Sunday, June 8, 2008

Europa est Perdita

I desperately love Europe. It's where I came from, well, not really. I was born in Israel and both my parents were too, but our background is European and there's something in us that will always long there. We get out of a Metro station in Paris, look up at the Housmanian rooftops, breath in mist and big city smog and feel completely, passionately, disturbingly at home.

There's too much irony in this love-love relationship. As an outcome of WWII, Europe succesfully rid itself of Jews. Many of us came to live here, just one unbreachable step away from its outskirts, in a ghetto divised by our own dumb minds. We saw Germany and Austria, homes of Nazism, grow to become prosperous beyond belief, calm and relatively happy, while we're here suffering strife and inflicting it on others.

Our hunger for European aesthetics is unquenchable. Yesterday a bunch of friends and I all headed north for the day. We visited Nazareth, with its chapels of 19th century Catholic fluff,

and the remains of the old German templer coomunity at Alonei Aba, looking more like a quaint village in Dorset.

All the cirtue of such delights vanished as we entered the austere, grey boxy urbanscape around Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv, we love our city, granted, but it does not delight the eye in the way, say, Amsterdam does.

This week, however, there will be a lot of Europe on our table thanks to the Euro 2008 tournement. Unlike DL, who's a very serious fan, I know nearly nothing about football and tend to support teams based on countries I like. (Last night's Czech Republic's victory was a delight, but I wept for Turkey).

In the case of a Euro, I like almost every country and the championship turns into a chain of reminices. My beloved Sweden may be far from me, but all of its Euro 2008 history is still ahead of it. I'll cheer for you, Sweden, and dream of your deep forests and pretty towns and Pippi longstocking, and look for a bottle of Pripps Blå to drink with your goals, and complain about not being Swedish, and drink more Pripps Blå, and more, and not even care who wins in the end.


Rahul said...

Damn you Yuv for being in Europe. (Nice pictures though.) I think you're the only other person I know who listens to Jordi Savall.

Ariela said...

Hey Yuval, im heading over to amsterdam and eindhoven in a few weeks as well as a few other places in western europe. got any tips for a fellow adventure traveler to visit? not too much planning going on, but id love to know what recommendations you have of places i should definitely not miss out on? i hope this summer in israel holds a medley of surprises for you!
shavua tov

sarah said...

I was born in Paris...and I will always feel at home here too. C'est étrange, jamais je ne me lasse de la beauté de cette ville. Bises

L8 said...

Great Yuval! I know you were a person to count on! Sweden needs all the supporters we can get.

//The Åland Island-woman from Hebron… how actually is Swedish ;)

L8 said...

And do I need to tell you I miss Israel/Palestine? While you miss Sweden, I can only watch pictures of you having a nice stop at one of my favourite restaurant T'mol Shilshom (?)...

Yuval said...

Hey L8! Now I support Sweden even more. Seeing that Finland didn't make it in, (and nor did Denmark of Norway) Sweden is a clear fave for all who love the north. DL joins in support, she's a massive Larsson fan.

and a-propos all this, Ariela, you should really have been in Eindhoven tonight. I'm sure the streets are wild there after the 3-0 win against the world champs. Your going to love the Netherlands on calm days too. I have two tips, the first - go to Brussels, its so near to Amsterdam and yet so different, it's really worth the trip. The second: take a bike ride in rural Holland. You can rent a city bike in Amsterdam, take it on a train to the town of Woerden near Utrecht, or even to Utrecht itself, and from there ride it to somewhere charming like Oudewater, a cute village surrounded by a tapestry of canals, grazing pastures, old farms and windmills.

Yes, I know windmills are cheesy but they're there. so shoot me.