I don't want to tour Europe.


I want to see Europe again the way you can only see it by going in through the back door, by staying in a rundown part of town, by losing a night's sleep because there's a wedding going on downstairs and the band is playing Mariah Carey songs at 4 AM and then realizing that the couple getting married was the same couple you saw when you wandered into the Catholic cathedral that afternoon looking for a priest to talk Latin with.

I want to see the places in Europe that are truly historical, not in the sense that you buy a ticket, wander through, and then go to the gift shop for a keychain, but the places where the barbed wire is still strung along the walls, the places that are gray and empty and silent, the places like Jawor, the town still so ravaged by the Nazis that when we sang hymns in the square half of the group wound up in tears, and I am again just remembering.

I want to get up early in the morning and see the city when no one is awake, when the mist is still melting off of the river, when the stores are closed and the streets are quiet and the birds are out in the thousands.


  1. Claire, I so much like this... And want to even morely go to Europe than I did before. To see it for real, of course.

  2. Europe.........ahhhh.

    I am guessing from your blog title that you are Canadian?

  3. So, that's how I remember England. We should go together sometime. :)