Wednesday, March 22, 2006

TWIN CITIES IN EUROPE

There are a number of twin cities in the United States. Minneapolis-St. Paul is perhaps the pairing with which we are all most familiar. However, it seems like every state has the "Twin City" region of two cities you don't know about. Whether it's Champaign-Urbana, or Scranton-Wilkes Barre, twin cities abound.

I don't remember many twin cities in Europe. There are a few that are close enough to share airports, Baltimore-Washington International style (i.e. Koln-Bonn), but twin cities seem to have consolidated in Europe.

Or so I thought. Today in the Sun-Times I came across an article about a Romanian man who has apparently been living in O'Hare. He was recently (and apparently thankfully) deported back to Romania. However, the Sun-Times reported that he had to fly to Amsterdam, because there are no direct flights from Chicago to . . . Budapest. And this is Europe's great matching set of twin cities. Budapest. The 1000 year capital of Hungary and the Hungarian people. Bucharest. The capital of Romania. Apparently they are twin cities, because this article is not the first time I have seen the mistake made.

In order to help all of the geographically challenged journalists and editors out there (I'm looking at you Monifa Thomas, transportation reporter, Chicago Sun-Times), let's use this simple rule. Bucharest, which has an "r" in it, is the home to Romanians. Budapest, which has no "r" in it, is the home of Hungarians.

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