Tradition–My Favorite Part of Europe


tradition
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 that 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 through a medieval town outside Madrid, or exploring a castle in Ireland, one gets to live tradition. La Passeggiata in Italy is a personal favorite. Enjoying 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.
 

Comments

  1. I've lived in several foreign countries, including England. You're right that Americans are a disposable society and we don't preserve our history as well.

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    1. Alex: I sure hope that changes as time marches on.

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  2. Nice text JJ. You are right when you mention that in Europe there is an effort to preserve tradition.
    But tradition is not all we need. A fair society with tolerance and respect for all, with good opportunities for a decent live for those who want to work honestly, and with decent living perspectives for our sons and daughters is a crucial aspect that, in some European countries full of tradition, like mine, are vanishing from the horizon, which is a nightmare.

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    1. Fanatico Um: It is a shame. I feel terrible if that is happening in your country with its long wonderful history.

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  3. Well said Fanatico_Um! As an American I can only hope that we still have the imagination and initiative to find the balance that we desperately need. We just need the heart to find a way. I love tradition and ingenuity equally and I believe in American ideals so I know it can be done.
    Thanks for sharing your lovely impressions of Europe. You have been fortunate in your life and travels indeed! I honestly don't know if I'll ever feel the need to go there. I often like the stories I hear, but I honestly don't understand the direction they are going.

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  4. I love your assessment of these two very different places. When I was in Europe I felt very connected to a place much older than I. The whole world felt ANCIENT. In fact time felt endless. Everything felt connected. Every place I walked I knew that history had been made *here* and there was still evidence in place of what life had been like. It was absolutely fascinating. I loved being somewhere that people cherished their history. I also liked the fact that they didn't just keep the "pretty" parts and discard the rest. I spent nearly two days walking The Berlin Wall where it is now inset into the road with paving stones. The temptation must have been to knock it down and make it be "out of sight, out of mind" but someone had the presence of mind to say, "No." Instead they marked it's path forever into the road so that people Would Never Forget. We must never forget our history lest we be doomed to repeat it.

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  5. Your right, we do live in a throw away culture but that culture, unfortunately, is alive and well in Europe just as it is in the US. We do still appreciate heritage though and do try and preserve our history which is something I do absolutely love about Europe...it's only by looking at the past can we hope to learn not to make the same mistakes in the future!

    C x

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  6. I'd love to take a tour to visit the history of Europe. One day I'll get there.

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    1. Miranda: You are a writer. You have no choice!

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  7. You are a blessed in so many ways, and I'm so thankful our paths crossed, because you are a man who has it right with the world, (at least my vision here of it) and it's always a joy to stop by!

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    1. Gosh Karen. You flatter me. I just love life, and I love to learn about different cultures. Europe has such a great history, and every time I visit, I feel like the people who live there understand they are continuing that history. Thanks so much!

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