The Fine Art of the Picnic

One budget buster on any trip through Europe is food. Restaurants can really put a dent in your spending money if you are not careful. Not that you shouldn’t eat out at great local eateries – local cuisine is an essential experience of any good trip abroad. But you can eat local and eat great for a lot less than most tourists do. One trick is the picnic lunch.

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Europe has great early morning open-air markets where you can get a bewildering variety of fresh food – fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads galore, boxes of juice, on and on. Many locals will shop each and every morning at these markets, ensuring that they have quality, fresh, locally grown food. It is a centuries old tradition that, happily, has not succumbed to the supermarket (they have those too, not nearly as fun).

And not only is the food local and fresh, and not only can you rub shoulders with the locals, and not only can you try to get what you want in the quantities you want from a local vendor, it is cheap! For $5 you can stuff yourself silly with all the fruit, vegetables, breads and juices your heart could desire! Compare that to a $20 lunch at some joint that proudly boasts “We speak English” and serves you cafeteria food. There is no comparison!

The fruits and veggies and cheeses are sold by weight. Just show the vendor with your hands about how much you want and they will bag it up for you. Do it with a smile, use the local words for please and thank you, and they will treat you wonderfully well.

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So grab some friends, hit the morning market, and stock up on this great food. At lunch time find a shady spot, spread it all out, and dig in! You will love the picnic lunch!

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