06 May Where the World Vacations

Spring is here and with it comes the inevitable urge to travel during the upcoming summer months. Though the vast majority of Americans travel domestically, there are still those who wander farther. These are the people who dream of tropical getaways to Mexico, or hiking adventures in the northern wilds of Canada. These are the travelers who don’t feel fulfilled until there is a new stamp in their passport and a new security tag on their baggage. Seasonal wanderlust is hardly limited to Americans. In fact, Europeans are famous for their vacations. It certainly helps to live on a continent full of distinct nations easily reached by a car trip or short plane flight. Interestingly, a study conducted on travel trends for the EU noted that vacation destinations differ by nationality. Here are some of the results. Italians vacation in France. Yep, even Italians need a break from pasta occasionally. They head inland to the mountains and cities of France for a refreshing getaway. British go to Spain. It’s no secret that the Brits love the Mediterranean coast. Tans, tea, and tapas; Spain is the dream destination for everyone looking to escape the grey skies of England. The Irish visit the UK. This is a bit of a surprise until you consider that you can get a round trip from Dublin to London for $50. $50! You can hardly buy a suitcase for that price! Czech tourists choose Slovakia. Though not well known in the US, Slovakia is a gorgeous...

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15 Apr Flea-Bitten: A Guide to Flea Markets in Europe

[caption id="attachment_2301" align="aligncenter" width="300"] An awesome Lion's Club Flea Market I stumbled upon in Denmark.[/caption] Caught the Shopping Bug? Whether it’s to find that one elusive dinner plate to complete a set from the 1940s, or because a modern couch just doesn’t have the same charm as an orange couch from the 1970s, there are many reasons people flock to flea markets. The air is always filled with excited chatter, music, and the mingled smells of food and dusty age. Flea markets are rarely just about buying old things - they also bring to life a sense of community and familiarity. Europe has some of the oldest and largest flea markets in the world, and stopping by at least one or two is almost a requirement for a well-rounded study abroad or travel experience. Flea markets give people an inside look into the culture, history, food, and customs of an area, all in one unique place. During your time abroad, take a day or weekend to hop on the train and get down to one of the flea markets dotted all across Europe. Even if you have no intention of buying anything, you won’t be disappointed in the rich experience you will have. Just be sure to keep an open mind and try to engage someone in conversation - people selling vintage pieces usually have amazing stories to go along with the items. Mercatone dell’Antiquariato del Naviglio Grande Held along the Naviglio Grande, this flea market...

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28 Jan Play With Your Food

Do you like to get creative with your food, or harbor a secret passion for a good food fight? If you answered "yes" to any of those queries, or if you have just started flinging food about at the very suggestion, then you’ll love these quirky, messy, no-holds-barred food festivals from around the world.   Ivrea Carnival and Orange Battle, Italy, February/March Prepare for a pummeling at this three-day food fight, held in the small northern Italian city of Ivrea in the days leading up to Fat Tuesday. Around 400 tons worth of over ripe oranges are brought in from southern Italy for the epic battle, which re-enacts a Middle Ages rebellion against the Holy Roman Emperor known as Barbarossa (Red Beard). Thousands of people in medieval costumes gather in teams, with the king’s guards pelting foot soldiers and other carriage teams from their horse-drawn carts.   Copper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake, UK, May Yes it could just be the cheesiest festival in the world. Held atop steep Cooper’s Hill in the village of Brockworth near Gloucester, the event involves rolling an eight pound cheese wheel down the hill and racing down after it at death-defying speeds. The official event was cancelled in 2010 due to concerns around crowds and safety, but was quickly resurrected in an unofficial form. Last year, organizers replaced the Double Gloucester cheese wheel with a lightweight foam version, and a Colorado Springs estate agent and a Japanese contestant each won one...

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25 Aug Bailamos!

Close your eyes and picture a Spanish dance. What do you imagine? Probably dark moody lighting, twirling skirts, and lots of flair, right? Though all of these components can be labeled as stereotypes, they all arise (not incorrectly) from the cultural force that is Spanish dance. Below is Panrimo’s alphabetical guide to our 7 favorite Spanish Dances. Olé! Alegrías https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuYPv16BCBA A very specific variation of flamenco native to the Cádiz region, Alegrías is most notable for it’s difficulty. Danced to a 12 beat structure, it is compiled of 6 sections that all feature differing tempo, emphasis, and phrasing. Though strict, when performed well it’s a stunning, intricate performance that will please even the sternest audience. Bolero https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVKClliJWh8 The Bolero is a slow dance best performed by a couple. Popular since it’s conception in the 18th century, the dance is a unique combination of the grace of classical ballet and the flourish of traditional village dances. The accompanying music often features some sort of string instrument (primarily guitar) and castanets, which work well with the triple time beat. Corrido https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cimnyVwZ56I A favorite couple dance in Castilla and Leon, the Corrido is a group participation event. Popular since the 19th century, the music’s irregular rhythm drives the dancers around in circles, speeding and slowing in time with the beat. Still used in many local festivals, this dance always tells a story. Themes range from romance to revolution, so the audience must pay close attention; the ending isn’t always happy! El Vito https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdYCxamQG5U Similar to the Bolero,...

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10 Jul Tips on Tipping

In the USA gratuity has gotten a bit gratuitous. You have to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just go ahead and raise minimum wage again so these poor people don’t have to depend on our pennies and dimes to get by. However, for as ever-present tipping is in America, many other countries don’t operate on the same rules. To avoid inadvertently offending the wait-staff, here are some tips on tipping. http://www.beausides.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Chinese-bellhop.jpg China Outside of the more European sensibilities of Hong Kong, tipping is neither expected, nor encouraged in China. The service industry isn’t trained to expect it and may be confused if you attempt to hand them a few singles. Though some tour services may allow you to thank their guides in this way, don’t feel obligated. Czech Republic Though a common courtesy involves rounding up the bill to the nearest denomination of 10 korun, no one will fault you if you refrain from doing so. (Note that in more international cities like Prague, more and more services expect a 10% tip for services rendered. Blame the tourists.) An important point to remember: tipping on a credit card charge isn’t done. England Tipping is expected and encouraged, but, as would happen in the USA, if the service is horrible you can legally refuse to do so. Keep in mind that, similar to their American counterparts, many service workers are faced with a ‘tip jar’ system, where they must evenly divide their takings at the end...

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