Category Archives: Tips

To Fall Break or Not to Fall Break

To fall break or not to fall break? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, planning a ten day trip alone, or to take arms against a sea of planning troubles, and by opposing, end them.

This excerpt from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, truly raises a question of deep thought. Leaves are falling, sweaters and booties are creeping their way to the front of your growing European wardrobe, and you can finally start wearing that jacket you impulsively bought your first week abroad. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re a few weeks away from a fall break, aka the peak of your travels this semester. You have ten days to fill, so what are you going to do?

Picture yourself at your computer as that question lingers in the air above you. You search the internet in a wild terror, knowing at any moment, your wifi can crap out and you’ll be lost in a disconnected limbo. You google flights and hostels, trains, buses and more as you sit there with your hands on your face in frustrated defeat. Who knew trip planning could be so hard? This is the point when you send your Mom a text, commending her for so seamlessly executing those family trips to Disney World. Seriously! How did she pack for the whole family, remember your little brother’s baby formula, keep up with work emails, all while mastering the perfect blow-out? As you sit at the computer, twirling the hair you haven’t washed in days, you don’t know if you can pull it off. You’re about to give up but then your computer starts glowing blue, you see Bus2alps flash upon the screen. And begin to explore all the fall break opportunities waiting for you.

First on the list you see the words  “Northern Loop”, a trip that covers Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris. You begin to picture yourself running your fingers along the John Lennon Wall in Prague. Sipping wine under the Eiffel tower, as your silk scarf blows in the  Parisian wind. You visualize, your minds version of the Berlin Wall and Amsterdam’s Red Light District, and wonder if they’re as you picture it. Then you do something we all do and, see if you can save money by planning it on your own. The Northern Loop costs 660. That’s 66 a day to stay, explore and shuttle between four of Europe’s coolest cities. You stop doing your research when you realize a train from Prague to Berlin would cost you over  90 alone.

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Just when you think you’re hooked you see,  “Western Loop”. This trip replaces Prague for Barcelona. No longer hindered by the complications of planning your own travels, you struggle to decide between Gaudi and Lennon. You know Barcelona’s nightlife is unparalleled, that the Sagrada Familia is over 200 years in the making, and you wonder, what to do.

You think you have it figured out,  you know where you want to spend your fall break and you’re happy with your decision. But then you see Greece Island Hopping flash across your screen, and you’re back to decision making square one. Athens, Corfu, Santorini and more, your head spins as you imagine the Instagram’s you could snag in Greece’s most beautiful places.

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Ugh now you’re totally confused, and to make matters worse, just as your new copy of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child falls to the floor, you stumble upon the UK Celtic Loop. Ireland, Scotland, and England all wave happily from behind the screen. You picture yourself clinking glasses in a Scottish pub, bursting through the wall at Platform 9 ¾ and, admiring on the epic Cliffs of Moher.

So where you  going. North, West, East or Greece? Oh yea, did scroll down? There’s also the Best of Italy trip. Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan, with a little stop-over in the city of love Verona. The history of this trip is enough to really push you over the decision making edge. Feel Shakespeare’s influence in Florence, and visit the birthplace of Romeo and Juliet in Verona.
The possibilities are endless, the stress is minimal and the good times to be had are plenty. No matter what you choose, Bus2alps will be there with you every step of the way to make this fall break the most epic move of your life. Bon voyage!

Exploring Florence on a Budget

By: Matteo Fardella

Firenze, home of the Renaissance and the city of selfie stick salesmen. Aside from its incomparable beauty and bustling daily life, it can become fairly expensive if you have plans to explore all the city has to offer from cuisine to to museums and must-see’s.

With Florence being one of Italy’s slightly pricier cities, it is very easy to overindulge in your daily needs and wants, one gelato leads onto a meal which then leads on to drinks which then leads on to bars, pubs and clubs.. you get what I’m saying. Surely there has to be a cheaper way to take part in all the activities without having to call your parents back home because you spent your last few Euros on that extra slice of pizza that you just couldn’t resist?

For all you art and history junkies out there; on the first Sunday of every month, admission to museums, cultural sites and archaeological parks is free! You can save yourself ranging anywhere from €5 to €25 and includes places such as Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio . The city is also covered in public art that has ancient stories backing them and can be found just walking distance away.

When it comes to eating out, steer clear of the €15+ meals that are sure to add up at the end of the evening, and consider the just-as-tasty plates at somewhere Gusta Pizza (Via Maggio, 46R) for under half the price. The amount of gelato that you are going to consume during your stay here might be considered ‘unhealthy’ but each and every scoop is easily worth it. The trick for gelato is to not pay more than €4 for 3 scoops and to not buy the brightly colored flavors that come in massive mountains as their ingredients are more artificial. Make sure to visit Gelateria Dei Neri (Via Dei Neri, 9/11), La Carraia (Piazza Nazario Sauro 25) and Edoardo il Gelato Biologico (Piazza Del Duomo 45/R).

Something is happening in Florence every night, whether it be calm pubs or wild clubs, it has it all. As Italy has an extremely high tax on drinks that are sold in restaurants and bars, grabbing a bottle of wine at the convenience store near you, to enjoy on a bridge or in a piazza beforehand, will save you a lot of dough later on. Different pubs have different specials for everyday of the week as they hold numerous events. Use this to your advantage and try not to pay that dreaded €5-8 for a single drink.

Finally, keep an eye and nostril open for little shops and bakeries lining the many streets as they tend to sell things at a cheaper cost. Try to avoid buying things in the touristy areas as the prices are hiked as tourists flood the main landmarks and attractions. Stay thrifty my friends.

Top 8 Slang Words and Phrases Used Across Europe

By Tyler Chauncey

So you’re headed to Europe with your dictionary in hand, but there are a few words they may have left out. We’ve got you covered:

SPAIN

Guiri
Most likely you! A Guiri is like the Mexican word “gringo” and is used to describe foreigners. Hear this word a lot and it might be a sign that you aren’t exactly blending in.

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Vale
You’ll hear this word every single day in Spain, sometimes in every sentence. It means “OK.” Some Spaniards toss this word in between every breath and even say it several times in a row.

FRANCE

BG
BG stands for beau gosse, which means hot guy. But be carefull! Gosse is its own slang for a child, so don’t go talking about fooling around with any of them.

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Balle
Literally, balle means bullet. It used to be slang for francs, but when the Euro was introduced, the term came along with it.

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ITALY
Basta!
Stop right there! Enough! Use it to end an order at a restaurant, or to repel a relentless selfie stick or dancing cat salesman! Unless of course you want one, because you gotta admit he’s kinda cute.

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Prego
After a few days in Italy you’ll hear prego being said so much you’ll be pretty confident that it could mean just about anything. It directly means, “you’re welcome”, but the word is also commonly used prematurely to let someone know that it is their turn to be served.

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GREAT BRITAIN

Quid

Those silly Brits aren’t paying in seafood, a quid is another term for a pound. The term is derived from the latin phrase “quid pro quo”, meaning “one thing in return for another.”

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Pavement Pizza

Don’t mistake this euphemism, which means puke or vomit, for a late night snack!

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Best Free and Budget Attractions in Europe

By Sabrina Santilli

So, after months of preparation and obsessive bragging to all of your friends (and random strangers) that you’re headed to Europe, you’ve finally arrived! If you’re like any normal Ramen-eating college student this means one thing… you’re probably a little low on cash. But have no fear! Some of the best and most memorable things in Europe are budget friendly and Instagram worthy!

Trastevere, Rome

Trastevere

Within every major metropolitan city there exists two worlds: the tourists’ and the locals’. After a long day of debating about whether or not it would be worth it to buy a selfie stick from the gypsies, your best bet for finding great authentic Italian food and nightlife would be across the Tiber River in the neighborhood of Trastevere. Away from the more tourist filled areas, you’ll get the most bang for your buck as well as an authentically Italian environment. Once you’ve filled your belly with pasta, take your food baby and walk along the cobblestoned streets of Trastevere, listen to live music along the Ponte Sisto, or sit on the steps of Piazza Trilussa.

Amalfi Coast

Positano-Italy

Positano is home to one of the most gorgeous public black sand beaches in Italy, and more importantly a shop called Vini & Panini. There is no better way to reward yourself for committing to your beach body workout than to grab a sandwich the size of your face. It’s not only worth the price in size, but also in taste. You are guaranteed to have dreams about this sandwich for years to come.

Paris  

Louvre

When you’re in Paris, take some time away from falling in love in a French cafe to at least learn a little. The city of romance is also the home to one of the most impressive collections of art in the world, including the iconic Mona Lisa. The best part is, if you’re studying abroad or under the age of 26, you can enter the museum absolutely free.

More Museums!

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If you’re looking to see some of the most iconic pieces of art throughout Italy, mainly David’s tushy, then visit a state museum on the first Sunday of the month to get free entry! Countless museums in London and Paris also offer free entry either every day or specific days throughout the month.

Prague

Night at the Prague Castle

Prague is a magical land filled with fairies, unicorns, and beer that is cheaper than water. That last one is the hardest to believe but surprisingly the only accurate one! When you’re in Prague be sure to ask your hostel staff which pubs the locals visit and pay no more than €1.50 for a drink.

Interlaken

Interlaken

Take a hike!… but seriously. If you find yourself in Interlaken you cannot miss the chance to hike Harder Kulm. The view will be so incredible that nobody will even notice how sweaty you are in your selfie at the top!