Living in Rome allows for so much traveling. Many students stay here for the reason of Rome being the “central hub” of Europe. Flights to almost anywhere are under three hours and very cheap on student friendly budget airlines.
Over fall break, a good friend of mine and I decided to cross as many places off our bucket lists as possible. Morgan and I planned on taking 10 days to see Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sicily. We weren’t going to only do tours or the “normal” tourist activities for our whole break. The goal was to really experience it.
While we visited Madrid, Megan, a friend of Morgan’s from back home, was studying there. During our time there she took us to her favorite places, pointed out main tourist sites and took us out to eat. Without asking many questions she ordered us a number of small appetizers, called tapas, at a restaurant.
Before I knew it our table was filled with thinly sliced salty ham, fried cheese that was very similar to cheese sticks but with more flavors on the inside, fried peppers and other thinly sliced vegetables and a few other foods that I cannot begin to describe. All of these traditional foods were things that I would have never ordered on my own without her. Honestly, I never would have even known what they were. Before we left Megan, she told us to try a calamari sandwich before we left Madrid.
Picture a roll with Texas bar-sized onion rings on it. Now, imagine that those onion rings are really giant pieces of calamari. That is what I got when I ordered a calamari sandwich. The crunchy breading allowed for the chewy calamari to have tons of flavor.
Arriving in Brussels we were presented with a unique opportunity to learn how to make traditional Belgium waffles. We were part of a very small group of eight Americans learning how to make this wonderful treat. After we made them we got to decorate them with Nutella, peanut butter, chocolate, bananas, strawberries and whipped cream. Our goal was to make them as pretty as the ones that were in the shop windows all along streets.
What is traveling without experiencing the food? I saw all these wonderful places but my favorite parts revolved around the food. That’s where the real experiences are.