These made me laugh in a melancholy way, all told to me first hand this week:
"It is hard for us Germans, always in every Country in Europe there is the History channel or equivalent showing Second World War documentaries or celebrating VE Day or some such, reminding everyone how horrid we are. To counter this we have to do many mad things, like putting up with wind and solar and now hosting endless refugees; all to prove we are not our grandparents. I understand why Merkel does it even though it has bad side effects for us." Postcard from Berlin.
"The first week was OK, there were lots of destitute people who had clearly walked across Europe. Hungary was putting them on trains anyway, when we turned the trains back nobody would get off at the other end anyway. A huge effort was made to welcome them. The second week after Merkel's announcement things have gotten worse. Thousands of people are getting off trains and buses everyday. Most have suitcases and Beats headphones plugged into their iphones. The first thing they do is take a selfie at the station and then go to a restaurant for a nice Italian meal; these are not desperate refugees, they just want somewhere nice and safe to live. Few are Syrian either, although their passports say differently, they are Pakistani, Afghani and Yemeni - but who knows, all their documentation is bought en route from the smugglers anyway. So now we have closed the border again whilst we tried to sift out the actual genuine ones. Even those who have children we are discovering they are often not their own children so this is hard work."
Postcard from Munich