gubster's Diaryland Diary

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expanding Europe

The borders of Europe have changed. We are expanding. The names of eastern European towns are becoming more familiar to me through the people I meet in the streets of Utrecht, Birmingham or Limerick, but I am shocked to realize that I know more about the history, culture and politics of Australia and America than I do of my own continents turbulent past. With this in mind and armed with a free Eurail pass (thanks Eurail.com) I packed my bags and headed off east to learn more about these places. Why does my brain consider these countries to be distant lands, when in reality the borders of Europe lie so close to where I stand today? Why have I never paid Europe much attention, or thought about our violent history? Why does it seem so remote to me? On this journey of discovery. I set out to understand more about this small continent.

The route Spain-Italy-Crotia-Serbia-F.Y.R.O.M-Greeece-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria-Germany-The Netherlands.

I did the usual things that a tourist does I enjoyed the good life and stuffed myself with tapas in sunny Spain. I became a photographer in Venice. I watched the skiing championships in Croatia. I played in the snow in Wien. I nearly died of cold in Serbia. I enjoyed the Bulgarian countryside. I drank beer in Germany. Caught a freaky show and found myself in amazing cathedrals in Prague and rambled around Romania’s huge country.

A day or two in each country is obviously not enough to learn or understand much about a whole country, but its sufficient to absorb some impressions of what each country has been through. What better way to discover new countries than to ramble through them meeting people and reading bits here and there about its history and its stories. What a great life I have!

I want to live in Spain forever and live the good happy sunny life, I want to be amazed every day by works of Gaudi in Barcelona. I want the street that I live on to have a patisserie like the ones in Venice. How exciting it must be to be a young Croatian in a young new country, how strange it must be to live in Serbia where the effects of the recent bombings still scar the country. I never want to experience the extreme poverty like what I saw in Bulgaria and Romania. I have never seen such a dramatic poverty gap as I did in Belgrade. How strange it is to have seen communism come and go. Its dark past still can be felt in many places I visited. To try and describe all I saw would be futile as my brain is still pondering on most of it. It was an intense trip.

With 27 countries and counting, if Europe continues to expand where does it stop? Where is the end of Europe and the beginning or Asia? Will this continue to be a peaceful expansion? Who knows but one thing is sure there is a lot to discover out there…………


2:29 p.m. - 2009-01-29

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