Ithaca, N.Y.: A travel deal for teachers
Why aren't more travel deals aimed at teachers? Leading by example is the small town of Ithaca. From Feb. 12-21, Ithaca is holding its fourth annual Winter Recess, with deals offered explicitly for educators and their families.
About 5,000 school employees and family members are expected to show up to enjoy buy-one-get-one free snowshoe rentals, spa treament discounts, and half-off restaurant meals. More than 100 events, include a free guided tour of New York state's largest waterfall, Taughannock Falls.
Learn more at ithacalovesteachers.com.
London: Mamma Mia! The Abba exhibition opens
The Swedish pop group Abba—the top-selling band of the '70s—is now being celebrated with a touring exhibition. All of the blitz and bling debuts today in London at ABBAWorld. Strut your platform disco shoes to the Earl's Court exhibition center, and join a "hologram" of the band onstage—and other karaoke-style opportunities to belt out the group's hits. Who will go? Fans of Mamma Mia (both the musical and the movie), kids who adore MTV's Taking the Stage, and some gay guys. Together, they love Abba. The movie Mamma Mia alone has grossed more than $600 million. The exhibition is complete with memorabilia and original costumes and instruments. Tickets: livenation.co.uk, $36 (£22) plus the usual outrageous booking fee. Can't make it to London? Good news: This exhibition will go on tour worldwide. No dates for a U.S. visit yet announced. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 5 Places Conan Should Go on Vacation Plan your trip with our London city page
Rome: Snacks for any craving
Puzzled visitors often remark how slim Romans are in spite of their somewhat heavy cuisine. Could it be their constant snacking that keeps metabolisms high and bodies trim? Why not test out the theory—and stave off the hunger that comes with intense sightseeing—with these quick, classic Roman snacks. Pizza. Nearly everywhere you turn, pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) joints are cutting individual slices at the sizes customers request. Perhaps the type most associated with Rome is pizza con le patate, sliced or shredded potato laid atop mozzarella-clad dough and baked. The simple pizza bianca, a flat bread brushed with olive oil, is another classic snack. Some places in Rome's historic center serving excellent pizza al taglio: Roscioli (via de' Chiavari 34), Pizzeria Florida (via Florida 25, southwest corner of Largo Argentina) and Forno Campo de' Fiori (Campo de' Fiori 22). Fried food. Try the quintessential Roman food on the go: a suppli', rice mixed with a tomato meat sauce studded with mozzarella pieces, rolled in breadcrumbs, and deep fried. Crocche', golden fried mashed potatoes, are another substantial snack. My favorite source for deep-fried treats is Volpetti (via Marmorata 47). Filetti di baccala', deep fried cod filets, are another classic Roman snack—made most famously at Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara (Largo dei Librari 88). Gelato. For a late afternoon pick-me-up that really gets the blood sugar flowing, grab a gelato at one of Rome's outstanding gelaterie, such as Ciampini (Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina 29), Bar Alberto Pica (via della Seggiola 12), or Fata Morgana (via Ostiense 36E). MORE FOOD COVERAGE Cheat Sheet: Italian Words to Know for Pizza and Gelato Italy Menu Decoder: Translations of Food Terms and Popular Dishes
Readers' best reflection photos
Thanks to all the readers who submitted photos of reflections—and took the time to share thoughtful, fascinating stories about where and why the shots were taken. You blew us away. The result is our best and longest reader slide show yet. These 24 outstanding shots include giraffes drinking from a waterhole in Namibia, the opulent pool at Hearst Castle, a glacial lake in Iceland, and a row of columns by a mosque in Abu Dhabi. See for yourself in our slide show. RECENT READER SLIDE SHOWS Wildlife | Rainbows | Nighttime STILL IN SEARCH OF… We're collecting your photos of Mexico. Upload them through myBudgetTravel, tag them, and check back in the coming weeks for a slide show of the best submissions.
London: 4 restaurant chains that are affordable and homegrown
Sometimes, you just want a quick bite without paying a small fortune—and without succumbing to the temptation of an overfamiliar yet predictable McDonald's either. In London, it's possible to find piquant pepperoni on an Italian pizza, a wholegrain sandwich packed with organic veggies, or a brie-and-bacon-stuffed French croissant, if you know the affordable spots to look out for. Here's a cheat sheet: Ready to Eat? Try Pret a Manger Pret serve pre-prepared sandwiches, salads and lunchtime snacks in slick brushed steel and chrome food bar throughout London (and increasingly in New York). Ingredients are delivered fresh every day and as the name suggests, the huge menu steers away from standard English sandwich fare, aiming for food with a dash of Gallic panache. Instead of ham and tomato sandwiches, Pret offers Brie, tomato and basil baguettes. There are Pret takeaway shops all over the city. Look for the distinctive magenta and white placards. Sandwiches and a drink from $6. Portuguese fried chicken at Nando's London's more up-market answer to KFC offers chili-pepper spiced Portuguese peri peri chicken in sit-down restaurants with real crockery and metal cutlery and decorated with splashes of Mediterranean color. Spiciness comes in grades—lemon and herb is for chili novices, then there's medium, hot and extra hot; which in spice-loving London will blow the roof off most American mouths. Nando's are ubiquitous; see an online map. Average price for 2 courses with a drink $20-25. Value-Priced, Decent Pizza at PizzaExpress This British chain offers the antidote to the spongy, cheese saturated shopping mall pizza. At PizzaExpress, Italian-style, thin-crust pizzas are prepared in open-plan kitchens, fired in super-hot gas ovens and whisked to marble tables in a matter of minutes by sharply dressed young wait staff. Our favorite is the Fiorentina, with fresh spinach, grana padano, free range egg, garlic oil and olives. Look for the royal blue and white placard near almost every subway station in London. Average price for 2 courses with a drink $20. There are 10 PizzaExpresses across town. See a list here. Curry in a Hurry at Masala Zone Indian curry has (thankfully) eclipsed soggy Fish and Chips as Britain's national dish. An end of the week or after work 'Indian' is a national pastime and washing down a hotter-than-hell Vindaloo of Phall and right of passage for adolescent British males from Land's End to John o'Groats. This small London chain offers curry in cool contemporary surrounds—with retro-chic 1930s posters and artifacts, mood-lighting and buzzy young crowd. If you're new to the menu and spice-shy opt for a mild Chicken Korma, cooked in butter and coconut. There are Masala Zones in Covent Garden, Soho, Earl's Court, and Camden. Average price for 2 courses with a drink $25. FUN FACT Did you know that most McDonald's locations in London sell the Chicken Tikka Snack Wrap? MORE LONDON INFO Check out our London City Destination page, with hotel recommendations, interactive map, and an "ask a local expert" feature