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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Greetings 

from Spain, and the XXXI International Conference on Military History!




(Well, I just got back, but whatever)

A beautiful country, an eccentric people, this is the archetype of old Europe. Everything carries an aura of culture and age, every street corner, monument and plaza has its tales to tell. I strolled the Plaza Mayor and the halls of the Prado, and stood in the footprints of Columbus, in the room where he was commissioned to head to the new world. The feeling was unbelievable... It almost seems strange that it would be that new world that would ride to the aide of its distant ancestors time and again, only to be forgotten by the hand that snatched it from the flames of war and terror. The amount of youths surprised me, as Spain has one of the lowest birth rates in the civilized world, but I was less than surprised by the amount of leftist sign-boarding that blanketed clothing and graffiti. The Spanish women, at least, seem to have retained much of what makes them great...

I won't waste space with academic details of the conference (unless readers are indeed interested in this sort of thing, in which case leave a comment and I will elaborate), although a paper by an American on the Dutch in Spain, circa 19th century, proved interesting. The topic of "War in the Age of Trafalgar" provided many an opportunity for the European paper-givers to recount fond memories of glories and empires past, while a postponed dinner for the funeral of 16 Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan reminded me that they had no left the fight completely. Not completely.

Truly an amazing and worthwhile trip, one which I hope will not be my last, either to Europe, or to the conference.

[UPDATE] Next year: Potsdam, Germany and the topic is "War and Nationalism." Look out Mearsheimer, as I am considering giving a paper, but more on that to come...

Comments:
Did you get a grant to provide the scratch for this trip, or was it purely a personal venture? I'm jealous, I wish I had the funding to go to Europe to study my first love history...

Glad you had fun=)
 
Oh. And Spanish women... You clearly have a karma debt to pay. Do you live on the gulf coast by any chance?
 
The trip was funded privatelly, but if I want attend next year and I try to give a paper. my attendance will be contingent on trying to squeeze some money out of U of C. And anyone who has ever seen the flight attendants on Iberia, let alone the native mujeres themselves, knows exactly what I'm talking about...
 
Yes, sadly I do know what you're talking about. Maybe I should spend a few years in Europe when I want to get married... heh=)
 
Just not when you're enaged ;-)
 
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