Santana Row proves that the US is better at copying Europe than the other way around

Should we even be surprised that the United States make Europe better than ourselves?

You know how it is when you are traveling, you need to stay somewhere. Since the aim of my visit to Silicon Valley is to experience the location as near a local perspective as possible, it’s also logical to choose an accommodation based on that premise. The whole neighborhood feels very much business so what better than to hire a professional to plan business trips to arrange accommodation?

The prestigious assignment to provide me with an accommodation that feels really much Silicon Valley falls on a super pro, Vendela Ragnarsson. She allows, via a highly professional PDF leaflet on 20 pages, that I will stay at Santana Row in San Jose.

That San Jose is considered the heart of Silicon Valley I knew already, so with that knowledge in one bowl, and a confidence in Vendela in another; Santana Row it was.

So what’s at Santana Row? According to that page on the Internet with information about most things in this world it’s an “outdoor shopping mall” located in San Jose, California. Furthermore, there are 834 homes with over 1.000 inhabitants on the street. Bars and restaurants on “The Row” closes several hours earlier than in other areas because of its proximity to the aforementioned housing.

Thanks for that, Vendela!

But Santana Row is not just some kind of outdoor mall with a lot of shopping, and a nightlife that closes early, but also “a unique, Northern Californian fusion of design, culture and availability, which recreates the atmosphere from the Champs-Élysées by a distinct, neo-Mediterranean, the Silicon Valley-architecture.” Crystal clear?

So how is Santa Row then? Imagine someone who never visited Europe, but just have watched romantic comedies wher a successful American artist takes a gap year or two in Barcelona or Paris to find himself and the love of his life, were given free reign and a giant budget to build their own small European center in one of California’s largest and richest cities, you have a pretty good idea of how it’s like. Everything is clean, beautiful and orderly, albeit in a somewhat artificial way. But the fact is that after a few hours on The Row you get into it, and suddenly, when you least expect it, the US version of Europe feels entirely reasonable. Infinitely more reasonable than when we try to emulate the United States.