Thursday, February 3, 2011

Going back to Europe?

A typical street in a medieval city of Ystad in southernmost Sweden (photo by Magnus)

I think this might be the year to go back home, to Europe - for good.

To Sweden, Poland and Spain.

Why? One of the reasons would be nostalgia: I am a citizen of Sweden, I was born and raised in Poland. So if I have - again - taken a residence in the southernmost province of Sweden, Scania (Skane), I could enjoy it's picturesque charms,

its well preserved medieval towns, like Ystad or Simrishamn (photo above)
cheerfully coexisting with avant garde modern architecture, like this "Turning Torso" building in Malmo,

its quaint villages and bucolic landscapes,
its soft, sandy beaches with colorful beach huts, its proximity to "wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen"
Oresund bridge connecting Sweden with Denmark

(about one hour by car or train) , while being only 7 hours away (by ferry) from my first home country - Poland.

Old town square in my hometown of Poznan, Poland. This picture could have been taken from the windows of my old office in the research institute, Institute of Western Affairs, where I once worked.

And why Spain? Well, both Sweden and Poland are in the northern part of Europe and "suffer" long, cold winters, so in winter, i would do, what many retired Scandinavians do: move to southern Spain for a few months.

No, not to Costa del Sol, which is now overrun with - mostly - Brits, but to a more than 2000 years old pueblo blanco (white village) on the Granada's coast: Almunecar, or to neighboring Nerja or Salobrena.

A view of Almunecar

Those Spanish small towns and villages are winter havens for northern Europeans, who already constitute about 25% of their permanent population, while many more northern Europeans spend winters there renting flats or townhouses overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Another reason, this one negative, is that I have grown disenchanted with America, which - especially tea party and republican America - seems to be now going full throttle into a wrong direction: toward more inequality, more uncaring about its citizens, who are allowed to be pawns of greedy insurance companies, "big pharma" etc. etc.

Tea partiers and republicans seam so eager to dismantle even the very, very modest (in comparison to Europe) social safety networks... that it makes me want to puke - and not stay in this country any longer.

Yes, I shall miss certain comforts of America, and - most of all - I shall miss a proximity to my daughter, who lives and works here. It won't be easy for me with advancing age to board a plane to USA to visit her, and it won't be easy for her to have to board a plane to visit me, as vacations in America are also far shorter than they are in Europe, but I hope that, perhaps, we could meet during her business trips to Europe, or... she, too, shall grow disenchanted with America and decide to go home to Europe.