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For experienced (older) travelers, has Europe changed?

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For experienced (older) travelers, has Europe changed?

Old Jul 19th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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And my apolgies back - I mistook your name for another name which also starts with k
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 08:32 AM
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Selfishly, I have enjoyed the relaxation of the siesta. There's nothing better than downing a biera grande for lunch after striding through the Forum in 85F weather. However, if I were an Italian, I wouldn't want to change a custom just for money or just for the benefit of the comfort of tourists.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 01:18 PM
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Nice try, nessie, but no cigar.

Many posts from Europeans on this thread bear out the validity of the question posed by the original poster. What you no doubt considered a thought- provoking bastardization of the original post is merely a transparent feeble attempt to stir up trouble.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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To come to nessundorma's defence - if you read the post above "nessie's" you will see that the post was in response to a suggestion.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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One of the changes nobody has mentioned is how it used to be 20 or 30 years ago people traveled to Europe to become more educated about the real world and history. They'd go to a place like Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam with their kids. The kids would ask questions like: "Why did they have to hide here? Couldn't they stay in Germany?" and "Who were the people who put them up here and gave them food? Wasn't that against the law?" And finally: "But who turned in Anne Frank and her family? Why?"

People are shocked, shocked to find African and/or Muslim families in Europe. Why don't they go back to Africa or the Middle East? After all, it's not like there is some desperate situation in those places, right? I mean, they're spoiling our Kodak moments.


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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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Oh my. There are a couple (luckily the minority of posters) who just didn't quite get what I was after, ironic the reactionary calling another a reactionary, pot and kettle I'd say. The bulk did, and that's where my thanks are given.

"The poster said nothing about anything valuable under threat." The loss of a nation's identity is valuable in my mind. I'm sure the Africans felt the same way when Europe decided to hold the Berlin Conference in the 1880's and casually forgot to invite the only natives to Africa to the meeting. They simply divided up occupational territories and took over...it changed the fabric of African society irreparably...it is gone...no longer to be retrieved...was it not valuable? It certainly wasn't valuable to the Europeans who each wanted something from a country who they felt was inhabitated by less than human people. But, I do see value in a nation...that is my point.


I would like to comment on some of the posts that actually answered my question rather than erroneously analyzed my motivation and intentions. In regards to birth rate, there are some excellent books/articles out there that can speak much more clearly on this subject...but it's one where awareness is needed. Since the late 1800's most societies have developed through industry. You need people to effectively promote industry and thus keep all the cogs running. A fair example is the US's Social Security System (which I think was never a good idea)...it's pretty much the grandchildren and great grandchildren who will be paying for my parents and myself (if it survives)...but if we are top heavy and have 75% of our population over 50 and 25% under...SS will simply go bankrupt..with fewer births, there will be fewer marriages which will result in fewer children..the pyramid will turn upside down and crash in on itself. China is realizing this now..too many boys in a country with few baby girls being valued or kept...families are actually paying for daughters to raise as wives for their sons....there just won't be a selection. It's very interesting to read about and I think will be one of the major factors in Europe and Asia's heritage being lost...not enough folks around to care.

I posted this question as a means to help me relate to my children how even now cultures are constantly in change. We have studied history from creation to the early 20th century for 5 years and steadily have seen this change take place. But, for the past 600 years (longer for some countries)...there has been an identity associated with each...you could easily follow each country's history....The Chandragupta and Skandagupta's were clearly Indian, the Windsors were clearly English...and at the same time when Rome controlled England...I'm sure it did not look the same when they left..I can't talk to the ancient Roman citizens..or the slaves brought in from Corinth...or the "native" Dutch English who were invaded...I realize it always changes..

But, with travelers who have had the experience of seeing it first hand over the last 40-50 years...I am very thankful you shared your experience, that's all I was asking....I was surprised by my friend's take on her home country (having never traveled there) and now not so surprised that her take is not an isolated one.

I want to raise my children to be aware and accept change...and predict outcomes...it will be interesting in 40 years if this birth ratio does produce change for good/better...but I'm just a curious soul who would like to share experiences with my children for the benefit of learning and understanding..not for condemnation and tolerance.

I, in my romantic way, wonder how the world would be different if many scenarios had not played out...technology and convenience are two of the great equalizers we have....I wouldn't be able to take my kids to London without them...great things have come with change, but also some horrible events that had some folks had more insight or cared..could have been altered...genocides come to mind..we learn from history and the actions of mankind...can we not also learn in the history we're currently living in?

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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 01:39 PM
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To come to nessundorma's defence - if you read the post above "nessie's" you will see that the post was in response to a suggestion.

A suggestion should be interpreted by its motivation...
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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Let's all calm down, shall we? I think that ma23peas' friend's concerns are less about Muslim racism and more about some European countries losing a little bit of their uniqueness. Many posters on this site love to denigrate Americans for their unthinking confidence that their way the right way - but isn't it too bad that the Dutch don't feel right about celebrating "Dutch" days in school or in public arenas? The push for further European integration and Union has its positives but perhaps the poster's friend has a good point - in some small ways, aren't the European countries starting to look and act a little more alike? And can't you image that this trend (small as it is today) might produce bigger changes as the years and decades go on? I can imagine this woman sees lots of things in today's Holland that weren't there when she left 10 years ago - and many of those new things have probably made Holland just a little less distinctive versus its neighbors.

Now can't we all figure out some way to discuss this civilly without drawing comparisons to Jewish and black prejudice (thanks Geordie and nessundorma) or appeals to shut the entire thread down (thanks kswl)? I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on how Europe might be evolving. I think that we could have a very interesting conversation.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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Of course it would be adorable to travel the world and find the locals dressed like the Madame Alexander doll of that country. How fun if we went to Holland and everyone was wearing wooden shoes and cute little hats. Heck, come to Ft. Worth, Texas and see us all riding horses in our cowboy boots.

But that is longing for a past that isn't, and maybe never was. When we travel, we see what is. Having your stereotypes and expectations blown apart is one of the things that makes travel so educational.

If you want to see a bit less "change" when you travel, that's a good reason to visit some of the smaller towns. Heck, there are still plenty of high schools in Texas that have rodeo teams! But you wouldn't see that bit of "local color" if you hung around downtown Dallas.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 02:46 PM
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" the Windsors were clearly English."

The Windsors were German princes of Hanover, and adopted the name of their castle as their new, English name.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 02:46 PM
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Absolutely. Despite comment from some that europeans are inflexible most of the world - including europe is rapidly becoming homogenized.

For instance - the first time I was in Barcelona - about 30 years ago I went into a major downtown bank to change travelers checks. I was the only woman among dozens of men - not only employees - but also customers. And although I did not hear any specific comments there were a lot of stares - and I'm sure not because I was tall and blonde.

Also, the first time I was in Prague it was still distinctly "eastern" in flavor, barely recovering from the Russian influence, with limited tourist infrastructure and signs on every lamp post offering English lessons. And except for tourist areas English was not that widelt spoken. I was there again 2 years ago and in the same areas you might have been in Paris - the women so chic, the restaurants so trendy, the prices so much higher - and every clerk, waiter and cab driver happily burbling away in English.

I think the massive increase in worldwide communications, access to information - and yes, the internet - is going to eventually make it one world with only minor local differences.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 02:48 PM
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Yes, too many immigrants can ruin a place. Just ask the Native Americans.

Ok, my smart-ass comments aside, I see a lot of "culture" being lost simple because we live a modern, mass-produced age.

For example, when I visited Japan years ago, there were many artisans who still made products by hand. Not just museum-pieces, but actual everyday goods that people use in their homes (such as hand-woven tatami mats or hand-made bamboo strainers to wash rice).

But more recently, everything looked mass-produced. It's simply cheaper to buy an assembly-line item from Taiwan. And the younger generation may choose to go into computers, or banking, or medicine rather than follow in grandfather's footsteps - not that I blame them, for I believe children are not required to automatically follow the family trade.

And there are jsut soooo many people. How can they build a wooden house with sliding doors when a concrete apartment complex built on the same spot can house so many more people?

So it's not just Europe, I've seen "culture" slipping away all over the world. That's just the modern era at work.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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I agree, your argument is a very good raison d'etre for visiting small towns anywhere, Missypie. (Our 4H high school clubs still show cows.)
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Thanks for the correction...I didn't have time to run down the family line (but if you mention the name Windsor 95% of pup will associate it with England) ...if you want to get ridiculous..try and chase down those German princes...not so German.
Tara
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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What an interesting thread! I have to sound in about the globalization trend. As much as I like a Starbucks cafe once in awhile I don't want it in Europe and I do buy clothes at the Gap, but don't want to in Paris. I would say go sooner rather than later, for THAT reason. Many of the cities are losing some of distinctions. Many of the rural areas have not changed much at all in 20 years. And if you can get off the beaten path, by all means, DO IT! That is the beauty of foreign travel (in addition to soaking up the history.)
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 03:46 PM
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Thank you all!! YES!! That's been my plan..5 nights in London doing all history..and 5 nights in the Heart of England in a rural area...I guess Chipping Norton is not that rural but will atleast give us a good comparison.

Lots of moors and hidden roads to take for a neat glimpse at a not often seen side of the country. I greatly appreciate all the posts...I hope I enter England more aware and will appreciate the little nuances we find that may not be there in 20 years. And be thankful we're able to travel over there in the first place (consumerism=frequent flyer tickets)

Tara
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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Reading ma23peas is evidence that what has really changed is Berkeley. Hope somebody out there is still teaching them that immigrants pay into Social Security.

And the "Windsors were clearly ENGLISH?" They were f***ing Germans!!!!

Oh never mind. ma23peas is about 22 peas short of a pod.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 03:57 PM
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If you don't want to go to The Gap or McDonald's in Paris, you don't have to, but they will be there anyway because French people make up most of their customers. The French are glad to have them in Paris and elsewhere--just as we are glad to have greater availability of European products in North America.

I have noticed that there are fewer special items to buy in Europe that cannot be bought in the US. Every time I buy something I think is a "find", I end up seeing it--or something close to it--in some specialty shop when I return.

And look at the change in the American palate--not to mention the routine drinking of wine with meals! How many of us grew up with wine served at dinner by our parents? I sure know I didn't--and the menu was fairly limited as well. I never tasted quiche, for example, until I was an adult. For my kids, on the other hand, it was a staple on the house menu.

Globalization has a lot of pluses. It is true, however, that both the US and European countries have had to absorb what is euphemistically called "a more diverse population of immigrants". Of course, the plain non P/C way to say that would be as a description for anyone whose ancestors did not come from Western Europe. While the US has had constant adjustment of the definition of just who is an American since its inception, this is new to Europeans. Some view it as the downside of the EU. Others accept it as a fact of modern life. It does lead some Europeans to feel their culture is under seige--something a slice of Americans has always maintained no matter who were the most recent immigrants.

The Europeans will have to learn to live with their Muslim immigrants and to treat them fairly. They cannot simply ship them home. The large numbers who have come does lead to fears of terrorism. Racism aside, one cannot ignore just who is behind recent terrorist incidents. That ends up "tagging" as "terrorists" a lot of hardworking normal people unfairly--both in the US and in Europe.

Everyone needs to accept reality and get on with it. Insofar as the US is concerned, I view immigration as an enriching part of our life. One thing all Americans share (except for the small percentage of American Indians) is the fact that we are all descended from immigrants. It is the basis upon which the US is founded--and without which none of us would live here.

It is wise to remember, that there is no way to stop globalization so we had all just accept it--with the benefits and the downside.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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sansman wrote:

"Why is the decline of birth rate such a bad thing? In any given country, I guarantee there will be more people in ten years than there were in say the 1950's. Is it optimal that the population of a country or the world for that matter continually increases? I am not sure I agree with that. Just a thought."

Decline of birth rates in developed countries means a declining work force in the near future. This leads to increased demand for workers, some of which need to fill low-paying jobs. In europe's case, should the prevailing birth rates continue at current levels, it means a need to import workers from other countries. This would be one solution, althouhg it's uncertain if the benefits of maintaining a stable economy outweigh the detrimental effects of having a large alien workforce. Think about it. The aliens would probably outbreed the europeans in time, erode the political power of the native population, and threaten the continuation of Europe's cultural and intellectual values. This, in my view, would be disastrous.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 04:15 PM
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The French are glad to have MacDonalds in Paris??? Where have I been? Oh my! Where is NYCfoodsnob???
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