Posted By Carlo on May 7, 2010
I’m staying in the Dolce Sitges north of Barcelona and Barcelona just outscored Milan, Italy in soccer. I’m in a bar in a beautiful hotel in a sunny suburb of a gorgeous city that nevertheless just lost its grip on a contest that rivets this continent like football does in the United States. Good to be here even though I’m in a country with 20 percent unemployment that today, April 27, saw its credit rating reduced to junk.
I’m with friends on a hotel trip that’s deeply wearing but stimulating, on a continent that seems to be imploding but is still vital, authoritative and elegant. Here, trains are high-speed, cars are efficient, you can walk the cities, health care isn’t a fight. Shows you the U.S. has a long way to go.
A week later, however, Europe’s troubles are dragging down the world, stymieing what looks like an embryonic U.S. recovery. I don’t understand how a continent so apparently progressive can be in imminent danger of collapse. Too much community, it seems. It’s great to be all for one and one for all when the economy is on the way up, but one drags down all when it’s tanking.
But I ramble. The trip went from April 22 to May 1. We visited Belgium (Brussels was much more attractive than I expected), France (a day in Paris was expectedly delightful and Provence was ravishing), Spain, and Munich, Germany. I spent less than two hours at Dachau Concentration Camp, just long enough to chill at the recognition that it’s not just the evil the Nazis did, it’s how systematic and efficient that was.
I hope I go back. Each major city I visited—Brussels, Paris, Marseille, Barcelona and Munich—is a world of its own. I’m a Europhile.