Well what an eventful summer it's been. I started off in Prague, which was amazing because I went in late May and managed to miss all the tourists. You have to BOOK taxis [to and from the airport etc.] or they seriously overcharge. Then I went on an Art History Abroad course to Venice, Florence and Rome [www.arthistoryabroad.com] - an unbelieveably WONDERFUL introduction to the Art world with lots of lovely people and delicious Italian food and wine. My next stop was Bologna to check out the university [oldest in Europe] which was a potential choice for my third year abroad. I got there in August, though, and that's when the Italians take their "ferie" - they leave the towns and cities and head for the coast for their summer holidays, so it was quite deserted. The same applies again with regard to the taxi situation [Taxi Cotabo, Bologna: 051372727]. What I was really looking for was a town rich in art and culture, but I was quite disappointed with the art side of things. I took a 15 hour train through Milan and down the French coast to Nice and then up to Avignon which is great in August. I just missed the annual Jazz Festival [most of July] so that's been noted for next year! I then headed off to Forcalquier in Aix-en-Provence for a bit of rural French life - petanque and all! The area is absolutely stunning, especially the Gorge du Verdon where you can hire a pedalo/canoe/kayak/electric boat, take a picnic and disappear off through the gorge with stops for swimming and cliff-jumping. My last stop was Competa in Andalucia, Southern Spain. It's a tiny village but a good distance from the beach [banana boating etc.], the airport, the water park and some excellent and really cheap retail outlets. It was an absolutely amazing holiday and now here I am, back in freezing Scotland, longing for next summer!