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The Traveling Life July 25, 2010

Posted by gtpspdirector in Travel Log.
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We were in Germany for their victory over the UK. Awesome!

Three cities, three weeks, a whole lotta traveling.

The first three weeks of my program were spent in Brussels (you can read my previous posts here and here), and the second were spent with one week in Paris, one in Berlin, and one in Krakow, Poland.  This was a great opportunity to see three totally different parts of the EU and get a feel for the different cultures.  Let’s take them one at a time by publishing some excerpts from my journal.

6/26/2010: Paris is interesting.  I really can’t describe it better than that.  I like Paris, but really only as a place to visit.  It seems so much more foreign than anywhere I’ve been so far.  Maybe it’s the language, although Brussels had about as much French.

Perhaps it’s the architecture.  More so than London, the monuments seem opulent.  London was stately and rooted in thousands of years of history. Paris seems to be trying to achieve grandeur.  It does succeed , in nearly every way, but not in a way I can fall in love with.

6/29/2010-I don’t have much to write today, except to say I like Berlin more than Paris.

There’s no one reason for this, rather it is the sum of a lot of little things and intangibles.  There is of course the matter of languages; I am much more comfortable with German than French, even though I am not fluent.  I know enough to get by and enough to make out words.  It’s not much, but enough to give me some peace of mind.

Also, Berlin seems so much friendlier.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, and much of it may be in my head, but I think Berliners are much less haughty than the Parisians.  As weird as it is, I’m more comfortable with how they look, how they dress, and the general feel of Berlin.

Krakow was a beautiful little city, and provided the perfect end to the organized portion of the trip.  It is one of the few cities that  escaped WWII and the post-war Soviet buildup in Poland, meaning that much of the original architecture was intact. I didn’t do much touristy stuff – instead I mostly walked around the city, drinking it in.

And now I sit in my apartment back in Brussels, enjoying the city for a little while longer while I work at the Bruegel think tank.  The weather’s cool and the work is interesting.  These last two weeks will be awesome.

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