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Europe Changing Tides

The Europe of today is not the same as the Europe of yesterday.

May 21, 2018

Gaudi%27s+famous+unfinished+La+Sagrada+Familia+Cathedral.
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Europe Changing Tides

Gaudi's famous unfinished La Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

Gaudi's famous unfinished La Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

Nathan Morris

Gaudi's famous unfinished La Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

Nathan Morris

Nathan Morris

Gaudi's famous unfinished La Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

Streets are paved in cobblestone, the walls and buildings stretch across a vast plain of a city, and the people show a vibrant range of their culture. This is Europe, moreover, Europe I remember visiting a few years ago. In my most recent visit, what I saw was trash, the homeless, the poor, and places that the government themselves cannot control.

The Europe I remember has long disappeared, a testament to the past. This is the true reality of Europe, this is Europe changing tides.

Traveling to Europe has become a staple within my family. Our trips have become annual, with my usual travel partner being my grandmother. My travels to Europe started recently, compared to veterans like my grandmother who has been traveling the world for the last thirty years.

My first trip to Europe was back in 2015, three years ago. The plane ride seemed long and bothersome but I paid no attention to it; the end goal was well worth the wait. After landing and gathering our bags, I noticed a keen difference in architecture and overall building styles. The airport itself appeared to have a sleek undertone, and as we exited, we were greeted by streets of stone that went on for miles. I was excited, as any twelve year old would be – and I promptly took in all the sites available to me. This was Europe that I had dreamed of but something was off.

Penelope Ritz, a frequent traveler to Europe, stated “I do know that when I went to Europe, I’m talking when I went on my honeymoon and we’re talking 16 years ago, the economy was cheaper and they just starting to develop, nowadays, you know, they still have a lot of the old flavor, but things aren’t the same anymore.”

After staying in Europe for over a week and preparing to go to the next nation on our list, I felt like there was something I noted while staying in there. It was a small detail that I had not noticed until late, and it was an important one nonetheless. The streets and the roads were littered in trash, but it was not anything drastic, rather, it was just there. Once the two-week mark came around, my tour group returned back to the states and prepared for our next adventure to the old world, back to Europe.

Ritz recollects on her latest travel to Europe, “You would have to of seen it, in my eyes, I have seen decades pass by for these nations. Even then, this is a change for Europe.”

Our tour group planned the next trip to Europe to take place early in the year of 2018. The time between our trips seemed to come and pass by fast, as our next trip approached fast. As March approached, we prepared for our next travel into Europe. The tour group we usually travel with was ready to go, and all the tickets and expenses had been paid.

While I stayed primarily in Eastern European nations such as Hungary and Austria, I did get to see parts of Western Europe, especially Germany. Germany has had its fair bit of history, and so have the people. On the flight to Europe, I had looked into many of the core locations in Germany and did research into the past and history behind these places. However, when our plane landed in Brandenburg, Germany, I was not blown away by the German architecture, nor the sights I beheld. Our tour group was rushed to the nearest hotel, and through the streets, we passed by heaps of trash. Homeless were on the streets, and warnings by our guide that we should not go anywhere without checking in with her. I later found out that this is due to Germany’s many designated crime areas.

Ritz concluded her last point on her most recent travel.

“Although a lot has changed, it might be for the better. It’s not my country and I am not her people. All I can do is look from the outside and take notice of what I can.”

At my age, seeing Europe was a life-changing experience. All I have ever known was the United States, which by itself is a really new nation. The United States does have its history, but the culture that flourishes in Europe is on a completely different level. For all that history and culture to be destroyed and forgotten, however, is something humans should not stand by. Europe is changing, for better or for worse, and something needs to be done before it is too late to act.

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