A Travellerspoint blog

#4: Europe

Past and present...

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Eu•rope [yoor-uhp]
Noun: a continent in the W part of the landmass lying between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, separated from Asia by the Ural Mountains on the E and the Caucasus Mountains and the Black and Caspian seas on the SE. In British usage, Europe sometimes contrasts with England. 702,300,000 including the Russian Federation; about 4,017,000 sq. mi. (10,404,000 sq. km).

During a visit to a Swiss castle, I peered out of the ancient, centuries-old castle to see a glimpse of a modern, high-tech bridge swerving around the base of a mountain. It seemed so ironic. I was standing in this old, stone castle, while right outside was this much newer, carefully engineered bridge carrying automobiles to and fro.

Europe is a mix of the old and the new. While it is an innovative continent, moving forward, it retains its ties to the past. The number of monuments, museums, and castles I visited in two weeks was astounding. Museé d’Orsey, the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Arc de Triumph, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame – these were just a few! Yes, the history rich.

Yet Europe does not dwell in its history. It remembers it, but it moves forwards. It builds bridges, not just for transport, but for people. It has established the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights in order to prevent future world wars and to ensure that there are open lines of communication between countries. They feature exhibits about their mistakes, allowing guests to visit concentration camps, exhibits about European imperialism, and museums about their mistreatment of cultures once deemed inferior. Their close proximity to each other as European countries, as well as their immediacy to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, requires them to right their wrongs.

Europe certainly is not perfect, and there are certainly still things they wrestle with. History does repeat itself, and Europeans must now grapple with the immigration of Muslims to their continent. However, as long as communication is maintained and people seek to reach out to the other, embracing instead of excluding, I believe that Europe can continue to work through new issues with their synergetic force.

Posted by klewis91 05:12

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