>In the fall of 1997 Reid Coen was the guide for our first European tour. He was employed by Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door, whose philosophy of travel is to immerse the traveler in the culture and the history of the country and give that traveler the skills to travel anywhere in the world by themselves if they so choose. Since this was my first travel experience with a guide, I had no benchmark by which to judge Reid's skills or expertise. After three additional tours with this same agency, I have come to realize that Reid is a truly gifted individual who was part of an exceptional travel company. Our travel time on the bus was occupied with instruction in the history, current events, culture, language, and the monetary system of the country we were about to visit. After a few days of travel, Reid's skills as a group leader brought a bunch of individuals together as a cohesive and well functioning group. We were all appreciated for our uniqueness but learned to respect our responsibilities to the group. Our travel itinerary was well organized and communicated verbally and in the written word which was posted at our accommodations and, if we were in transit, on the bus. This does not imply that Reid was inflexible; if the opportunity arose and we could take advantage of a special event, Reid could creatively make arrangements to take advantage of a situation. Thanks to his creativity, my wife and I had the opportunity to take a romantic gondola ride in Venice and toast the city with a glass of champagne in the center of Piazza San Marco.
In April of 2006, we joined Reid and his wife, Julie, for a tour of Greece. In the interim between our first and last trip with Reid his exceptional skills as a tour guide had been honed to a high level of expertise. However, since this tour was to take place under the banner of RC Touring (now Imprint Tours), he was able to correct the few drawbacks of our first tour with him. On the Greece tour our accommodations where much more comfortable and his choice of establishments for our group meals were always a gastronomical delight. The years between our first and last trip together had mellowed Reid like a fine wine. He had retained his wonderful sense of humor, infectious laughter, creativity, curiosity, sense of awe, and personal warmth. Reid has become a great friend, not merely a gifted guide.