Earlier this summer I participated in a half-semester bus trip through western Europe. The trip covered major sites in five countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, and The Netherlands.
I’d seen Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, and Brussels in late 2001 while studying abroad in Brighton, UK (making good use of the Europe’s amazing low-cost airlines), but I had never ventured outside the major metropolitan areas, and I had yet to travel Spain or Portugal. While the idea of five weeks on a bus with 40 other students was not immediately appealing, the prospect of a guided architectural tour outweighed any concerns I had about privacy or personality conflicts. Thanks to the research each student did in preparation, and due to the instructor’s years of experience, the academic program was top-notch.
Over the next few days, I’ll sum up my experience in each country, and try to draw some conclusions from the trip as a whole.[Edit: Or, I won’t!]