This week was the second week of classes, and it was much the same as last week. In each class we would sit and take hand-written notes for 90 minutes, take a half-hour break, then break into the groups we formed last week. Getting back into groups was interesting because almost nobody remembered who was on their group, let alone which group number they were. Once we had figured out who was in our groups, we were given a short case that we had 20-30 minutes to create a PowerPoint presentation on.

It is now a pseudo-tradition that Ariel and I go and explore somewhere on Wednesdays. She calls them “Wandering Wednesdays.” This week we went to Fontainebleau, which is where many of the French rulers lived (prior to Versailles). Like Versailles it is famous for its grounds, but especially for its forest. We did not have much time to explore the grounds because, just like going to Mont Saint Michel, we had problems with the trains. In this case, we were stuck 3/4 of the way there at a train station owing to the fact that all of the trains leaving or heading to Gare de Lyon were stopped because someone had been hit by a train. Based on our initial estimate, we should have arrived at around 10 o’clock. Instead, we arrived close to 2pm.

This week Ariel and I also finished planning and booking our fall break trips. Our fall break is 2 weeks long, the last week of October and the first week of November. To us, this means that Halloween is during fall break, and we wanted to do something Halloween-y to celebrate. One of our first thoughts was to go to Romania and visit Count Dracula’s castle, but it would be very out of our way and neither of us had any particular desire to see Romania. Our next idea was the Paris Catacombs. It would be cheaper too, because we could just stay in our apartments. This was the plan right up until we discovered that Halloween is on a Monday, and Monday is the only day that the catacombs are not open. Unfortunately, we did not realize this until we had already booked the rest of our trip (including the flights to and from Paris). Fortunately, we found a different–and much tastier–thing to do. The Salon du Chocolat is going to be held that same weekend. 14€ for a day spent with 500 of the best chocolatiers in the world and lots of chocolate and salted caramels to eat!

Everyone knows it is easier (and cheaper) to travel around Europe than it is the United States, but that doesn’t mean certain flights won’t be expensive. The best way to start planning a trip is to think about whether or not you have a particular destination in mind. If so, great! Try to find flights early, otherwise they may be expensive. If you don’t have a particular destination in mind, search all flights and find the cheapest one to the most interesting destination.

For my fall break, I wanted to visit Spain and Nice (France) for sure, but after that I was open to suggestions. There were 2 possible solutions to figuring where I wanted to go in Spain: 1) puck a random city based on flight prices, or 2) ask someone who has been to Spain. I went with option 2 (thanks Danielle!). So for part 1 of my fall break I’m going to Madrid, Barcelona, and Nice.

After Halloween, Ariel and I decided to just look up prices for flying to different places and see what we found. We discover flights to Berlin were cheap, so we’re going there. From Berlin, we found a really good price to fly to Reykjavik, so that will be our last stop before the end of fall break.

Advice: book flights EARLY! Hotels, hostels, and airbnbs are easier to find later if you have a limit on your card, and can’t book everything at once.

Related advice: before you leave, check whether your cards have a limit for how much you can spend in a day.