02/21/2012 08:10 am ET Updated Apr 22, 2012

My Dog Ate Europe

Each year at our annual all-staff meeting, the crew in our Travel Center (our Edmonds, Washington, resource library for travelers) gives a report. Like good tour guides, they work with all kinds of people, field thousands of questions, and exercise lots of patience trying to maintain the attitude that "there's no such thing as a stupid question." Nevertheless, some questions are good for a polite chuckle. Here are some "interesting" emails that our heroic staff received and responded to in the last year:

  • We are in Lisbon, and found your Portugal guidebook (5th edition) on the shelf at Livraria Barateira between "How to Make Love All Night (And Drive a Woman Wild)" and "The Journals of Anais Nin (volume 6)." Hot stuff.
  • I recently saw one of your programs. In my estimation you are a slob. I would never take that little on a trip. I always take 5 day attires and 5 night attires. I always carry 35 lbs. You must look like a true American and not a European. I would hate to be seen with you in the USA. Do you own a tuxedo? Yes I do need formal clothing as I attend theatre, concerts and the symphony and most tickets state elegant dress. The company SAS states that you should not rewear your shoes within 48 hours so I always take 5 pairs of shoes -- 3 walking and three high heels. I also take a fur coat in the winter. I only stay at 4 star hotels. I have been traveling in Europe since the late 60's and know how they dress. I don't wear jeans in the USA so why should I wear them elsewhere. They are for farm and garden work.
  • I use a good foam earplug and the noise cancelling ear plugs over them. But, one caution: on a ten-hour flight, somehow the plane's system got stuck on Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits and for the four hours I slept it was all Michael Jackson. For about two years (literally) I couldn't get his songs out of my head!
  • What restaurant is the best place in the world to get a Belgian Waffle?
  • I used the Europe 2010 book for multiple trips to Europe. Unfortunately, my dog ate the top third of the book. Then, last week while I was in Costa Rica, my dog ate about half of the Europe Through the Back Door 2011 book too. My dog sitter thinks my dog doesn't want me to travel anymore. I'm wondering what makes Rick's books taste so good? These are the only two books she has eaten in nine years. Keep on writing!
  • In a recent email you said, "I was just hanging out with the officer whose responsibility is to monitor the supplies for the cruise ship. He told me the two most important items to keep in stock: TP for guests and rice for the predominantly Asian crew." What is "TP"?
  • Rick, Were you a disk jockey in Memphis back in the 70's and 80's?
  • I am inquiring if Rick is interested in discussing a series that pairs him up with professional cannabis strain hunters that travel the world in search of the planet's nearly extinct marijuana landrace strains.
  • I find your travel show painful to watch. You have to be the most boring TV personality on the planet. There is as much excitement as water evaporating. On the bright side, I have never missed a show and have watched many several times. I cannot explain my own behavior. Keep them coming. Have a great day. :)

  • What's the empty water bottle you mention in your guidebook for?
  • I would like to know if you provide vaccinations for Hep A, Typhoid Fever, DPT and possibly rabies.
  • I was in Rome last year and bought some chap stick at the farmacia. It came it a white plastic tube that twisted at the bottom like lipstick. It had blue lettering and the brand name had 3 letters, something like "P.N.Y." or "P.N.T." All this information has since rubbed off on my chapstick. I have friends going to Rome next week and wanted them to bring some back. Do you know the brand I'm talking about? It was in a plastic bin on the counter of the farmacia near the Spanish Steps and cost about 5 euro for one tube. Please help!
  • My husband and I love your shows on Europe so much we named our cat after you! His name is Rickety Steves.
  • In Germany, is the Black Forest free or admission price? Can I buy an animal from another country to take back home on air-flight for a fee? Does Milan have fashion shows? Can I live in England if I wanted to and what would I have to go through?
  • Hi, I am trying to figure out if I could make a little extra money while traveling in Europe giving tarot card readings. Have you seen people doing this? Where would be the best places?