Tag Archives: barcelona

8 Ways to Eat Potatoes in 8 European Countries

By: Austin Davis

It was my first trip to Conad living in Italy. (Newbie mistake number one – I didn’t even bring my own bag). I wandered into the vegetable section and scanned the colorful bins in search of the one food I ate on a daily basis back in the States: sweet potatoes. Not a single orange potato was found amongst the rows of various varieties of white ones. In a panic, I ran to Carrefour… Still nothing. I found a few at a small vegetable stand a few weeks later, but in the meantime, I made peace with the fact that I would have to settle for the sweet potato’s bland relative, the potato. Since my grocery store panic, I’m beginning to understand why the potato is such a staple in Europe. In my travels, I’ve encountered tons of unique uses for the fiber-packed wonder food. If you’re a picky eater, chances are you can find a potato dish in any city you visit that you will enjoy. Here are 7 ways to eat potatoes in 7 of Europe’s most popular cities!

  1. Brussels: French Fries

Contrary to popular belief, French fries are neither French nor American. The original and tastiest fries can be found in the beautiful country of Belgium! Served in a paper cone and slathered with the sauce of your choice, fries make a great snack at any point of the day or night. Try them with mayo instead of ketchup for a more authentic experience!

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  1. Amsterdam: Stamppot

Stamppot is a traditional Dutch meal consisting of mashed potatoes, kale, and sausage. You can find it at traditional dutch restaurants like Moeder’s, or pre-made at the Albert Heijn to grab and go.

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  1. Florence: Potato Gnocchi

So maybe Italy isn’t known for potatoes, but make no mistake, you can find them here too! The best way to enjoy potatoes in Italy is baked inside another Italian delicacy: pasta. Potato gnocchi is heavenly, particularly when drowned in cheese. You can find some delicious cheesy potato gnocchi at Osteria Gatto e la Volpe in Via Ghibellina

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  1. Barcelona: Patatas Bravas

You can’t go to Barcelona without eating tapas, and no tapas meal is complete without a plate of patatas bravas. These roasted potatoes are covered with mayonnaise or aioli and a smoky hot tomato sauce. Try them at any tapas bar in Barcelona, you can’t go wrong.

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  1. Interlaken: Potato Rösti

Every time I order rösti, I tell myself there is no way I can possibly finish it. Twenty minutes later, there I am again, staring at an empty plate within my ski pants had an elastic waistband. I never fail to instantly forget that regret and do it again the next day because it’s that good (it’s worth the calories every time). During a long day on the mountain, a mound of hash browns with cheese and meat just feels – and tastes – so right.

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  1. Krakow: Perogies

Perogies are like dumplings, except they’re commonly filled with potato and pan fried. Sign me up.

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  1. Crisps

Not only do the British drive on the opposite side of the road – they also like to confuse us with the naming of their potato dishes. In Britain, potato “chips” are called crisps. In Britain, to order french fries, you’ll really be asking for chips (a little weird to get used to, right?). Remember that the next time you order a plate of fish and chips.

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  1. Paris: Whipped and Mashed

No one knows how to cook with cream and butter quite like the French. Which helps to explain why the mashed potatoes that come out of Parisian kitchens are some of the lightest, silkiest, and richest you’ll find.

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The next time you are wandering around a new city, unsure of what to eat and struggling with all the choices, remember that your friend “the potato” will have your back no matter what part of Europe you’re exploring.

 

How to Get Ready for a Music Festival Abroad

For all the music lovers and festival enthusiasts studying abroad this semester, the time has finally come to forget your inhibitions and immerse yourselves in the good vibes of Barcelona’s Abroadfest. Whether this is your first experience with a music festival or whether you’re a pro at this kind of stuff back in the States, you’ll want to check out this list of tips for attending a festival abroad:

  1. Know the Line Up: The key component to a music festival is, of course, the music. Abroadfest will be held in  Razzmatazz and Shôko, so make sure you’re ahead of the game and know where to be at what times by looking up the Abroadfest Line Up now. In order to ensure that you are up front for your favorite bands, plan out your strategy ahead of time and know which stages you want to post up at and which times you’ll need to be there. While you’re checking out the lineup, if you find some bands you haven’t heard of, take the time to make a dope playlist and learn some new music. You’ll be glad you did when you get to experience these bands live.cell phones at music festivals, external battery, portable charger, iphone, android, cell phones abroad, music festival tips, abroadfest, europe
  2. Bring the Right Equipment: The last thing you want is to be at a music festival without the essentials. The second to last thing you want is to be overwhelmed with stuff while you’re trying to rage to your favorite bands. The happy-medium here is to bring the essentials and pack lightly. Make sure you are packing everything in a secure, light bag; a bag that zips is preferable for security reasons – fanny packs are your friends. My recommendations for must-have items are: an external battery for your phone, an extra protein bar for energy, a hard copy of notes you’ve made regarding which stages to be at which times in case your phone does die, whatever form of money you decide is best for you (make sure you check out our safety tips blog post when planning this out), and a water bottle. Anything else is just extra – except good vibes, of course.
  3. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: As mentioned above, I always recommend bringing a protein bar and water bottle. Some festivals restrict liquids and foods being brought in, so make sure you keep this in mind. Staying hydrated is key, especially when surrounded by hundreds of people jumping around in a tightly-packed setting. You’re going to sweat – a lot. Your body will thank you for focusing on getting enough water in your system.drinking water at music festivals, stay hydrated at abroadfest, study abroad tips, barcelona, abroadfest
  4. Prioritize Safety: Safety abroad is always a priority, and this becomes even more important at a music festival. For a full list of ways to protect yourself (and your bank account), check out our blog on How to Stay Safe While Abroad.
  5. Live in the Moment: The best part of a music festival is the positive and contagious vibes. Focusing on living in the moment while abroad is always something I’ve found to be important, but this is even more of a necessity at a music festival. You’re surrounded by great music, creative visuals, and interesting people. Focus less on capturing the perfect Snapchat Mystory and more on engraving every detail you can into your memory. Send out good vibes and you’ll find that even more come your way. Soak in every moment, because you’ll never encounter as much kindness as you will at a music festival.

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Beach bunny? Here Are The Best Spring Breaks For You

By Samantha Jacobs

It’s almost spring break, and you’re in Europe. You have a whole new continent and 10 days to explore it. Now what?

You flip open your laptop and start assessing your options. It doesn’t take long to realize that the amount of possibilities before you are infinite, but your budget—yeah, not so much. Before you let that anxiety turn into a panic attack, slow down, breathe, and know that the whole Bus2alps team has been in your shoes before, and we’ve got you covered.

But it’s spring break, I want to do my own thing.

When you travel with Bus2alps, you get guides, not camp counselors. We’re here for you as much and as little as your heart desires. Our main priority (behind making sure that every single person on the bus arrives back just as healthy and thriving as when they left) is that you have an incredible time during one of the most monumental experiences you’ll ever have in life.

So keep an open mind and explore these dope spring break trips we’ve put together for you. Or keep googling—this article will still be here when you give up.

The Southern Loop – Barcelona, Seville, Lagos, Lisbon, and Madrid

Two countries on the Iberian Peninsula in one trip… That’s unheard of. Portugal and Spain are both homes to amazing architecture, intricate tiles, vibrant color, and laid-back, sunny vibes. The food alone is enough to get anyone’s attention—amazing tapas, paella, and seafood that will change your life. The first stop is Barcelona…beaches, incredible nightlife, brunch for days. You may be ready to move here by the end of your visit. 

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Then, we hit Seville. Seville is just a stop on the way to Lagos but you’ll get to feast on a mouthwatering dinner during a Flamenco dance show.

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Next, we hit Lagos: the end of the world (literally the edge of Europe). The beaches of Lagos are so pristine that you’ll never even glance at any pictures from your friend’s spring break back home. Everything about Lagos screams spring break: kayaking, surf camp, windsurfing, wake boarding. The museums and historical sites in Lagos will pull you away from the sun because you’ll want to be able to take in the culture of this city. Oh, and once again, you’ve hit a stop with amazing nightlife. IMG_1812Then, you’ll hit Lisbon: the capital of Portugal. Lisbon is the San Francisco of Europe and one of the most underrated spots that you’ll ever encounter.
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Beaches in the States will never look the same after your feet have touched the sands of Carcavelos Beach. If you’re looking for views on spring break, you’ll want to climb the towers of Lisbon as well.

Last stop: Madrid. Once again, the architecture in this city will take your breath away—the Royal Palace, Teatro Real, and the Moorish ruins are all places you’ll be able to check off your list while here. Once again, you’ve hit a nightlife city that everyone wants to experience while you’re in Europe. The famous nightclub, El Kapital, lives up to its name and will make you want to stay in Madrid for the rest of the semester rather than heading back to another week of classes.

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Each city we visit possesses a culture and identity that is incredibly unique. This trip is for those of you that want a little bit of everything—you want to experience the beachy vibes associated with spring break but also explore famous cities with monumental landmarks. You get both and much, much more with this trip.

Greece Island Hopping – Athens, Santorini, and Corfu

Quite literally a dream trip. The ferry ride to Greece is basically you and your friend’s version of a spring break cruise, but instead of heading to the Bahamas, you’re on the way to Greece (casual, right?) It’s a blast. This trip has been said to change people’s outlook on life and travel. In Athens, you’ll have the chance to experience the Acropolis… You’ve been reading about this stuff in textbooks since we were kids and now you’re there—at the birthplace of democracy and old theaters, and wow, it’s surreal. The nightlife in Athens is famous, and you and your crew will love every second of it. 

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Next stop, Santorini… white houses with incredible sunset views, ATVs, STUNNING beaches, and photo opportunities for days.

IMG_1812You’ll spend the end of your break on the island of Corfu kayaking, riding ATVs, lounging on the beaches, and going to the infamous toga party at the Pink Palace. The food is insanely good and such a perfect break from the food you never thought you’d get tired of in the city you’re currently calling home. 

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We’ve done all the work for you, now there’s only one thing left to do: choose the right one for you (I only wish “all of the above” could be an option for you). Good luck and may whatever path you choose to take lead to an unforgettable adventure.  

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!