Thursday, January 6, 2011

Flying With More Than Just Pants (a.k.a. HELP)

We're leaving in less than five weeks for our first getaway of the year, which is Barcelona to Rome to New York to Sugarbush, which Andrew keeps accidentally confusing with Sugarfoot except that I don't even think that a Sugarfoot exists, although wouldn't that make a lot more sense than a ski resort named SugarBUSH?

And, yes, I'll blog throughout so you don't miss the broken bones.

So anyway. The trip.

You helped me with my initial questions about planning so I thought that I might ask you to join your superpower forces one more time and lend your expertise again. Just so you know, telling me, "For God's sake, DO NOT PACK THAT GREEN SWEATSHIRT," is not considered helpful advice, which means, ALLISON, I'M LOOKING AT YOU.

Without further ado, here's what I'd like to know...

1. I eat. Like, all. the. time. What are your most packable snacks?

2. Any money saving tips for us? Andrew is rolling his eyes, but I'll totally listen.

3. I should bother with lingerie, right? (What, Allison?)

4. If you only had time to eat at ONE pizza place in New York, where would you go?

5. How do I say, "While he's in the bathroom, I would like you to spike his soda with vodka," in Spanish? In Italian?

6. Along those lines, I know how to say agua. I can also count to ten in Spanish. This is adequate, correct?

7. What's your favorite restaurant in Rome? In Barcelona? If you steer me toward a place that causes food poisoning I will Fedex you my vomit.

8. This is the first time either of us have ever driven from New York to Vermont. Is there any place that we cannot miss along the way? Or are we just asking to get caught in a cataclysmic blizzard?

9. Andrew swears by those Dr. Scholl's Gel inserts, but I've always been a custom orthodics girl, WELL. I. WAS, that is before they got stolen in a pair of Adidas that I left on the beach to do sprints in the sand. So there's some homeless guy with really small feet walking around Miami with $500 insoles right now, I hope you're enjoying them. Anyway, are those gel thingies really as great as they look on the commercials with the people who are singing in the rain and letting their cabs get ganked?

10. Your best travel story. Hint: Do not tell me, I went to Rome and it SUCKED.


Lauren said...

I wish I could answer all of these for you but alas, I am not nearly as well traveled as you are, or at least as you will be after this trip! Here's what I can tell you:
1) I love Fig Newtons, very filling and they come in tiny packages
3) Bother with lingerie, yes. Just not too much.
4) Lombardis, hands down.

Can't wait to hear your stories!

craftosaurus said...

1. Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut granola bars. Super tasty, plus protein!

8. Maine, to have a beer with me.

... what? It's closer than you usually are and you didn't define "on the way."

And Kathleen said...

1. Cliff Bars
2. Don't pay for expensive excursions through a middle-man. Go directly to the source.
3. Right.
4. A legit bagel - toasted with cream cheese and lox
5. Just motion with your hands. You'll be fine.
6. Yes. They'll love you if you try.
7. n/a
8. Blizzard for sure. Pack warm clothes and extra blankets.
9. n/a
10. That time I went to Mt. Everest and didn't die was pretty awesome.

I think you're going to have a fabulous time! I'm envious!

Elisa @ What the Vita said...

Snacks: Mojo bars. Seriously, they are like crack. I love the honey peanut one. Also, nuts, trail mixes, but am sure you already knew that one.

Rome: Please eat gelato at least twice per day for me. I was addicted to that stuff over there. Oh, and pizza. Pizza, anywhere. Better than NYC :-)

Anonymous said...

1. clif bars


Tracy said...

"I went to Rome and it sucked!" NOT, I have never left the country so I'm totally jealous and can't wait to hear about it. Have fun planning!

PS The only phrases I know how to say in Spanish are "The cheese is old and moldy" and "Where is the bathroom?", both of which I learned from the movie Encino Man. I don't think I'm being very helpful here.

Hillary @ The Sweet Maple Life said...

I traveled in Spain this summer for a couple weeks with my gf's. Our first stop was in Barcelona- I fell in love!

You most definitely will need to check out all the Gaudi buildings (especially Sagrada de Familia)...

I felt like there was sooo much to see, that we never got around to, but at least it gives me an excuse for going back!

Side Note- be prepared to change your eating schedule. Those Spaniards eat Tapas during our would be dinner hours, and have their dinners around ten at night! And the night life= awesome..... no wonder they have siestas in the afternoon!!

OH OH.... Barcelona is notorious for purse snatchers and pick-pocketers.... keep your purse small and close to your body at all times!!

Have fun!!!

Jessika said...

Not those sweet and salty nature valley bars! They may taste great, but you'll get half of it all over you. Little tiny sharp bits that itch and annoy. And you'll also be annoyed that you lost a good mouthful or two to your blouse. Oh, and they shatter when dropped. So if you smush them in a suitcase, you'll regret it. Confetti granola bar is not fun.

I say go with non-sticky but non-breakable. The nature valley fruit bars are yummy (and cheap at costco and fit ANYWHERE), but they are a tad sticky. Held together with honey or something. I say go mojo or soyjoy or Luna (yum!).

Possibly invest in some sort of moneybelt. It may sound so '70s, but I've heard bad stories about the big European cities (bad stories confirmed by several relatives-- either victim or witness). If someone grabs your ankles? Don't look down. Grab your purse. They grab ankles to distract. Then shove you out of a subway. And they keep your wallet. True story.

Raina Cox said...

I can only be of help for sojourns to England, New Zealand, and Santa Barbara.

I would highly recommend taking ExLax. Foreign food will stop you up in no time flat.

pearls said...

i have no advice for you except please take me with you.....

Brooke said...

1- a big ziplock mix of almonds, cashews and cranberries. (The raw, unsalted nuts) And I get V8 from the beverage cart. You want to eat in ways to help with jet lag.

2- I've staying in mold infested rooms in Paris, chigger infested camp-sites in the French country side, and dorm room hostels in Rome... but you probably aren't interested in my type of frugality.

3- Why not, it packs lightly.

4- There is a spot my family is always sure to visit, but it's too late to call the FIL to ask. Sorry!

5- I'm sure "vodka" and "coke" (with an appropriate accent) will get the point across.

6- Remember that in Barcelona they speak Catalan, not the regular Spanish you are thinking of. They are similar, sometimes just spelled a little differently... sometimes completely different. And there's that awesome lisp sound in the language. "Barth-elona"

7- Not sure, just make sure you get off the beaten path and try places the locals eat. For the most part, don't eat around tourist stops (especially in Rome).

8 and 9 - Dunno

10- I am waaaay too tired to tell a story right now. But I can't STAND to hear people say Rome sucked. They're just bad travelers who have no sense of adventure and wonderment. A lot of folks travel for the novelty I guess, to be able to say they have gone. But without a passion for what is there, or a desire to take in the culture, they're just setting themselves up for disappointment (whoa, I'm rambling!)

The 100%, fool-proof way to not be pick-pocketed is to NOT HAVE ANYTHING in your pockets. There are "money belts" that you wear on the inside of your pants. Then carry a messenger(angled to the front) for sunglasses, maps, etc. Just keep it simple. :)

Loren said...

1. I have a snack tip. If you can find a Great Harvest Bread Company near you, get the trail mix. It is amazing, very filling, kind sweet. You could probably make some yourself for cheaper but I don't remember everything that is in it.
10. I had a fantastic trip when I was in high school to London, Paris, and Madrid (in about 9 days). I would suggest going on one of those cheesy bus tours of the city, like as soon as you get there. That way you get to see ALL the big touristy places in one go (so you don't regret missing something you didn't get around to seeing), get a sense for the way the city is laid out your first day, and you get to have some cheesy fun :)

Michelle said...

I grew up in New Jersey, and I have 2 pizza recommendations in NYC. This first is the place under the Brooklyn Bridge (on the Brooklyn side)'s pretty well known and I think it's called Grimaldi's. I ate there in high school, so my memory is a little fuzzy, but it was EXCELLENT. The second is a place at the corner of 33rd and 3rd. My friends introduced me to it a few years ago and now we always make sure to stop there after a night out in the City. DELISH!!! Not sure what it's called but if you get off at that corner, you'll see it. Enjoy your trip!

CW said...

We are headed to Italy in a few months and need recommendations.. will check back. Hope you have a great trip!

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

Thanks, CW!

Mary Beth said...

i just got back from studying in Rome for a semester- it's wonderful!!

1. any sort of granola bars. they're easy to pack and small

2. I think the best is to eat one fancy meal a day. i'd usually eat breakfast at home, grab something quick for lunch (pizza or sandwhiches- in rome cafe's are called bars (i know, confusing right?) and they have sandwiches in there that they can heat up for you. or an alementari is a sandwich place like a deli where you can pick out you bread and what you want on your sandwich) both of those are great, and you can get a sandwich for about 3euro. and then dinner can be at nicer places which is more $, but you saved your money at lunch and breakfast so it's worth it :)

5. hand motions like someone else said haha. In Rome a lot of store owners/people can speak a little or enough English for communication. its if they want to communicate with you.

6. haha yes. speaking of water, if it isn't frozen Rome has awesome water fountains around the entire city that are potable. so buy a water bottle your first day and just fill it everywhere.

7. Favorite Gelato place in Rome- Old Bridge Gelato. It's right by the Vatican and gives you the biggest scoops for your money.

There is also a restaurant right around the corner, i think it's just called restaurant and it's also really good, their pizza is amazing ! they have a few i think I've seen 3 throughout the city, but I've only been to this one.
Both are near the Ottaviano Metro stop, around where Via Vespasiano dead ends into the vatican wall.

9. I don't know about foot stuff, but Rome right now is COLD. Like it's snowing, so pack a lot of layers and be prepared!

10. Rome was amazing. My favorite thing to do was to wander around the streets and just find little places to shop or eat, and then figure out how to get home. Don't get too caught up in being a tourist to just enjoy the city!! Tresevere was a great part of the city- it's old and quaint with a lot of good bars and restaurants!

Good luck with your travels! if you want anything more specific about Rome, let me know!

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

Mary Beth, this is such excellent advice! I will definitely be visiting Old Bridge Gelato. And thanks for the tip on the water!

Living in Florida, we're excited for the cold weather - especially for snowboarding. I did have to go out and buy a ton of new clothes though. The last few times I did Europe it was summer and fall, so this shall be a new experience!

Megan said...

I went to Rome and it was awesome.

1. My boyfriend will turn into a monster if he gets the slightest bit hungry. So I have to keep snacks in my purse like I have a 3 year old child. It's like a sedative for those long IKEA trips when he refuses to stand in line for the Swedish meatballs. My weapons of choice are a fruit/nut bar like KIND, Get Movin crackers, and fruit leathers.

Sarah said...

Apologies in advance for such a long comment. I spent a year in Rome for architecture school and miss it terribly.

1. Clif Bars. They're small but surprisingly filling. I can put off a meal for 4 or 5 hours with one of those guys.

2. I'm assuming everything is already booked and planned. Otherwise I'd suggest booking your Barcelona-to-Rome flight with RyanAir. I think I paid like twenty euros for that flight, including taxes. No assigned seating though, but you're scrappy enough to get a decent seat.

3. Eh. But then again, I'm not one for frilly underthings in general. Partly because I'm cheap and start a "Do you realize how many pairs of comfy cotton underwear you could buy for the price of one of these uncomfortable lacy things that you're not even entirely sure how to put on?" conversation with myself any time I even look.

5. (Spanish) Cuando el esta en el cuarto de bano, pon el vodka en su bebida, por favor. (Italian) Quando e nello bagno, metti la vodka nella bevande, per favore.

7. If you get tired of the heavy pasta dishes in Rome, try L'Ensalata Ricca for the most delicious salads you will ever eat in your life. I went there so frequently (don't judge - it was on the way to studio) that the sweet Bangladeshi men started calling me La Greca (the name of the salad I always got) and serving me wine while I waited for my to-go ("per porta la via") order. Maybe not the most authentically Italian place to eat, but definitely worth it! Next door to the location on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (which is the street that you will probably take to the Vatican) is a place called Pizzeria Tosca which has standard Italian fare and is quite good. (The church across the street - San Andrea della Valle - is famous. The first act of the opera Tosca is set there, and it houses an incorruptible body). My favorite coffee shop is Bar Valle. I visited the famous cafes all over Italy and none of them topped the cappuccini from Bar Valle. Speaking of coffee, people will look at you funny if you order a cappuccino in the morning, since they consider it an afternoon drink. And if you want a latte, order a caffelatte. Otherwise you'll just end up with a glass of milk.

Don't be overly worried about pickpockets and thieves. I never had any problems. Just be aware of your surroundings and possessions at all times and use common sense. Tell Andrew not to keep his wallet in his back pocket. You'll have much less chance of being had if you WALK instead of taking public transportation, which in Rome is generally unreliable anyway. Everything in Rome's historic city center (where 95% of the tourist attractions and shopping are) is very walkable. If you look at a map of Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano and San Pietro in Vaticano are probably the two furthest points a tourist typically sees, and they're only 2.6 miles apart with LOTS of opportunities for gelato and coffee and pizza in between. Via del Corso is the famous shopping street if you discover that you just have to have another fabulous pair of shoes. Sorry for writing an entire travel book in your comments section. I just love Rome!

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

Ah, I skipped the required architecture school year in Italy since I was on track scholarship and traveling most of the time with the team.

Also, thank you to everyone who has mentioned the pick pocketing and general such information, but I've got a good share of European travel under my belt, so I've got a decent idea of what to expect (my Parisian hotel room was even broken into once!)...

I love, love, love the specific recommendations on restaurants and favorite snacks, and can't misses and all that! Thank you all!

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

And keep 'em coming!

Life in Rehab said...

I've been to the Italian pavilion at EPCOT...

If you two ever want to spend a week in Disney, I'm your girl. Exotic, grown up trips? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Magellan catalog has something like an English-to-Spanish (and other languages) dictionary but smaller and organized by topic. They also have a large laminated sheet full of pictograms that can be used no matter what the local language. I think either is under $20 or $25.

The only thing I know about foreign travel is that while you'll probably find someone that speaks English - everyone will appreciates your attempt to speak the local language.

Have a great time!

A little old house said...


English will get you surprisingly far in Europe so I wouldn't worry about learning Spanish of ye olde worlde style too much although a Thank you, yes, no and please in the appropriate language will earn you brownie points :o)
Check into Ryan Air and Euro Rail (train) for traveling around Europe

Have fun!

K said...

I also did study abroad in Rome and I have to second Mary Beth...Old Bridge Gelatto. All. The. Way. Also, Dino & Tony's Hostaria in Rome is so so good! Go super hungry cause those Italians sure know how to eat!

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

Dino + Tony's? Will do! I have the hungry part covered!

A Little Old, I think that's who we're flying from Barcelona to Rome...