On arrival in my birthplace of Schiedam (near Rotterdam), I found my mother looking healthy and in good spirits.
This morning at 10;30, being Easter Sunday the center of the city is deserted.
The ancient Dutch symbol, the wooden shoe, has changed little in hundreds of years; until now. Someone has given it a facelift. Now there are niche wooden shoes for hookers, executives and even Islamic immigrant models. The level of comfort is dismal so I don’t think they are flying off the shelves but a novel idea nonetheless.
Europe is really in a state of flux. The new Greek prime minister Alexis Tspiras is playing an escalating game of brinkmanship, trying to force Europe to give ground or risk a chain-reaction that could cripple the EU. Yesterday he announced a visit to Russia on April 8, as Greece is desperately looking for money. Since the rest of the EU is understandably reluctant to throw more funds into this bottomless pit, Tsipras is throwing caution to the wind. As things stand, Greece will default on payments due to the IMF at the end of May. If Russia opens up its wallet enough, a Russian-Greek alliance could eventually open up a harbor for Putin on the Mediterranean. For Russia that would be priceless. Due to American & EU sanctions, Russia does not allow imports of flowers and olives from Greece, a financial drain that Greece can ill afford and will try to reverse on this visit. The EU is not amused and we will have to see how it all plays out.