(james benedict brown) on the road

Supported by the European Union

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 9 December, 2006


Heaven knows I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the financial support of others. I very rarely borrow money, but when I do it is from blood relatives or faceless corporations. Anyone in between is not likely to be a suitable or sympathetic lender.

Now, however, I have the weight of the world (or at least a small continent) on my shoulders as my Erasmus exchange is confirmed. I have the paperwork that tells me I’m heading to France in February to spend a semester at the école d’architecture de Strasbourg. My stint will last four to five months, and thanks to the Erasmus programme it’s a simple as buying a ticket and showing up in Strasbourg. I continue to pay fees at Sheffield and I will continue to accrue marks for my final degree from Sheffield, I just have to do the studying and project work in Strasbourg according to that course.

Students who commit to a whole year in Europe get an even better deal, since as an incentive the Erasmus programme will waive all your tuition fees for the whole year (students facing top-up fees take note). As I’m not brave enough to commit to a whole year of studying in another country and another language, I don’t benefit from this deal, but I will be looking forward to a monthly allowance of €270 to support me. And for that, I have the generous and hard working tax payers of the citizens of the European Union member states to thank.

Thank you!

This generosity has encouraged me to spend my coppers wisely. I’ve now made my travel arrangements for the relocation to Strasbourg. Ryanair used to fly to Strasbourg Airport, but they were thrown out when Air France complained that the deal the Irish airline had negotiated with the airport was unfair and uncompetitive (apparently Air France wasn’t happy that they were paying Strasbourg Airport to land there, whereas Ryanair was quite happily negotiating contracts with airports that saw them getting paid in subsidies to bring passengers in to certain regions). So although there’s no cheapo flight to Strasbourg, Ryanair went off in a huff set up services to Karlsruhe-Baden Airport, just across the border from Strasbourg in Germany.

But even though a return flight from London Stansted to Karlsruhe-Baden Airport would cost £9.81 including all taxes and charges, Michael O’Leary won’t be getting a penny from me. A few years ago, I might have been tempted. But since the people of Europe are entrusting me with their money, it’s only fair I re-invest it in something much more positive and much less polluting. Mr. O’Leary might not understand why (he thinks not in exeperiences but in numbers) but I’ve spent £70 more than his airline’s best price to make the journey by train.


2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Elynne said, on 15 December, 2006 at 19:17

    hey James,
    read some of yr posts :) initially, i plan to travel by rail too, but bcos of the peak seson its just too difficult to reserve a seat. i’ll b on a long trip soon.
    i’ve visited some of the places u’ve been. love Montreal. will b going to some places u’ve been this time.
    What do u think of the hospitality club?
    if u have time, drop me an email.bye
    ps. sorry i know this comment is not related to his post.

  2. Take that, Ryanair « …ontheroad said, on 11 February, 2007 at 13:40

    […] As I’ve already explained I could have chosen to fly from London Stansted to Karlsrühe, and possibly done the trip for much less money and possibly in slightly less time. But I don’t live in Stansted, and Karlsühe is still an hour away from Strasbourg. If I’m going to have to take a train to catch a plane, I may as well cut out all that farting around in airports, queing, paying for luggage to go in the hold and being ordered to take my shoes off at security. Buying well in advance and taking advantage of my youthful looks and prime age, I was able to buy a round-trip ticket from London to Strasbourg on the Eurostar and SNCF for £79. One way fares on Eurostar are more expensive than returns, but since I purchased a round-trip, today’s from London to Strasbourg today effectively cost me £39.50. Add less than £20 to that to get to London, althoug that was paid for me by someone much wiser and much more generous than me. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: