Monday, July 4, 2011

Waiting for Africa's Fifth Estate

Civil War.
Rigged Elections.

Sounds like the Africa of old, right? The Africa that you grew up learning about in elementary school history classes. The Africa that you were inspired to change as a teenager in a classroom where there were more students than desks/chairs for them. The Africa that as a young adult, you experienced in your daily struggle…pardon me, hustle…to make it.

Summary of my Europe Trip

High-speed train and plane trips in Europe have nothing on touring the region by road. By the numbers, 8 countries in 6 days and over 3000km traveled. It was also a major bucket list item of mine that I was able to cross off and in the process, I learned quite a bit about western Europe that even a European-born, self-confessed Europhile like myself didn't already know. From crawling at snail's pace through the streets of Luxembourg City's old town to hitting speeds of up to 160km/h on the A6 leading to Paris (the speed limit, i.e. slowest speed - insert smirk - was 130 km/h, so don't judge, s'il vous plait), traversing the glorious 30-plus kilometers on the Grand St.Bernard overpass/"open" tunnel that links Italy and Switzerland through a stunning tour of the Alps, driving through the Italian and French rivieras, it was a trip that promised much and delivered on its pleasures.

Euro Road Trip Day 5 - Paris to Amsterdam

My amazing road trip was coming to an end, but there was so much more to look forward to with a weekend in one of the most exciting cities in the world - Amsterdam. Driving from Paris to Amsterdam therefore paled in comparison to the potential of the coming weekend, however it was a lot of fun - especially driving through lesser traveled towns that were, nonetheless, famous during the World Wars. An example of this was Arras, a small town just south of Lens, where 240 French Resistance members were executed by the Gestapo during World War II. Another was Antwerp, which as a major Belgian port, was a strategic control point for both Allied and Axis troops during World War II. Being in the presence of that history was amazing - sometimes better than the sanitized view one gets in museums and history books.

The Van Gogh Museum