London: Best places for afternoon tea
The top traditional places downtown for afternoon tea are Browns (brownshotel.com) which won the Tea Guild's award for the best tea in the capital in 2009 and the Dorchester (thedorchester.com). Both are expensive at around $50, and whilst you don't have to dress up to the nines, they are conservative establishments where people talk in hushed tones.
Personally, I'd opt for somewhere cheaper, younger and less stuffy. Go to Bloomsbury (a neighborhood near the British Museum, made famous by the Virginia Woolf and her literary set) and drop into Bea's (beasofbloomsbury.com), which offer sumptuous cakes and tea in a little café for around $12. And whilst it's a 40-minute subway trip from the city center near the Canary Wharf financial district, the Mudchute Kitchen (mudchutekitchen.org) has generous farmhouse teas with a strong brew and cream cakes, on a 32-acre urban farm, also for around $12. It's cozy spot, and kids are welcome as well.
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. Another deal: Teachers get half-off admission to the Museum of the Earth, which is currently featuring a hands-on fossil identification workshop on Valentine's Day weekend. 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.