I’ve contracted the disease. The symptoms are all there: spontaneously buying bus tickets to new countries, laughing at my dwindling bank account with little remorse, traveling directly after class ends on Friday and only returning to Angers in time for my Monday class. Every night I find myself obsessively searching for the cheapest route to my destination of the week. The list of possibilities is endless. Oh look, there’s a 45 euro plane to Stockholm next weekend! I’ve never even considered going to Stockholm, but what kind of infected voyaging maniac would dream of saying no? Indeed, the travel bug has bitten. If this is insanity then I’m not ready to see clearly again.
Of all the wonderful experiences and opportunities that France has presented me with over the past two months, the best by far is easy, affordable (…ish) access to travel throughout Europe. When I arrived in Angers I made the brilliant decision of purchasing a Carte Jeune (a train pass that gives up to 60% discounts to youths), which has turned out to be my absolute best friend. I have now traveled throughout the Loire Valley and visited Paris, Barcelona, Bretagne, Normandie, Cinque Terre, Rome, Florence, Nantes, and Amsterdam. (I’ve thrown in some pictures below.) Tomorrow I head to Paris after class to catch an overnight bus to London for Halloween weekend. But I couldn’t stop there; I had to fill every weekend left in my time abroad with a trip. After London, I’ll head to Prague, then another weekend in Paris (THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE IN PARIS), then Bordeaux, then Lyon, and one last weekend hopefully in the Alpes. Phew, I’m exhausted just typing it. “Study Abroad” must be some sort of inside joke between universities, because I do far more traveling than studying, which is A-OK with me!
My Ratings: Amsterdam wins for best all-around city. It’s about as close as the world will get to a perfect society. Florence takes most romantic, Barcelona throws the best party, and Rome was probably the most magnificent experience I’ve had thus winning my personal favorite. As for Paris, it’s Paris and doesn’t give a damn what you think because it is fabulous. I can’t wait to find out this weekend how London compares!