Apr 12

Swiss town makes Rick Steves honorary mayor & citizen

Gimmelwald, April 1, 2012. “this is the town that Rick made”

A small village off the beaten path, Gimmelwald was on Swiss maps but not in any guidebooks until Rick Steves christened it his top recommendation for tourists visiting Switzerland. Steves, a resident of the Great Pacific Northwest, is famous for his “back door” travel guide series and media empire.

Peter Hansli, Gimmelwald mayor and owner of the “Monk’s Inn”, expressed his gratitude to Steves: “Rick put our village on the map. Without him, our village would have died and I’d be working at a big bland hotel in Interlaken. Instead, we all transformed our farms into inns – some travellers even pay to stay in the barn!” Many local businesses had already posted thankfulness plaques and “recommended by Steve” signs (see insert). “We wanted to give Rick something special. We don’t have a city gate so we gave him a key to the gondola – so he can visit us whenever he wants.”

Mr. Steves could not be reached for comment – his office said he was travelling in Amsterdam for pleasure. “It’s fair to assume he will be thrilled, however,” commented his assistant. “The key will go nicely with the plaque Gimmelwald already gave us for the store here in Edmonds.”