up in the suburbs. It’s ok, we travel low to the ground, we figured out that the trams don’t pick up where they let out and managed to get back into town. It’s just that Rick is usually so thoughtful and careful with his directions. Unfortunately, not so much in the Czech Republic.

There are only shadows of his signature walking tours in Prague, only a few of his snappy one-liners that make you snicker inappropriately in national monuments and his historical write-ups are uninspired, virtually odorless.

Cataclysmically, in a decision about as user-friendly as a wet cat, Rick chose to feature the English place names on his maps and write-ups; yet all signage and other city maps (even the “English” ones) show Czech place names. I think we earned a degree in cross-referencing.

All I can say is that I hope Rick rewrites Prague 2007 so the rest of you can manage to hurl his 2008 book over the very high bar that he has set for himself.

(Let it be noted for the record that as Rick-devotees, we did not purchase any other guides for Prague. Possibly Rick’s is a shining gem amongst the muzzy rest of them.)
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