The football statues.
The most remarkable thing about these statues is not that one of them has no buttocks, nor that they are about 10 meters tall. Most interesting is the fact that it was actually claimed by the two rent-a-cops (pictured in this panorama) that photography of these statues was illegal....because the images of these statues belong to Adidas and no one else (never mind the dozens of mobile phone cameras snapping away, to our left and right.) Oh dear... Well, after a short scuffle with these two security guards, some real police came, who obviously knew better than to restrict a harmless activity in a public place. Thank you, Swiss police, for protecting me from these bone-headed 'security guards'.
Interior of the main hall at the main tration station in Zurich, Switzerland.
There were many people at the Christmas market in the main station. I had to make a lot of photos to ...
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.