It has been a while now since we’ve been feeling more like Europeans than Germans.
That’s convenient in many ways. We get rid of our never-ending guilt and shame for our evil ancestors, at least partially. Plus, we get to say we have the best food, the best wine, the most beautiful beaches, and incredibly good waves at home. Europe is paradise.
It feels great to be driving along a deserted but flawless new highway in the farthest northwest corner of Spain, a state called Galicia, realizing the European Union funded it and we might actually have contributed to it with taxes paid in Germany. It is a tremendously beautiful highway, and it makes us oh so proud. Then you get to a surf spot and the only two locals out are actually… nice. And the waves are kind of… pumping.
Europe means that when you cross a border there is no border. You go into a shop after you’ve already traveled through three different countries and you pay with the same currency you use at home. You make jokes about the British with anyone anywhere on the continent like about a batshit crazy but very endearing aunty.
Coming from Cantabria to Galicia you realize they are two completely different places. Even though they are part of the same country (Spain). But when you cross the border from France to Spain at Irun you are still in the same country. The Basque Country. Own language and all. Sounds like a contradiction? It’s not. It’s Europe. It’s diverse. It’s delightful.
Sitting in the water, you never know who you are going to be sharing waves with. Is it a Brit, happy about the warm water in winter sporting a 3/2 while you’re wearing a steamer, booties and a hood? Or a portuguese body boarder chick who dominates the line-up? Or a surfer from the Netherlands who keeps going over the falls but is unbeatable when it comes to stoke? Or a Spanish grom who…wait there is no missing the Spanish. They do love their beach warm-ups. Anyways, it’s a charming mix.
While traveling through Europe we never got the impression we were invading anybody’s space. On the contrary. We felt like welcome visitors. We felt a certain team spirit that makes this continent so special.
What keeps other nations together is the foolish believe to be the greatest or the memory of battles fought together against others. In Europe we used to wage wars against each other. A lot. But somehow we overcame the past and now we get to live in this kind of utopia. Some say, Europe is doomed. It does have its flaws but on the whole it is a pretty damn awesome project. Some say, Europe might break apart. Well, it won’t. The surfsmurfs won’t stop traveling through Europe keeping the spirit alive.
Germans? So not sexy. We are Europeans and Europeans we shall remain.