Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Europe decisions

I submitted my last paper of the MBA last night at about 8:30, immediately proceeding to dance jubilantly throughout the house, proclaiming triumphant victory... At which point Jack reminded me that I still have to go to class in Europe. Minor detail.

Never having studied abroad, and hearing great reviews from friends who participated last summer, I decided to sign up for a two-week study abroad trip to France and Spain. I'll spend one week in Toulouse then a second week in Barcelona, both through the Toulouse Business School.

Needless to say, I am stoked.

I scheduled some extra time before and after, because... well, when is the next time I'll spend 3+ weeks in Europe? I am all set for Paris for 2 days before the program, and I have a week to fill after the program. With all the crazy school/work/life stuff that's been going on, I'm just starting to narrow down how to fill that week.

Time -- I only have one week; less than that if you factor in getting back to Paris by Friday, leaving Barcelona Sunday, and travel time in between.
Budget -- I have been saving for a while, so I have a reasonable chunk budgeted for this trip. Flights, hotels, food, and excursions, however cheap individually, add up quickly.
Interest -- There's really nowhere I wouldn't like to go. Heathrow on a stopover to Jordan is the extent of my Europe experience, so I have a lot of untouched ground to cover.
Language -- If I had a dollar for every time someone said "everyone speaks English in Europe!"... This is a more minor consideration; still I would like to be able to buy a train ticket without sounding like a complete American idiot. My Spanish is... passable. I know like 5 French words, so there's that.

The only real requirement is I must begin in Barcelona on Sunday (Saturday is OK, but Sunday is hotel check-out,) and I must end in Paris on Friday (flight is Saturday.)

Barcelona to Monaco
Monaco to Bilbao
Bilbao to Lisbon
Lisbon to Paris

Barcelona to Gibraltar
Gibraltar to Lisbon
Lisbon to Bilbao
Bilbao to Paris

Barcelona to Bilbao
Bilbao to Lisbon
Lisbon to Paris

Barcelona to somewhere in France
Miscellaneous France travels to Paris in time for my flight home

I think I like #3. There are plenty of opportunities for excursions in the Basque region (nearby Rioja wine region, majestic ocean cliffs, etc.)

Decisions, decisions...

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