Culture exploration. Central Europe

November 27, 2015

Although Europe is a fairly compact region, there are still quite a few countries in it that are very different from each other. In order not to spend too much time on some of them, and then find that there were others much cooler very close, I decided to first conduct a “cultural exploration”, and drive them all at a relatively fast pace, and only then have fun from months spent in a few that seemed to me the best. Let’s start with Central Europe.



There is a Market in the city center. A kind of shopping center, the official opening of which was somewhere in the XIV century. In in the best royal traditions of that time.

Here you can find a bunch of tourist products from different regions of Poland, but nothing else. It’s a shame. We pass further.

It is surprising that Krakow actually ceased to be the capital of the kingdom almost half a millennium ago, with the emergence of the Commonwealth, when Warsaw became the center, but nevertheless, it is still trying to stay in the role of a royal city. As it turned out, the fact is that the Poles interested in history do not distinguish between the past and the present.

In general, the center is pretty. The only thing that confused me was that my friends often called Krakow an extended version of Ukrainian Lvov. As for me, they are completely different cities, both in appearance, and in atmosphere, and in what is happening.

I found the Wawel Royal Castle in a depressing autumn fog.

There were almost no tourists on the territory that day, so he made an impression that something else. Walking there, I learned that several years ago, President Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash, was buried here. Cheerful place, what to say. Perhaps it would be more pleasant to look around in the sun.

My Couchsurfing host and his friend met me and we went for a walk inside these lovely buildings, in cafes and bars.

During this evening I learned that Poles drink as well as Russians, and not only by their companions. When they left, it was already dark and it was raining.

A crowd of the same drunken Poles walked along the streets. They also like to shout there at night, so they didn’t even have to get used to it.

Usually I skip all sorts of monuments by, but here I was downright stuck on them.

And while walking around the city at night, I came across such a miracle of technology as a doykomat. While my bottle was being refilled with a liter of fresh white fuel for only 1 €, I decided to refill my collection of photos of strange vending machines with it.


A quiet European town in the west of Poland, kindly squeezed from Germany at the end of World War II.

Here is a nice center with my favorite colorful houses.

And not only by them.

And in general not only houses.

We walked for half a day with a former colleague who moved here from Kiev six months ago. It was clearly evident that he was pleased with the relocation.) At least, it is beautiful, cozy and very close to Berlin. I also took advantage of the last moment.


There is no beautiful architecture here, here the streets are not licked to shine, here even prosperous districts of the city are painted with graffiti and teeming with suspicious dudes, not to mention the national ghettos scattered everywhere, where at first it is generally dumb to enter. And by the evening it all starts to creep in.

Honestly, I can’t imagine why an ordinary tourist should come here.

It is a purely modern city. There is no place for atavisms of the past, silly prejudices and confrontation of different cultures.

You can get into a cool squat here just by walking along the street. The police are very tolerant of everything that does not harm others. Any spontaneous festivals, street parties and parades – approx.

Big concerts in the middle of the night, multi-day raves in the basement of an apartment building or some abandoned industrial building – yes, please.

The city is very different.

There are find some very unusual monuments (such as 3000 large concrete blocks, covering almost 20,000 m² in the city center).

And galleries (like a long piece of the Berlin Wall, completely covered with graffiti).

This city is really alive.

Whichever part of it you go to.

To the national neighborhoods …

… or the humming center …

… covering all living beings with its waves …

… there is something cool everywhere.

In general, Berlin is a city where you want to come back again and again. It’s really cool here.


I arrive in the next city in the morning, walk along the street and understand that my route in Germany is purely a city of the former GDR, oops.

However, a scoop with a German tinge is such a pretty scoop.

And in some places it is even very good!

They are not shy about experimenting here.


Gorgeous bumpers, I think. Cheap, severe and for sure.

In general, all these Khrushchevs and gray-terrible-concrete-monumental buildings have not gone anywhere.

And people have to live in this.

But the guys are gradually fixing everything for the better.

Tellingly, not only the government is involved in the process, but also a whole bunch of volunteers and other not indifferent characters. This is what is actually lacking in the post-Soviet space.


The situation here is the same as in Leipzig: a nice center, gloomy in the outskirts. I signed in with an Indian who accepted my request for Couchsurfing 4 minutes after it was sent. And since I went on roller skates, the gloomy man had time to taste it perfectly.

The most banal – giant gray boxes. What are they doing in Germany?

Such things, which usually fit into the urban landscape of a provincial Russian town, look very ridiculous against the background of what is located several kilometers in the center.

Because literally around the bend …

… awesome center of the capital of the former Kingdom of Saxony.

In the center of the old town is the Zwinger Palace. Getting here from a residential area is like being in another dimension.

After every war, and especially after the brutal bombing of Dresden during World War II, it had to be restored.

I don’t even want to think that all this can only be an imitation of antiquity.

But many details, alas, confirm my guesses.


I do not know how it happened, but the only associations with Prague before my arrival were only Charles Bridge and beer. And also the Worm lives in this city, who caught me at the station and literally in an hour’s walk completely turned all my ideas about this place.

Center looks like someone just took it from the Middle Ages, hastily made up for modernity and put it here. In some places it is hard to believe that you are in the 21st century.

A traffic light is needed here so that road users do not collide in the middle of the street, because Vinarna Certovka is a pedestrian street 70 cm wide.

Actually, the Charles Bridge. A really beautiful place. And a dude was walking unhurriedly next to us, quietly smoking a joint. I I decided to figure it out in more detail.

Meet the Czech legalization of soft drugs. People can get arrested for distribution here, but not for use. You can sell cannabis seeds, sometimes right in the grow boxes here, but opening a coffee shop is nope. Strange, isn’t it?

Moreover, it is written in the laws: criminal prosecution only for “more than a small amount.” So, literally. Then figure it out for yourself.

In the morning I was roller-skating, looking at different parts of the city. The socialist past is detected. I decided not to spoil the impression and return to the center. Halfway tired, I dived into the subway and found some cool bumpy stations.

The old town is just gorgeous.

Even the sewer hatches are awesome here!

I decided to climb higher and see what the city looks like from the hill.

And what do you think? Looks gorgeous! 🙂

I decided to go downstairs in some other way. It turned out as always.

More, more cute Prague streets!

Swan party on the right bank of the Vltava, not far from Charles Bridge.

The next evening we walked with the Worm around the city and went into the ice bar. Cold, ultraviolet, from cocktails only a screwdriver. The place is sharpened for a drink by “glass”, take pictures and run away to bask. Which is what we did.

By the way, the worm’s name is Anya, and she is cute.

And I am nyasha. : 3

There are never too many lovely streets.

Night Staromak (central area of ​​& nbsp; the city) is changing dramatically, instead of tourists with cameras here tusyat Nigeria, some Latinos and other amigos pushing hashish and more. For some reason, there is no police at all.

Walking to the station, I raise my head and see the Powder Tower above me. Once again I am convinced that this city looks even cooler at night.


It always seemed to me that Austria is some kind of calm greatness, almost like a retired kingdom.

I was ready for the fact that I would find myself in some city-museum, frozen in time in the middle of the centuries and awakened in the era of globalization, a kind of Versailles without Paris, with coffee shops and pastry shops. My fears didn’t come true. It is a lively, modern, truly dynamic city.

Not only couchsurfers can travel and not pay for a hotel. Some just bring their home with them.

One day, a modernist artist named Hundertwasser completely annoyed the city authorities, telling what dull residential houses they are building. Patience ended and he was officially sent nafig with the wording “If you want to do better – do it yourself.”

And he did. Now this house is already 30 years old and it has become one of the city’s attractions.

Nevertheless, the real beauty of Vienna comes from the imperial times.

Giant nyasha.

Here, monuments of the past are not cut out, even if they were built by the invaders who held the country under occupation for 10 years.

Minute of mental disorders.

The palace Belvedere is simply gorgeous. Standing here, I realized that I finally fell in love with the Austrian Baroque. Paradoxically, this is a baroque, in which there is nothing superfluous. Inside the palace there is a gallery, where Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and, as usual, a little of everyone else continue to live in paintings.

“The most famous kiss in the world.”

In general, the Belvedere is a whole palace complex, with fountains, sculptures, gardens and greenhouses. It is ideal to come here in spring or summer, when everything is green, blooming and triumphant.

The Vienna Christmas market is simply magical. Without exaggeration, this is the coolest Christmas market I’ve ever seen. In addition, it is also the oldest in Europe: “The holiday comes to us” here already from 1296!

By the way, pastries on the shelves are not inferior in taste to that of good cafes and pastry shops.

So it goes.


They were advised to get off the bus early, before reaching the station. Soooo …

The old center is small here, and in general it all looks more like a provincial town.

Well, of course, what else to sell in the central square of the city during the Christmas holidays, if not pots?

Shredder, hold on, one day you will defeat these damned turtles.

In general, the city has some nice places. There are not many of them, but they are.

In order not to upset the special Slovak balance, something strange is also present here.

That’s all you need to know about the effectiveness of high parking tickets.

It must be dumb to work in such a thing.

Bratislava Technical University.

And a park for the recreation of students opposite. Guess what kind of vacation they prefer?

I decided to climb the hill to the old castle, this is the only place that looked really interesting. From here, there is an excellent view of the Danube and the bridge-captured-flying-saucer. Seriously, everyone here calls it “UFO Bridge”.

Nichosi! It didn’t look so cool from below. Looking at the city from here, you might even think that life is in full swing here.

But then you start descending …

… and the illusion begins to dissipate. There is simply nothing to do here.


How many homeless people are here! Dozens of bodies lie, sit, walk in each passage. In 10 minutes they managed to ask me for money several times, swear at me, spit at my feet, once almost steal a camera down and touch my backpack without a trace, supposedly passing by.

I could take a picture only at the exit from the next passage, when there were only a few people nearby and everyone was at a sufficient distance. Damn it, the bum apocalypse is not a joke.

The entrance to some kind of supermarket in the center. I did not dare to go inside.

I came to the hostel and started to come to my senses. So, that’s it, I no longer rummage around the outskirts.

And in the center it is very good here. It already seems to me that all this tin with homeless people in the early morning was not with me. I change my shoes into rollers, start exploring the city.

Got to the embankment. It turns out that in fact the capital of Hungary is just two cities, Buda and Pest, facing each other on opposite sides of the Danube. Unusual.

On the left is Buda, something like a cultural part of the capital, there are all the palaces-castles-museums, and on the right is Pest, more progressive and new, in fact, I have only seen it so far.

I move along the historic chain bridge to Buda. It’s funny, I expected it to be at least a pedestrian. Well, OK.

The city transforms at night.

Hungarian Parliament, the symbol of Budapest and generally the most beautiful place here. After this building, I didn’t want to take a picture anymore, as anything pales against the background of this gothic giant.

Funnily enough, the main Christmas market here is in Pest, jammed by office buildings and reflected in their glass panels. Fun fact – here clothes prevail among the goods. Well, at least not pans. 😀

Early in the morning I shod my rollers again and drove across the city to the station, taking pictures of cool things along the way.

It’s time to go home. Through the fog and piercing Transcarpathian cold, through lovely parking lots on the highway, home and home.