As part of the early build-up to the UK’s referendum on EU membership, I noticed a poll in an English newspaper asking readers whether they most identified with being English, British, or European. Curious about what my husband would say I put the question to him and for some reason was pleased he answered European. When I asked why, he replied that his mum is Italian, that I, his wife, am German, that his favourite language is Spanish, and that his favourite cheese is French. Whilst this wasn’t exactly the deep analytical response I expected from a man who studied International Relations, I think I understood his underlying point…Europe is a continent of great diversity and we are all the richer for it, especially when it comes to travel.

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The London Eye – Photo by Joanna D via Trover.com

Working in Africa, we are reminded how easy it is in Europe to travel from one country to the next. In Africa a one hour flight might get you to the next major city in the country where you happen to be. In Europe, a one hour flight takes you from London to Paris, and then another down to Geneva, and from there across to Venice, and perhaps over to Vienna. With each flight barely giving you time to finish a bottle of cerveza. What’s more, the cost of flights in Europe and increasingly elsewhere is so cheap that you can travel from one country to another for the cost of a night on the tiles, all without the need to bother with visas and other such bureaucracy that can really slow travel down in other parts of the world.

It’s no wonder therefore that occasionally you bump into American or Australian tourists who are ‘doing’ Europe in a few short weeks, a fortnight’s holiday which can easily include visits to five, six or even more or Europe’s fascinating capitals each with their own language, culture, history, and, lest my husband get annoyed that I’m focussing on the wrong things…cheese.

During my younger days especially I too have been lucky enough to travel across many of Europe’s beautiful cities and it’s hard to pick a favourite. I love the free spirit of Amsterdam, the romance that melts the heart in Paris, the almost incomprehensible history of Berlin which never fails to stagger the mind, the architecture in Vienna which seems the very definition of grand imperialism, and the hustle and bustle of London packed as it is with its museums, galleries and famous pubs. I have drunk red wine in Madrid, eaten Goulash in Budapest, and sipped on Prosecco in Rome. All of which reminds me that I am glad to consider myself a European, from a continent where cultures collide but no longer clash. A continent that time and time again enriches the lives of the thousands of travellers who are lucky enough to experience this collection of diverse nations for themselves.

All of which brought me in a roundabout way to asking my husband whether he will vote for the UK to stay in the EU or to leave. Do I really need to tell you his response?

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

2 Thoughts on “A small, but varied continent

  1. Interesting and thought provoking post. I am here in the US and have been to a couple of countries in Europe and have enjoyed the differences of each country. I have to say though that I fell in love with Paris the first time we visited and it is still my favorite city. Thus, we have been there more times than any other city or country in Europe. Thank you for the happy memories
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    • Tammyonthemove on February 14, 2016 at 3:22 am said:

      I love Paris too. There is just something special about this place, isn’t there? I will go again in a few weeks actually and it will be my third time. Can’t wait!

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