Travel the World: Spain offers a wealth of travel information for those intending to travel and a generous overview for the armchair traveler. Chipper host Rick Steves sets the brisk travel pace by diving right into an exploration of Barcelona at the start of this extensive and colorful travelogue of Spain's Granada, Segovia, and Mediterranean coast. Steves's video has lively footage of street scenes, countryside, monuments, and buildings. His interests lie in the history of Spain, as well as the history of the unique architectural features of each city, all of which he shares in lovely sound-bite-quality snippets of narrative. For instance, the "Modernisme" structures of Barcelona's north side droop above the streets "like melting ice cream." The resort-laden beach region Costa del Sol is "so commercialized, it's interesting." Tourists from all over Europe "bake like game hens on skewers... under a reliable sun." He quickly moves on to Gibraltar, a quirky place he celebrates because "it's like a bit of old England... in Spain!" We go into a grocery store with him for a quick shopping trip to pick up those essential British comestibles: Wheatabix, Marmite, and biscuits. Steves does ascribe to the "when in Rome" mentality, and he follows the local merchants to see where they eat, in order to get the best deal, and to experience something a little more authentic to the area. He also encourages the viewer, even if on a budget, to take time to eat in the best restaurant in each region just to experience the culinary specialties, such as the roast suckling pig of Segovia. Tips on taking cabs, trains (seats must be reserved ahead of time), and where one should take time to walk and wander are offered in rapid but regular interludes between visits to museums, monuments, and other sights. Steves manages to pack in the historic and aesthetic sights that make up Spain's legacy but also finds the smaller, quirky aspects of each place and hints that they have as much to offer as the whirlwind tour of typical tourist traps. --Gilia Angell
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