Tag Archives: florence

Enhancing Your Study Abroad Experience

By: Victoria Driver

Crazy, fast, overwhelming are probably all words you will use to describe the first few weeks in the new city you call home when you choose to study abroad, but it is worth every second of the madness. You probably weren’t sure what to expect when coming to a new country with a new language and culture. I experienced this culture shock myself, but within a month, I’ve already begun to learn the “ins and outs” of surviving abroad and have organized my tips and tricks down to the essentials

Hydration is key With so much going on around you, it’s easy to forget about what your body needs to stay healthy. In most of Europe, water at restaurants and eateries comes at an extra price.  If you aren’t a fan of tap water, buy a large bottle of water from your local grocery store and make sure you stay hydrated. Your mood will improve, and your body will thank you.drink-water-stay-hydrated-abroad-student-travel-tips

We can all use a bit of beauty sleep Europe has a bustling nightlife for Study Abroad students. If you go out too often and begin functioning on limited amounts of sleep you will run the risk of getting sick. The key to fueling your love for nightlife and being at your best to explore Europe is to find balance. Planning is key to every aspect of life abroad, so try to map out the nights you spend out on the town by planning your week and nightlife events beforehand. This way, you will be sure to elevate your social experience.

how to stay well rested abroad, getting enough sleep when traveling, study abroad tips, student travel health

Exercise is good for the soul Homesickness and culture shock are two of the most common reasons that students struggle with their Study Abroad experience. Therefore, try exercising at least once a week to produce natural endorphins. Join the local gym (If you’re also studying abroad in Florence, the Swan Gymnastic Center is great). You can also jog around your city – there is so much to see in your city and only so much time to see it – you may even start to enjoy your weekly exercises just for the sights.

how to stay healthy when abroad, exercise when traveling, student travel tips

With just these few simple tips and reminders, you can enhance your time in your host city and your study abroad experience!

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!

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  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.

best potato dishes in europe, recommendations for potato dishes in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona

  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

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  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.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  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.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  1. Krakow: Perogies

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

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  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.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

  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.

 food recommendations, europe, best potato dishes in Amsterdam, Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Barcelona, Brussels, Krakow, London

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.

 

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.

fall-break-article-amf

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.

santorini  

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.