For sure Lesbos, one could think… after all this island became one of the alleged symbols for a possible failure or for a successful cooperation and solidarity in Europe, at least in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The last of the three countries of my upcoming journey will be Greece. For sure Greece, one could say. Wherever else should one go in the search for the European identity than to Greece? It’s one of the cradles of European civilization and Europa, the Phoenician princess and consort of Zeus in the Greek mythology, gave the continent its name. It’s the country of philosophers like Plato or Aristotle. It’s the place where the idea of democracy supposedly was thought for the first time – an outstanding achievement that for sure changed the world. These all… are definitely not the reasons why I want to visit Greece for my project.
A couple of days ago my girlfriend and I passed the border between France and Spain near the French village of Cerbère. How did we know that? And which ‘border’ if any? Instantly I was thrown back to my childhood in a metaphorical sense. There was nothing else to see than the word ‘STOP’ painted in large white letters on the road as well as a few almost ruinous buildings covered with graffiti. Nothing more. But it was enough for my déjà vu and my memories of a time in Europe with passport controls and traffic jams at real borders while travelling from one European country to another. Not to mention the incessantly changing of money into other currencies. That was the Europe of my childhood.
In 2010 German chancellor Merkel named the Euro as without any alternative. ‘If the Euro falls, Europe falls’ she pointed out in addition. Is that right? I don’t know and apart from this I’m not really interested in that question here. Since I have started reflecting the world and have become interested in politics and social issues, I have been enthusiastic about the idea of the European integration. I don’t feel particularly and primarily as a German and never did. OK, leave soccer aside 🙂 . I was born in Poland and grew up in Germany. I feel as a European – and maybe for many years now as a Rhinelander, too. I call Europe my homeland and I am highly interested in all the different facets of this continent – from the geographical, social and cultural point of view.