Whether it be Cinderella and her step-sisters, the tortoise and the hare, or David and Goliath, our culture loves a story about the little guy one-upping the big kahuna! And probably that is what made the Europe Cup so much fun to be a part of this summer. Goodness! Wales beating Belgium! Iceland whooping up on England! Who’d have thought!! And even though France was favored to win, along comes Portugal to take home the cup, in spite of the fact that their star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, was injured during the first half hour of play. These events are what movies are made of.
But even better than that is the surge in tourism experienced by these countries since the games. The world has taken a renewed interest in visiting Wales, Iceland and Portugal like never before, and I think everyone is better for it. And not just economically. To get to know our less renowned neighbors is important for it breeds mutual interest, understanding and deep care for their culture and world view, though it may be quite different from our own.
I personally cannot wait to take my first trip to Iceland. I’ve been to Portugal and Wales, but would love a second visit—no doubt. The plans are in the works. Now I merely need to convince my husband that traveling to a place with the word “ice” in it will be fun.