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The American Dream from Europe, part 3






Courtesy of Chuck Wieland

Palace in Berlin, Germany now used as city government building.

 

Europe is attempting to adapt to climate change. The wine regions are experimenting with their futures. Rising Atlantic water levels continue to challenge the Netherlands. Warming temperatures melted Alpine snow that flooded into the Rhine River, preventing our continued cruise into Basel, Switzerland. We rode a bus from Germany through France into Switzerland in an hour the last day of our incredibly satisfying journey. 


Most of the governments in countries that we visited are democracies with people-oriented socialist programs. Public education through universities or vocational schools is free. School kids are required to learn one, if not two, foreign languages. English is a preferred language, except for one taxi driver who tried taking us to the Schindler Factory instead of the Stained-Glass Museum. Unemployment is minimal. Homes in the major cities can be as expensive as in America. Workers tend to commute to work from their homes in villages outside of the big city.


Comprehensive health care is free. Everyone pays taxes. Public transportation is extensive, timely, and relatively easy to figure out and use. And it’s affordable. Homelessness was barely visible. The streets were clean. Bicycles are favored over cars. People were friendly wherever we went, except when they were on their bikes, especially in Amsterdam. But they seem to be physically fit.

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