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I think what you mentioned is really important - are you really going to benefit from a quick "stop over" in some tourist filled city? It is important to weigh what you gain versus what you lose. First, you lose a few days of the most important days with your buddy Patrice, the weekends. not to mention how costly and hasslesome it can be to pack (again), take the train and find an inexpensive hotel in these cities. In addition you might miss out on the nightlife of Zurich, which you and I both know it can get pretty hot, which means you might miss out on opportunities to "break out of your shell" with certain individuals that you are travelling with, and have discussed with me at length.
The benefits would be that you would see a different country and culture, but would you really? Instead of being in the mist of a true native family, you would be taking off to take photos of known sites and gaudy monuments in maybe Munich, maybe Venice with other American tourists from Texas or maybe Ohio, as well as from other potholes of this country.

Elena Butler

But, should you choose to make a trip or two...I've had great experiences with the European train systems. I took a Saturday trip to Italy while in France last summer, and it was pretty nice just to be somewhere for a day where the culture is different. If you could find a destination that is less than a 3 hour train ride, you could just go for the day, and not worry about hotels.

As for missing out on nightlife, I can assure you European clubs are alive and well 7 days a week. The only thing to worry about is whether you'll be alive and well without being able to sleep everything off until the next afternoon. (Because of my habitual early morning confusion, my European classmates thought I was the quintessential American partier...)

In any event, good luck with any shell-breaking adventures. Let me know if you have any questions about European trains or Italy, because I know a fair amount about both.

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