I haven't written a trip report in some time and thought it would be fun to share some of this summer's travels. I am a college professor traveling abroad with a small group of students and my recently retired mother. I did this trip last year with students (albeit a larger group) and it is a different type of travel. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to share.
The trip this summer includes 2 full weeks in Paris and 1.5 weeks in Amsterdam. Following the end of the study abroad program, my mother and I are traveling to fulfill her lifelong dream of visiting her parents' homeland: Germany. We will be renting a car in Cologne and driving around for 2.5 weeks. We will end in Berlin where I have a work conference.
So this 6 week summer trip is a combination of business and pleasure. I try to squeeze in as much pleasure as possible.
Our summer study abroad program studies child development. It's sort of a different topic to try and study abroad...well, I mean it's different than the ones that are easy to understand, like art history. However, we adapt and find topics that are related to the sites in each city. For example, child development and the Louvre? Doesn't really seem like a good match, right? However, we spend time discussing how children were represented in art throughout history and then visit museums to find those representations.
This year there are 10 students....much more manageable than last year where we had 24 college students! Amazingly, we didn't lose anyone last year and no one got arrested (apparently a common occurrence during summer programs).
Who am I? Just a professor who loves to travel. I have the stereotypical, American "I need to see everything possible and check it off my list" mentality. However, the more I travel abroad the more I find myself slowing down. I like to see the "must sees" but don't have rigid travel schedules. I don't make restaurant reservations, I just wander around until I'm starving. I prefer street food to fancy restaurants. I don't drink alcohol (which seems like a crime in France).
I still try to see a lot....I struggle with trying to see a lot of cities/towns in a country vs. staying in one area and doing in depth exploration. My justification has always been that I want to see snippets of things and then decide if I want to go back. For example, we drove around Ireland for three weeks. We basically did a full loop of the island. Some thought we were crazy for staying in towns for only 2 nights at a time. For me it was perfect. Now I'll return to the areas I fell in love with.
So let's begin, shall we?
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Europe with Students and Mom: 6 Weeks in France, Netherlands & Germany