be bop

Florentine live music scene

Hey party people of Florence, who’s looking to switch up their Tuesday night routine? Well Be-bop is the place to check out to get a different vibe of the city.

Every Tuesday you’re transported back to the magical time of the 60’s with their very own Beatles cover band! No matter what song you wanted to hear they knew it and the whole crowd would be singing right along too. From “Hey Jude” to “She Loves You,” the band was killing it and the audience was having a great time. With everyone dancing and singing together, you can really feel the happiness that the music gives off. Song after song, everyone was dancing the night away. Be-bop (located on Via Dei Servi 76) is a classic little bar with tables everywhere to enjoy the music and drinks!

Make sure you get there early (around 10:30 p.m.) because tables are taken super fast! But if you stay at Be-bop till about 1:30 a.m. the floor begins to clear out and that’s when the real dancing can start! It felt like the scene from “Across the Universe” when they’re dancing at the high school gymnasium.

A total TBT and with inexpensive drinks there was really nothing more to ask for! So next Tuesday when you’re debating where to go before Twice, check out Be-bop! I can assure you it’s going to be a great night!

Now that your Tuesday night is covered, let’s move onto to Wednesday! Salamanca has live music every Wednesday night. Playing covers of all the popular American songs of today and even some Italian and Spanish songs, you can bet that everyone is up and dancing. Drink menu is also reasonably inexpensive and they have a wide array to pick from!

My program is a huge fan of Salamanca and we always have a good time when we go out there! It’s never a question of what to do on Wednesday’s night, we know the party at Salamanca is the place to be! Located on Via Ghibellina 80, make sure you check this out! Salamanca is also a Mexican restaurant so it’s a great option to get a late dinner followed by a night fun and dancing.

If you ever want to transport yourself back to the times of jazz clubs and the jitterbug, make sure you check out La Cite in Santo Spirito. Every night after 10 p.m. you are transported back to a jazz club where swing dancing is the norm. If you’re into that scene or looking for something new to do you must check this place out!

It’s a little small so make sure to get there early but the atmosphere is absolutely amazing. It’s a whole other world in that bar and definitely something everyone should check out with their remaining weeks in Florence!

So party people, you now have some new options to add into your usual going out routine. Check them out and get to see a difference side of Florence that you have yet to experience!


What to expect (and how to survive) on a Ryanair flight

$10 flights to Europe. That’s right. $10 FLIGHTS TO EUROPE. FROM THE UNITED STATES. Try not to pass out from excitement. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is saying that you’ll soon be able to fly across the Atlantic Ocean for the price of a movie ticket.

If you’ve flown with Ryanair before, you understand why it’s the airline that everyone loves to hate. But if you want to see a lot of Europe on a small budget, Ryanair really can’t be beat. And what broke college student isn’t willing to make a few sacrifices for uber cheap travel?

Thanks to a recent re-brand, Ryanair is loosening up on some of its rules. But there are still a few things you need to know before your first Ryanair experience:

1. The inside of the plane looks like it was designed by the minions from Despicable Me.

And it’s truly blinding. Bring an eye-mask or wear your sunglasses if you don’t want to feel like your retinas are disintegrating.

2. Do not, under any circumstances, overpack.

Ryanair charges you for any checked bags (with fees ranging from 15 – 75 €), and you get one carry-on and one small bag for free. But luggage penalties are crazy expensive, so you’ll basically have to sell your best friend if you exceed proper size or weight in any way. Double-check the weight and measurements of all of your bags, and make sure they comply with the regulations found on Ryanair’s website.

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Want to reserve your seat so you can sit by your friend? That will be 10 €. Are you thirsty? You can pay for that soda with cash or credit card. Want some perfume? It doesn’t matter if you don’t, because they will try very hard to sell it to you anyway. Don’t expect free cookies and uninterrupted peace — you’re essentially flying in one big neon infomercial.

4. They play this at the end of every flight. (Turn your volume all the way up for the full effect.)

It’s amusing if you’re awake and horribly startling if you’re asleep. You’ve been warned.

5. Keep a positive outlook.  

Sure, all of these things are somewhat annoying. But they also might leave you with some hilarious stories. If you focus on the absurdity of the whole ordeal, flying with Ryanair is actually pretty fun.

you bleong in rome blog header

16 signs you belong in Ancient Rome

By Virginia Fay and Michelle Hayman

16. The island of Capri is your favorite vacation spot
Julius Caesar loved Capri so much he traded the larger island of Ischia for it so he could vacay there any time he wanted. If you see Capri as your own personal island, you and Caesar might have more in common than you thought.

15. You’re a linguist
Latin, the root of all other languages, was the native language of Romes in ancient times.

14. Your thighs prove you are the king of hiking
Ancient Rome revolved around the city of Rome, which was located on seven hills. Talk about constant hiking.

13. You live for myths
Romulus and Remus, raised by a wolf? Then fought to the death over the location of Rome? Sign me up.
12. Cleopatra is your idol
That style, that grace, that beauty, that drama.


11. Cats are your favorite animal
Speaking of Cleopatra, cats were brought over from Egypt to Ancient Rome on request of Julius Caesar, for Cleopatra.

10. Good food is your favorite basis for an evening with friends
No better way to get together with your fellow Roma-philes than over a multi-course meal of fresh, delicious foods just like in ancient times.
9. You love a good sports event
Chariot races may have fallen by the wayside (pity), but your enthusiasm for a good show of sportsmanship hasn’t waned.


8. You are an expert toga-tyer
TOOOGGAAA! You can probably whip up a stylish masterpiece with nothing more than an old bed sheet on hand. Just imagine what you could have done in the days when togas were standard everyday-wear.

7. Gladiator sandals are your go-to
You feel most at home with a strappy pair of sandals as your footwear. Fashion was serious business in the Roman days.

6. Democracy is your bag
You believe in the power of voting and a voice for all. That golden system we all know and love takes many elements from the Roman Republic’s system of government.

5. Like conquering
Do you maybe feel like you could do everything just a little better than anyone else if only they’d let you run the show? The Romans get you. There’s nothing like taking a place for yourself and instituting a little of that signature Roman style.

4. Enjoy discussing philosophy with your betches
Ever gotten to philosophizing about the meaning of life and just couldn’t stop? You totally would have kicked it with Cicero.

3. You lahhhve wine
Only the finest vino for a Roman.

2. You feel inherently superior to other people, things and civilizations
Rome is nothing if not (perhaps deservedly) a little superior-minded. If you, too, dream of building an empire for the ages, you might be a natural Roman at heart.

1. You have a flair for the dramatic
I mean, have you seen the Colosseum? Not a shabby piece of work.


Spring in London’s Royal Parks

London is a city incomparable, and spring is a stunning time to visit the teeming metropolis. London is home to eight Royal Parks, as well as countless smaller parks each blooming in invariable beauty during the start of spring.

The largest (at 350 acres) and most well known of the Royal Parks is Hyde Park, located in the center of London. Hyde Park contains many famed monuments, such as Serpentine Bridge and The Princess Diana of Wales Memorial Fountain, but its true allure is the grounds and park-goers it hosts. There are endless paths in the park leading through total greenery in every direction, and with the chilly winter air of London banished by the warming spring sunshine, tulip buds bloom across the fields of the park. The mesh of bright yellow and green invites tourists and Londoners alike to come frolic through the parkland, creating an atmosphere as bright and joyful as the sunshine bursting out from behind the clouds.

Walking through the scenic parks of London, it is difficult to imagine that the city is ever plagued by frequent rain. An entire day is easily spent in the parks alone; one can easily venture all the way from Hyde Park to Horse Guard Parade without leaving the vegetation. Beginning in the grandeur and expanse of Hyde Park, and exiting from Hyde Park Corner towards Wellington Arch, one will find themselves in Green Park. True to its name, Green Park is nearly entirely covered in intense shades of green grass. Large emerald leaved trees sprout up across the park, creating appealing shaded oases, perfect for a spring time picnic.

Tourists can also break from their picnic to revel at the RAF Bomber Command Memorial, dominated by an imposing bronze sculpture of seven aircrew, at the edge of the park. After paying respects to the saluting soldiers, one can then orientate themselves towards Buckingham Palace and easily exit Green Park to waltz directly into St. James Park.

St. James Park is arguably the most stunning of the eight Royal Parks, and by far the most diverse in flora and fauna of the three crossed on the walk towards Horse Guard Parade.

The 57 acres is centered around St. James Park Lake, which boasts 15 varieties of waterfowl. During the stunning London spring, trees and flowers are blooming across the grounds, adding a colorful contrast to the grassy jade slopes, where visitors can lie with a good book in the midday sun.

Standing on Blue Bridge over the lake in St. James Park, one can see their final destination, with the London Eye peaking out just above Horse Guard Parade. The vista from Blue Bridge is a perfect look at the many contrasts of London. The modern London Eye juxtaposes the 17th Century Horse Guard building, while the foliage of St. James Park frames the scene, portraying the synthesis of nature and industrial space London has been established upon.


Heavenly travels: Two days, two countries

Video provided by Heaven Quiban.

On this weekend trip, my dear friend, Sophie, and I traveled to Brussels, Belgium and then to Amsterdam, The Netherlands (with a quick adventure around Rotterdam as well). Both cities were so unique and beautiful in their own ways.

I know that Amsterdam is famous for certain reasons, but it was so much more than that! The buildings, canals and people were all so lively and welcoming. It was, dare I say, my favorite city thus far.


Why Ireland?

Yesterday, I returned from a week extravaganza in Paris with my best friend celebrating 20th birthdays, delicious cheese and wine that’s cheaper than water. A perfect five days ended and I’ve returned to my campus in Limerick.

Ireland so kindly greeted me home by a rain storm on a four hour bus ride from Dublin; I sat with my large coffee, which was pathetic compared to the cafe au lait I experienced the days before. But I was smiling at the thought to run back to my village on campus; back to my actual home in Ireland.

Before I left for Ireland this fall, everyone asked, “Why Ireland?”

I could never give them a direct answer beyond excitement, exploration and finding a place all my own – untouched by any of my friends, family members or students at my university. Ireland would be my place in all its green glory.

It’s not romantic like Paris, not pristine as Rome, not as open as a beach in Greece: so I received a lot of half smiles whispering, “It’s gotten better in the past few years, I’m sure it’ll be great.”

Thanks for the excitement, everyone.

More specifically and since I’ve gotten to this island people still stare with wide eyes wondering, “Why Limerick, why ‘stab city’?” Limerick is not the popular tourist destination, the night life is “shite but good craic,” and it’s definitely not the best weather. Sometimes it looks just like central Pennsylvania. I get it. It doesn’t sound romantic.

But Limerick is not for skimming, an open-bus tour or a wild hostel overnight stay – Limerick is for living. I’m not an external piece of this town anymore; I’ve been invited in, made part of it and I can call it home.

Home – meaning being welcomed back from Paris by a flatmate squealing, “Hello!” out our kitchen window before she gets the kettle boiling for a fresh cup of tea. Meaning..trad sessions, Guinness and soda bread making each day warmer. Meaning..conversations uninterrupted by any cell phone glow, conversations with taxi-man Pat through his hometown and learning his favorite Limerick streets, conversations lit by candles when the power goes out at midnight, conversations with accents ranging from 32 counties of prideful culture, honest people and a lighthearted spirit.

I’ve been lucky enough to see, feel and get a taste of what that means to be Irish and I have been encouraged to allow it to fully seep into who I am.

But sure, I admit, Ireland might still be an underdog. Ireland is an underdog. It’s not near the top tourist destinations in Europe and everyone outside will still wonder, “Why Ireland?” Every single experience I’ve had in Ireland so far been filled with the utmost sincerity, emotion and honesty I’ve ever felt in a culture. The heart of the Irish runs genuinely and more strongly than the bitterness of Guinness. And I don’t think one can feel unless they live here – not just study, sleep or as warm bed in between European adventures – I mean really live here.

I’ve gallivanted through Inis Oirr of the Aran Islands – climbed castle walls, ran through daffodil fields and played on playgrounds on an island where no cops are found. I’ve hiked mountains in Wicklow’s National Park, have stayed in the five homes of my Irish flatmates, learned how to make homemade scones and learned to play tin whistle. I’ve had a full Irish breakfast from a grandmother in Galway, went to church in the village of Charleville, I survived a hail storm on the Cliffs of Moher, I watched a goat give birth (seriously) and have watched rugby matches live and in pubs. Experienced and conquered slagging, asked a flatmate did you get the shift after a night out, defined craic, tore my yellow wellies on a farm.

I suppose that is my answer to the question, “Why Ireland?” I’m only (already) half-way through my time here – but I know my fondness for this place, these people and this God-awful weather will double from what it is now. I hope to let you know how my answer’s grown after the next two months…probably through some tear filled eyes after my flatmates drop me off in Dublin to ship me home.

But until then, sláinte

P.S. Still no leprechaun sightings…tons of rainbows though.


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