Tradition-My Favorite Part of Europe

rila monastery
Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

Tradition-My Favorite Part of Europe

I have been blessed with the opportunity to live in, teach in, and travel extensively through Europe over the last twenty years. Anyone who has lived in Europe, has ever traveled its parameters, or even visited briefly has experienced the incredible variety, striking characteristics, and history-driven culture that exists on this continent.

What never fails to escape me is European tradition. Good or bad, easy or difficult, it thrives in that part of the world. Whether one attends a bullfight in Spain, visits a monastery in Bulgaria, climbs the Eiffel Tower, or simply enjoys a leisurely two-hour lunch at an outside café in a plaza, there is an overwhelming feeling of building upon a long history of a proud culture.

Dining on authentic Turkish food in London, sipping a Schwarzbier in Munich, strolling a medieval town outside Madrid, or exploring a castle in Ireland, one lives tradition. La Passeggiata in Italy is a personal favorite. Tapas before a meal on the Iberian peninsula is another. There are literally thousands.

The USA has not been around long enough to establish a real history, but what does concern me is a growing attitude that what is old is worthless (not among Native Americans, of course, though tribal leaders might disagree). On the contrary, amidst the elderly we find wisdom – and the roots of tradition. We must establish a better heritage than gobbling down fast food from Maine to California. 

I love the USA for its ideals and its freedoms. I love Europe because when I visit, I feel connected to the Earth, to the universe, and to something greater than myself.
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Comments

  1. You are right JJ, in Europe there are lots and lots of traditions and many are being rediscovered by europeans. They are our heritage and most of them are good and positive for live. However, not everything is perfect in this side of the world.
    If you want to enjoy freedom, life opportunities, tolerance, respect, scientific progress and many other issues that drive mankind forward, you can get it in some parts of Europe, but the USA is probably the place to be.

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  2. 'The USA has not been around long enough to establish a real history, but what does concern me is a growing attitude that what is old is worthless'

    I am not oriented this way. Age intrigues, grips, stirs and challenges me.

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  3. FanaticoUm: Too bad the entire world cannot experience freedom.

    emilene: Of all people, I was sure you would.

    Suze: Undoubtedly. I read what you write and I could tell immediately. I really should not generalize, but the "attitude" does appear to be "growing" in the USA.

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  4. I've never been, but I dream of going one day. I love history and all it offers us. I have actually been studying ancient south american history recently for the next book I am working on. If I could, I would travel the world. Right now, I'll settle for learning about it and admiring the pictures.

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  5. Miranda: Thank you for following. Travel is fantastic, but it took me a while before I could even consider it. I did the same thing you are doing. I studied it, wrote about it, and admired the pictures. You'll get there.

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  6. I lived in England for 15 years and love the traditions there. I haven't spent enough time in USA to comment.

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  7. KB: Lucky lady. England is wonderful. I would love to spend more time there.

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  8. I am fascinated with the old. The craftmanship was better, and I think people appreciated art great architecture more back then. Of course the dollar was worth more then too.

    Today Americans live in a throw away society, They want everything new, and they don't live by the motto "Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

    As far as travel abroad, we plan on going to England. However, I don't think I'd brave some of the other places I've heard horror stories about, especially Eygpt. It seems that it is too easy to find yourself in a bad situation considering these countries don't live under the same freedoms we do. Some have very little respect for women, and that's enough to keep me and my tourist dollars at home in the USA!

    My two cents.~Ames :)

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  9. Ames: We do seem to have a "disposable" society, where everything we make is temporary. Quality has taken a hit. As for travel, one must always be careful.

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  10. I had the same experience living overseas. I participated in an annual water ritual in Bangkok, aware that people had been standing on that river bank, particpating in this ritual for thousands of years. Like you, I started to see the history of my country in a new light, seeing the US as an adolescent on the global front.

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  11. Galen: That is exciting. I have never been to Thailand, but I want to go some day. I have done very little Asian travel. I know there are many traditions in that area of the world.

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  12. I've never been to Europe, and you sound like an expert at traveling. I'd love to see all the wonderful, amazing sites, but I should have done it in my younger, braver days! Yep, thousands of years of history there. My kids love to travel and I love seeing their photos and videos of Europe, Japan and others.

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  13. LynNerd: You know what they say: "It's never too late." Actually, when one is older, he or she seems to appreciate Europe more. I hope you get there - and good for your kids!

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  14. the USA is definitely a gotta-have-it-now society. never been to Europe, but your description has me wanting to go there.

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  15. Aguilar: Thank you. It is a fascinating continent.

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  16. I see you posted a picture of the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria = this is one of my favorite places in that country. My wife and I lived in Bulgaria for two years. When were you at Rila?

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  17. Ellis: About six years ago, my wife and I were living in Vienna, where I was teaching. While we were there, we took a trip to Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. I remember how beautiful it was, and we visited several monasteries in Bulgaria alone. It is a magnificent part of the planet, and I would like to return. Thank you for stopping by my site.

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  18. Glad to have found your blog!

    I live in Europe but I've visited the US quite often and the difference strikes me every time. I feel more rooted in the land and in our culture(s) here, which is great, but it has a downside. The deeper the roots go, the harder it is to change systems and structures when the world evolves.

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  19. K.C. Woolf: I agree. I have been thinking about the same thing quite a bit lately. Thanks for stopping by!

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  20. Hi DW .. I've come over from Manzanita's blog .. re your 7 Writing Tricks for the Clueless .. which I shall look at.

    I'd have never dared say the Americans don't have history! .. but I think the thing that hasn't been done .. and perhaps by default as ours has over the last few thousand years .. each empire or civilisation led to another and the knowledge base was there .. whereas probably because America was so vast - each civilisation could keep to itself and were never integrated .. til recent European man invaded .. three was never cohesion through embracement of civilisations ...

    I wonder what the Americas and Africa would have been like if each civilisation had embraced the next and integrated as we have done in Europe.

    Thanks - Hilary

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  21. Hilary: Terrific points. I ponder these concepts frequently. I do a considerable amount of academic writing, and one of the topics that interests me is immigration. Traditionally, immigrants assimilate, amalgamate, or form totally new cultures. Today, in the USA, we seem to self-segregate. I am still researching, but I find the concept fascinating.

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