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What is RSS and why do I care?

If you're not familiar with blogs or using an RSS reader to subscribe to blog feeds, this is for you. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and at its most basic it provides a way for you subscribe to a feed. Once you subscribe to my feed, every time an update is posted you will automatically get a notice that there is something new, along with a link that will bring you directly to my blog page.

The first thing you will want to do is figure out how you want to receive the notice (in other words, the feed). The notice can come to you in a variety of ways, either through your e-mail program (Outlook on Windows, or Mail on a Mac), or on some other type of news reader, like Google Reader.

There are a ton of news readers, almost all of them free. For bare bones information on news readers, take a look at All Business: Choosing an RSS Reader or How to Choose an RSS Reader. For me, the simplest method is to have feeds delivered to my e-mail inbox, since I check my e-mail several times a day anyway and will quickly see if there is anything new coming from any of my feeds.

If you want more information about RSS and the variety of reader options, take a look at this article or just Google RSS Readers.

Once you have decided how to receive the feed, just click on the Subscribe to Blog Feed link (here, or on the right side of the page), then choose the method you want (for e-mail delivery, choose the 'View XML Feed' option. Now you will get a notice any time I post something new to my blog.

What ever happened to . . .

For those of you who remember that I put out a newsletter with tidbits of information about travel in Europe: Congratulations, you have excellent long-term memory! Looking back at my records, it has been well over a year since I last sat down and put something together that remotely resembled a newsletter. Blame it on my busy schedule, blame it on moving after 18 years in the same house, blame it on simple procrastination.

Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Red Smith was once quoted as saying "There's nothing to writing. You just sit down at the typewriter, open a vein, and bleed it out, drop by drop." That's a pretty accurate description of the writing process for me, so I tend to put it off. I had a few calls recently from past customers, wondering if I am still in business. Mea culpa, it's time I made some contact with all of you.

Because a lot of my tour business involves private groups (a family, or a small group of friends), the information about their tours never makes it to my web site. To all the world it may look like I'm sitting at home twiddling my thumbs, but last year (2008) was my busiest to date, with over 100 days spent leading tours through England, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. When not in Europe (and even when I am), I still help people plan their independent trips, as well as booking Eurail passes, rental cars and hotels for many of them.

Despite the economic gloom and doom the news keeps giving us, 2009 looks like it will be every bit as busy as last year. People are still traveling! If I can be of any help to you in planning your next European adventure, just let me know.

Bryan's New Europe Travel Blog

To get news out in a more timely fashion, I've started a new blog on my web site (obviously, since you're reading this on my blog). I'll still try to put out a newsletter every month or two, but most of my news will be posted here on my blog. You'll find the latest information on travel in Europe, as well as lots of other great stuff like recipes for some of my favorite European foods, schedules of upcoming travel seminars, tips and tricks on traveling in Europe, and answers to reader questions about European travel. I will also include photos and videos from my recent travels.

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