2010 Fall Sarah Bergstein Temple Rome

Study Abroad Sweets and Eats

What’s that?  You’re starving?  Can’t think of what to eat?  No worries.  My friends and I have eaten enough in Europe to overwhelm you with ideas.  If your mouth isn’t already watering, it will be by the time you’re done reading this post.  Plus, you’ll be ready to make a mad dash to the nearest (insert place where you can get the type of food you’re now craving).

The very first pizza Jaclyn and I had in Rome.

Each time we head to a new city, there’s always a discussion about our level of excitement for the type of food that we are going to be able to eat once we get there.  So naturally, one of the first things we do when we arrive at that city, is head for the first restaurant we can find that makes authentic food of that particular place.  For example:

We eat like it’s our job in Rome.  My sister Jaclyn can’t get enough of Italian pizza and pasta (literally, she even eats it for breakfast!) and I have seriously been getting my fill of all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are sold at either the grocery store or at little street markets.  I would say 3 to 4 times a week, Jaclyn and I head to a café to enjoy a cappuccino, and every so often we stop at a new place for some gelato.  Wine is almost cheaper than water, and we’ve had our fair share in Rome, but I am also a big fan of Borghetti, a coffee liqueur that a lot of Italians tend to drink at cafés before going out at night.

My friend eating white sausage in Munich… eww.

I was in Munich for Oktoberfest, so obviously the only thing I consumed in Munich was beer.  Actually, we stayed at a four-star hotel, so every morning I ate a breakfast fit for a king- fresh eggs, salmon, cheese, fruit and vegetables, bread, juice and coffee.  I don’t eat meat, but my friends really enjoyed the white sausage.  Apparently, it is so fresh each morning that whatever is not consumed by about noon, has to be thrown out.  For me that’s only a good reminder as to why I don’t eat it in the first place.

I would say Dublin is up there on my list of cities with the best food.  Stew is a traditional type of dish in Ireland, and Jaclyn and I had enough seafood stew in our weekend in Dublin to feed several large families.  It was also my 23rd birthday while we were in Dublin, so we enjoyed some really great desserts as well.  My favorite was a banana bread, served warm and topped with fresh bananas, ice cream and a Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce.

A delicious seafood stew in Dublin

Jaclyn and I were really excited to eat fish n’ chips in London, so we waited until we found a place that we both agreed would be the best place to enjoy it.  The Anchor is a restaurant right on the River Thames, and we seriously hit the fish n’ chips jackpot.  We got a huge bowl of broccoli and cheddar soup, and the most massive plate of fish n’ chips I have ever seen.  I believe we waddled out of The Anchor, feeling disgustingly full yet completely satisfied.

A magnificent mound of fish n’ chips

I am almost always open to trying new things, but frogs and snails are where I draw the line, so no escargot or frog legs in Paris for me.  At home, I am a big fan of breakfast at any time of the day, and so I was really excited that I could order an omelet in any restaurant at any time in Paris.  We were there for 3 full days, and you can bet I had a crepe each of the three days.  I think the crepe truck at Temple back in Philly just lost my business, I don’t think I can ever go back.

A cheese omelet for dinner in Paris? Fabulous!

In Barcelona we stopped at this really great little tapas restaurant for the whole tapas experience, but my favorite meal in Barcelona was a seafood rice dish my sister and I split at this great little restaurant on the beach.  We ordered a decent bottle of wine, and realized we’d made the right choice in deciding to split the meal because this dish was huge!  Full of rice and vegetables and all different types of seafood, we seriously didn’t –couldn’t– eat for the rest of the day!

Seemed fishy, but this rice plate was delicious!

This year was the first time I was away from home for Thanksgiving, and we happened to be in Athens for my favorite holiday.   Thankfully (no pun intended) we were all in agreement that Greece was our favorite place to eat of all the places we’ve all been to in Europe.  Gyros, Greek salad, tzatziki and pita bread, olives, fresh feta… the works!  I was hyped up all weekend on Greek Coffee, and we enjoyed our fair share of sangria and ouzo throughout the weekend.

An incredibly fresh salad in Athens

Jaclyn and I are taking one last trip together to Brussels the last weekend that we are in Europe.  You can bet Belgium beer and waffles are on my mind.  I can’t wait.

Now ladies, if you’re planning to study abroad for a semester (or even a full year) and you’re worried about gaining weight, stop worrying.  So long as you’re conscious of how much incredible food you’re shoving into your face, you’ll be totally fine.  Don’t leave your workout clothes at home!  There are plenty of options for joining a gym, and the weather is nice enough that you can definitely work out outside even in the winter months!

Every day is a great day for gelato

Fortunately for me, an Air Force ROTC fitness test awaits me when I return home from my semester abroad, so though I’ve definitely been enjoying myself and eating more than I normally would at home, I might have put on a proud three or four pounds (proud because it’s totally worth it for all the incredible food I’ve eaten) instead of the 15 pounds I surely woud have gained had I not been working out.

Did someone just say it’s time to go get gelato?  Count me in!

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