Dear Europe: are you sure you’re real?

I am having trouble getting my head around the fact that, well, Europe exists. And it has primary sources just lying about in the guise of civic monuments.

Also, a nice librarian sent me a nice email which, unless I’ve got something terribly wrong in the translation, say “sure, come in on a Tuesday and we’ll show you a manuscript!”

*frowns* I strongly suspect this is all a hoax. Real people don’t get up and go to church in 13th century cathedrals, surely? I can’t just walk in to a library on a Tuesday and have a manuscript handed over to me?

Don’t get me started on the existence of Oxford and Cambridge. *Clearly* those are literary devices. Mind you, I remember a time when I was reasonably certain USyd was a movie set, so.

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5 Responses to “Dear Europe: are you sure you’re real?”

  1. Annelise Says:

    My dad grew up in the Netherlands. I visited there and Germany with him a couple of years ago amidst Carnival season, snow, incredible medieval towns, old canals, castles (many now being local museums full of amazing artifacts and manuscripts), Roman ruins, *gapeworthy* cathedrals plenty, extended family and unfamiliar stars. I’d love to go again… I think I spent most of that month amusing my Dutch family with all astonishment that we’d somehow made our way into the myth-come-true that is Europe.

    If I go again I think I’ll spend less time chasing down historical places all over the countryside. Those are mystifying if you’ve grown up in a country with so short a documented history, yet a childhood defined by foreign literature. I’d stay in less places for longer times, getting to know their people, landscapes and random experiences better for what they are altogether- not just as an extension of literature.

    Still, the imaginative approach has its credit, and some consolation. When it’s time to come home, there’s no choice but a legendary journey to the absurd impossibility that is the Antipodes.

    • highlyeccentric Says:

      I hope to come back with a renewed consciousness of the fact that we walk upside-down here!

      • Annelise Says:

        It’s a beautiful sort of word… It reminds me a bit of Kepler’s early modern Somnium, where imagining the Earth from a magical position on the Moon he saw a completely different system of astronomy in the movements and sizes of planets and such. Similar high awareness of perspective on the one hand, and of strangeness on the other.

        Anyway, I hope you enjoy it well! Oh, and if you hear or read any languages close to Dutch as you make your way through, look out for the similarities with Old English that exist in those but not in English. I found a lot of words fascinating in that way- especially their use of ‘ge-‘ for verbs’ past participles, etc.

  2. [c] Says:

    Wow, I’d heard of the Bielefeld Conspiracy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bielefeld_Conspiracy – but you’re really taking this to another level!

    I have to say, though, that from where I am Europe feels pretty real, and where I am is actually Austria in the very heart of Europe. But maybe Austria is the exception to the rule and we only exist because we get confused with Australia so often 😉


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