Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lesson 9: Take Advantage of the Weekends

The point of study abroad is to see the world! Not to be shut in a classroom 5 hours a day all week. Some of us feel guilty about skipping class back at home (not me), but sometimes you need to ditch the goody goody act and LIVE!

It's not that hard to fit fabulous vacations into a short weekend because of those lovely things called trains. The teachers (in France, at least) are very understanding about letting you skip class to travel. Classes in Europe are pass/fail and the homework is optional (though they will sass you if you don't do it). It's quite fabulous really, aside from having to live off coffee to keep your attention span from dying throughout the long ass school days. Once you get to college, it's real hard to get used to being shut in a building for more than two hours again.

Anyway, tell the teacher when you're peacing out for a mini vacay, which should be every Friday if you're smart. They know that you paid gobs of money to go do fun stuff. I mean seriously, when are you going to be in Europe again? You don't know. So make the most of it.

Train Travel Tips
*Carte 12-25 - If you're in France and you want to travel to fab places like Paris, Marseille, etc. then you need this! The Carte is for people between the ages of 12-25, hence the name, and it gets you discounts of up to 60% on train tickets. It's about 50 euros and it's well worth it in the end!

*Don't forget to get your ticket composted at one of the rando machines in the station before boarding

Places We Went on the Weekends

Pros- really pretty, BEACHES!, Le Chateau D'If, really nice hostiles, amazing seafood, Nutella flavored ice cream
Cons - smelled like eggs in some areas, plethora of gross seagulls

Pros - Cooler weather, gorgeous, great shopping, CHOCOLATE, good bars, badass italian food, energy efficient hotels, the US dollar being worth slightly more than the Swiss franc, lots of British people, neat museums, wine tasting, every person you see is attractive, Voltaire's house
Cons - Um...nothing

Pros - Uh, it's PARIS!, shopping, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Champs-Elysees, Versailles, Moulin Rouge, and EVERYTHING ELSE
Cons -  The rude old French lady that gives Asian kids tours of Versailles. BEWARE. Oh, and don't use your flash on the camera because this douche will scream at you in English. She's senile.


 I loved everywhere that we went, but my fave was definitely Switzerland. It is the most badass country you will ever visit. I'll admit I was kind of disappointed at the thought of going there for my birthday (had my hopes up on Rome) but it was AWESOME! Keep in mind that it's hard to travel to countries that aren't really close by because then you have to take a plane and blah blah blah. It's too much effort, and too much money. Geneva and Paris are definite musts. I'll never understand why so many Americans hate Paris and think it's dirty. I didn't really see anything dirty? Then again, we were only there for one full day on the way back to the good ole US. As long as you attempt to speak in French then everyone is nice. Well, except that crackhead at Versailles but she was clearly mentally unstable.

So, get a group of your friends that are there with you and figure out where you want to go! Pack your bags light (you'll be walking places), get those train tickets and peace the hell out for awhile. You only live once, right?

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