Category Archives: Tips

Top Three Places To Eat In Barcelona

By Abby & Walter Instagram: @picnicsnplaces

Barcelona

1) Bar Martinez If you’re looking for authentic Spanish food, Bar Martinez is your spot. The bright terrace restaurant is located at the foot of Montjuic with breathtaking views over the city, port, and sea. They are known for their paella and rice dishes, which are fabulous, but be sure to go with a big group to get the most bang for your buck. We had the Mature Aged Steak sprinkled with malden salt, served with three dipping sauces — horseradish, garlic aioli, and au jus. It was perfectly cooked and worth the steep price tag. If you want to avoid a big bill, go for happy hour and sip on the rose cava (8 euro per glass) while you enjoy the stunning views of the city.

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2) Caporal Two words: cava sangria. Caporal swaps red wine typically used in sangria for the Spanish version of champagne, also known as cava. This is the bubbly cousin of the traditional Spanish drink that you need in your life. Located right off Las Ramblas, the super friendly staff and cozy atmosphere makes this restaurant the perfect afternoon pick-me-up spot. If you’re hungry, get the delicious paella, the serving is quite large and inexpensive. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, order a couple of tapas. Also, if you’re not a fan of sangria, try the refreshing mojitos! Everything we tried was phenomenal, you can’t go wrong here!

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3) Ocaña We stumbled upon this beautiful, bright restaurant while strolling around the Gothic Quarter, the artistic atmosphere is what drew us in. Turns out, Ocaña pays tribute to Jose Perez Ocana, the brilliant painter, activist, and defender of Spanish freedom from the 1970s. The colorful seats and large wooden tables on the terrace look out on one of Barcelona’s most beautiful squares, Plaça Reial. Their cocktails are wonderful, but the real magic is on the dessert menu. We tried their crema catalana, the famous dessert from Catalonia, consisting of a custard base and a caramelized, crisp sugar topping. We also tried the chocolate cake with dulce de leche, served with berries and sorbet. After you eat, you can grab a beer from the guys in the street (never pay more than $1.50 for street beer in Barcelona) and sit on the fountain in the center of the square. You can sit there for hours watching live music and dancing throughout the square. A wonderful find in a fun square in Barcelona.

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About Walter & Kelly: Growing up, both of our families emphasized the importance of eating meals together around the table. We believe it is essential not only to eat good food, but to enjoy each meal. Too many meals are shoved in your mouth while driving down the freeway, or microwaved in a plastic tray and eaten in a cubicle. Eat outside, eat somewhere with a view, find restaurants with wonderful ambiance. We are part of the revolution of food, join us!

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5 Things to Do in Ibiza You Won’t Find on Your Average Travel Website

To most people, places like Ibiza are mainly known for their beaches and nightlife, so what usually ends up happening is that we revolve our itineraries around water adventures and beach activities. Ibiza is also a popular spot for the rich and famous, influencing many a holidaymaker to travel to the same places as their favourite celebrities, according to Holiday Hypermarket. But there is much more to this hotspot than the sand, sea and celebrities.

While there’s nothing wrong with spending your entire trip on the beach, Ibiza does have various attractions if you head inland. That’s not to say you can’t still enjoy the stunning beaches that Ibiza has to offer though.

From celebrity vacation pictures to reality TV stars documenting their beach party escapades, we can’t help but be intrigued by these picturesque holiday destinations. Even the games we play tend to put our focus on these idyllic beaches, with apps like Surf or Die taking you around the world to the places where the best waves are found, or to Hawaii through Aloha! Cluster Pays from gaming company Slingo, we seem to be obsessed with the overriding need to remind ourselves of beach holidays through different medias.

So save the relaxation and sunbathing for the first and last days of your trip, and try to fill in your week with as many land activities as possible. Here are a few ideas to help you compose your itinerary:

1. The Punta Arabí Hippy Market in Es Caná

Because of Ibiza’s artistic roots, there is an abundance of hippy markets all around the island, but the ones that you definitely want to check out are the bigger markets, which include the Punta Arabí that is and open every Wednesday in Es Caná. Here, you’ll find the work of artisans that include leather goods, antiques, trinkets, jewellery, island wear and even modern clothing lines.

Ibiza Hippie Market

2. The Back Streets of Ibiza Town

Getting lost on your travels isn’t always such a bad thing, especially if you’re aimlessly wandering along the streets of Ibiza Town. As Emily Oakden shares with the Huffington Post, the back streets of Santa Eulalia and San Antonio offer an alternative insight into Ibiza life, as you discover shops and other local finds that you normally wouldn’t see on the oceanfront and more commercial areas of the island.

Ibiza_town,_Dalt_Vila_-_panoramio3. Horseback Riding in Central and Northern Ibiza

Saddle up and see another side of Ibiza. Believe it or not, this beach destination does have some countryside you can visit. Escape the hustle and bustle of Ibiza Town and San Antonio for a magical horseback ride through peaceful hills and beautiful scenery.

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4. Escape Rooms Ibiza in Bajo

Escape rooms are all the rage right now, and if you’re up for indoor activities that will mentally challenge you, head over to Bajo and put yourself to the test in Escape Rooms Ibiza. There are plenty of rooms for you to check out, such as Wonderland, but if you really want to feel the thrills, The Zombie Apocalypse game may be a more suitable choice.

escape room

5. History at Dalt Vila

Also known as the old part of Ibiza city, Dalt Vila is a great place to soak in all the culture and heritage of the island. It’s recommended that you spend your late afternoon here to witness spectacular views of the cathedral, Ibiza Castle, city walls and Roman ruins. And when the evening comes around, you can walk around the old city streets, which look beautiful when they’re lit up at night.

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Wine & Dine Your Parents with a Taste of Tuscany

By: Molly Dunn

It’s safe to say you feel like a new person after a few months of studying abroad. You’ve experienced multiple new cultures, eaten foods you’ve never even heard of and managed to direct a taxi driver in a language that isn’t your own. You’ve been away from home for a long time which means you’re starting to miss your parents. Chances are high that not only were your parents missing you too, they were also happy to have an excuse to come to Italy for a visit.

A lot of parents make plans to visit their children abroad around the Thanksgiving time, so I’m writing this as a way to help you prepare. You’re their little globetrotting travel expert now, so you’re obligated to show them a good time! Like any good child, you pull out all the stops.

If you’re in Florence, you’re planning to show off the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, Piazzale Michelangelo.. Maybe even a family picnic at the Boboli Gardens. But we all know the most important part of this trip for both your parents and you… is food and wine. You’ve got it all planned, pizza at Gusta Pizza, paninis at Pinos or All’antico Vinaio, some gelato at Gelateria dei Neri and you’re definitely taking them for the pear ravioli at La Giostra.

If you’re in Rome, you’re taking them to the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain.. Maybe even watching the sunset from the Spanish Steps. The food tour will start with pizza from Dar Poeta in Trastevere, Pane e Salame for a panini near the Trevi and then a stop by the Frigidarium for the best gelato in Rome.

So.much. food… You know what you need to wash it down? Wine.

You know the best place for wine? The Tuscan countryside.
Lucky for you, Bus2alps has you covered. Take your parents on an unforgettable “wine crawl” through Tuscany’s Chianti region on the Taste of Tuscany day trip. Visit two different wineries and enjoy a three course traditional Tuscan lunch all while bonding with your parents in a way only ample amounts of delicious food, wine and relaxation can offer up. Share some incredible views with vineyards in your backdrop, have some of world’s top rated gelato, and they’ll be happy to finish off Christmas shopping with some added generosity. Then you just convince them to ship back a couple bottles (or cases) of wine and truffle oils back to the U.S. to be waiting there when they get back.

Your time abroad has made you grow in ways that you never could have imagined, and your parents will definitely take notice. As the wine flows, your parentals will find inspiration to tell you stories you’ve never heard and stories they never thought of telling you. Like that time your Dad got food poisoning in Ireland or when your Mom backpacked through Eastern Europe for a few weeks with a man named Hans. No matter the story, you will find that your relationship with your parents is on a whole new level.

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5 Reasons Why Halloween in Dublin Should Be On Your Bucket List

By Molly Dunn

In the spirit of creepy masks, candy corn and pumpkins, Halloween has developed into one of America’s favorite holidays.  Maybe it’s the sea of sugar skulls, and all of the Disney Channel references to Dia de los Muertos that we grew up with, but, we all seem convinced that Halloween began just across the United States border in Mexico.

I have something really spooky to tell you, something shocking, and even maybe a bit terrifying…the real origin lies in a place where not a soul would think to look…Ireland. We all know that the Irish like to party, and we dress up in green every St. Patty’s day to celebrate with the charmingly accented crew, but who knew they also founded Halloween! 

What started as the pagan festival of Samhain, Halloween as know it now, was a Celtic festival of fire meant to ward off evil spirits as summer changed into winter. In time, October 31st developed from the festival of Samhain, to ‘All Hallows Eve’, to Halloween.

So, now that we all know that Halloween originated in Ireland, it’s becoming clear why going to Ireland for Halloween weekend is a must. There are tons of festivals, parties and celebrations on this spooky day. Who could imagine a better place to be than the country’s capital on the spookiest day of the year? Here is a list of 5 things to do in Dublin, this Halloween.

  1. Monsters! Season at Light House Cinema. This year the Bram Stoker Festival has partnered with Light house Cinema, located just across from The Generator Hostel, in Smithfield square, to offer a series of showings of horror classics. Offering €6.50 matinees and €8.00 nighttime showings. Celebrate the monsters of the 30s by means of watching The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, and of course, Dracula. Get your tickets in advance here

  1. Bleedin’ Deadly Referred to as ‘Ireland’s freakiest Halloween Event’, experience what is left of the dying street performing art that was once Freak shows. With two shows per night, one at 6:45pm followed by a 9:45pm showing, don’t miss the madness! Buy your tickets online at for €25. For the post show hit up the pub Church for two for one drinks!

  1. Nightmare Plants For €10 visit Dublin’s Botanical Gardens for an ‘immersive performance, told by an ensemble of actors’. Each show is about 30 minutes and brings you face to face with mother natures deadliest creations.  Check out all the details here.

  1. Werewolves Participate in this high energy, high stakes parlor game, any evening of Halloweekend. The concept of this game is simple. There are werewolves among you, a villager was stolen away by them. Now the villagers meet to discuss their strategy, electing a leader. You must be careful as there are werewolves among you, waiting to out number the scared humans. The werewolves aim to subsume the village and it’s survival of the fittest for the villagers. Admission is free but you must get a ticket to participate. Play Friday night at Generator Hostel starting at 7:30pm. Arrive early, grab a drink and get ready to play! Book your tickets here.

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  1. Stokerland Visit this ‘pop-up Victorian fun park’ on Saturday or Sunday, for a ‘gothic gathering of fun and cames’ in St. Patricks Park. Admission is free, get dressed up and feel like a kid again at this family friendly halloween event! Halloween in Dublin should be on everyone’s bucket list, and you have the chance to cross it off early! Visit bramstokerfestival.com to find out more information and events for this Halloween! Whether you attend this ghoulish festival, or parade around Dublin’s incredibly fun Pubs, you can’t go wrong spending Halloween in it’s birthplace, Dublin.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s another reason!  Bus2alps just dropped the Ireland Coast 2 Coast trip to €135 for Halloween weekend…. I can’t think of a better time to go!  

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One of the Locals: Immersing Yourself in the Culture Around You

By: Matteo Fardella

Ah yes, moving away from home is a scary thing, a new culture, new language, new people, new everything. Nobody wants to be that outsider that sticks out like a sore thumb in their new surroundings, that person who knows people are talking about them but can’t understand what is being said. As much as you may have your habits and tendencies, there are some things that you might have to adjust. It’s important when living in a new place to feel that sense of self-confidence in your daily life.

Firstly, take in absolutely everything you do and see without resistance, learn the language, eat the food, make friends with the locals and do as they do.

Clothing is a major standing-out factor, even if you aren’t a fashion guru it’s easy to recognize the difference in trends around you. If your plans include moving to a new location permanently or if you have some spare change lying around, leave your clothes at home and shop where the locals shop. Try to avoid showing the common tourist “add-ons’ like fanny packs, a giant map of the city, or selfie-sticks. I’m not saying don’t use them, just keep them more under the radar as these are the some clear tourist red flags.

Understand the currency of the country before moving there, this will prevent you from looking like you have never used money before because you are fumbling about when it’s time to pay. Be sure to understand where you are going before leaving the house so that after a while you don’t have to GPS your way to every location, staring down at your phone and risking being hit by something or running into the person in front of you in the process.

On the other hand, get lost. This is the single easiest way to learn and understand the geography of a city. You’ll be really impressed with yourself later when you actually start figuring out where you want to go on your own.

Learn the language. Try your absolute hardest to acquire as much of the language as you can. This will make communication and friendships so much easier, greet the shop owners and make friends with them as it is always good to network with new people. Leave your outside voice at home, shouting and screaming amongst your friends whilst out is a sure way to annoy the locals and give your home country and language a bad name. Keep it quieter and try not to draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Keep an eye out for social cues, things that are acceptable at home may not be in your new location. Carry yourself with confidence, even if you have no idea what you are doing, at least act like you do. Fake it until you make it.

Choosing home-stays or apartments in a residential area instead of a hotel/hostel increases your chances of interacting with locals. Participate in local events that tourists would not or do not know about and go and sit in the heart of local entertainment and culture.

Lastly, just be yourself. You are who you are at the end of the day and there is only so much you can do to blend in. Absorb everything around you and take each day as it comes. It will take time and you will be frustrated occasionally but at the end of the day, it will all be worth it.