March 13, 2009

Spring Break 2009 - The Plan

Each semester in the Genoa program, architecture students are encouraged to use their week of spring break to travel around Europe. In fact, Clemson even calls it "Independant Studies", dropping the "Spring Break" moniker altogether. The goal is to see some architectural/artistic masterpieces, whether they be buildings, urban plans, paintings, sculptures, you name it, that you are individually interested in.

Naturally, having never travelled to Europe prior to this semester, Lindsey and I wanted to plan a trip that would allow us to see as much as possible in the 10 days we had available. Derrick, one of my best friends from undergrad, was planning on traveling with us, along with a few other classmates off-and-on. So, with my primary travelmates being Lindsey and Derrick, we sat down to plan out what we thought would be a Spring Break for the ages. We knew we didn't want to waste a lot of time traveling, so we tried to avoid booking any of our travels by train. In Europe, there are many budget airlines that allow you to fly all over for less than dinner for two at Red Lobster (yeah, thats right). So, the three of us planned a trip using Ryanair and EasyJet airlines. We were interested in all sorts of places on an individual basis, and this, along with the cost of each option for airline tickets, governed our decision making process for where we would go. For example: Lindsey wanted very badly to see Ireland, I specifically wanted to go to Berlin, and Derrick was down for whatever as long as he didn't repeat any place he had already been (he had studied for a semester in the Barcelona program Clemson offers during undergrad).

At the end of our planning session, we emerged with an incredibly exciting itenerary that satisfied everyone's wishes for travel, plus some. We would take a train to Milan on Friday, March 13, spend the night, and get up early to head to the airport. From there, we would fly to Athens, Greece to see the Acropolis (with our friend Heather Bachman). After one night there, Heather would leave us for Turkey, and we would fly to Berlin, Germany for two nights to see all the great architecture in the city (or as much of it as we could fit in). On the 17th (Saint Patrick's Day) we would fly to Dublin, Ireland just in time for the festivities. Spending three nights there, taking in the city and some of the surrounding countryside, we would fly to London, England. In London, we would meet up with two of our friends who will have been traveling all over Ireland, Scotland, and England: Heather Nelson and Lura Blumenfeld. The five of us would then stay 3 nights in London, seeing the city, and taking a day trip out to Wiltshire to see Stonehenge. Early Monday morning, we would fly back to Genoa to arrive just in time for lunch. Whew.

With all this flying, we would never once spend more than $40 on a plane ticket, and never waste any more than 3 hours travelling. Lindsey would see Ireland, I would visit Berlin, and Derrick will have been new to all the cities we were visiting.

I will be posting summaries of each day of travel as we go, so keep checking back for stories and photos!!!!

Let the journey begin!!!!!!!!

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