Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eurocco: a summary

So here's a quick summary of our trip for those confused. It came together pretty quick so it's understandable that people aren't sure what we are doing.

The main purpose of the trip is for Cait to undertake a 6-week study of Arabic at an institute in Fez. She received a FLAS scholarship for $5,000 that can only go to cover program costs (even with the addition of a private tutor, she is not using it all), a $2,500 living stipend and then an additional $1,000 from her department at the university. While that wont pay for everything (it mostly went to plane tickets) it will cover quite a bit, especially in Morocco, where the cost of living is low.

Early on (relatively for how quickly this came together), we thought it would be fun to do a trip across Europe on our way in. Besides Cait's stay on a military base in Germany when she was little and a quick trip through London on a study abroad, neither of us had seen anything of Europe. We also knew that we had friends in Cambridge (Jessica) and friends that would be in Germany on our way back out. So here, basically is the plan, although we are a few days in now, of course:

Day 1) Fly to Dublin through London.

2) One night in Dublin. Ferry to Wales.

3) Trains to Cambridge.

4&5) Stay in Cambridge with Jessica and Tom.

6) Train to Paris (this is where we are right now). Explore. Hotel.

7) Explore Paris. Sleeper train to Madrid.

8&9) Explore Madrid.

10) Train to Southern Spain. Hotel.

11) Ferry to Morocco.

This is where things get a little more flexible. We are planning on spending a few days on the beach in Morocco before making our way into Fez, where we will have a few days in a hotel while finding an apartment. Then Cait's program starts and we have six weeks of exploring Fez. We will probably also do some weekend trips to other sites, like Marrakech. But we haven't really gotten that far.

Cait will be in class for 4 hours a day and then have around 4 hours of homework a day, including working with a tutor, so she should be pretty busy, although hopefully not as busy as I was in Egypt. I will be the homemaker, and along with lots of trip to the club where we will try to get memberships, so that we can swim and play, I have hopes of getting to know some Moroccan families with kids for our kids to play with. We had some good experiences in Egypt, although we were restricted a little by BYU rules concerning fraternizing with the natives. Morocco is, of course, different from Egypt, but there might be enough similarities for my limited Egypt experience to be helpful.

On the way back, we plan on flying to Germany to stay with our friends Juve and Nina, who will have moved back home after ending their time in Madison. That should be a lot of fun.

Then we have to decide whether we want to train and ferry back to Dublin, maybe spending some time in London or a non-Paris French town, or whether just to fly on home. It will depend on how much we are still feeling the shock of this trip, and if we're up for doing it again. We have plenty of time to decide.

So that's it. A nice mixture between pleasure and business. If the days so far are any indication, it should be a really nice trip.


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