вторник, 12 апреля 2011 г.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to eastern Europe




Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
The trip by train from Sofia to Pleven fascinating: this railway line, winds on the ledges of cliffs, is considered one of the most impressive in Bulgaria. 


In Eastern Europe the right to travel by train. In its hallways, worn-out and these relatives are still living that have long passed. Exacerbated by a sense of some special thin fabrics that remained common to the countries of this region for many years. Someone ironically calls the combination of these sensations "scoop." Negative if this description? In many ways, and for many - yes. And at the same time, for someone it - nostalgic.


The majority of Russian-speaking passengers, which can be found in the international train from Moscow to Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia remained strong relationships with independent countries now: someone from the Soviet era lived there for permanent residence, someone after the fall of the eastern Block abroad were relatives, friends and colleagues. Someone in the former Soviet bloc spent his carefree childhood. The train everyone - has a history. Train filters of people associated with the life of Eastern Europe from tourists and casual travel, preferring mostly airplanes. He crosses the border, shows in the windows of films about the past, changing landscapes as slides in a projector, but leaves the idea that the glass is still close to the world.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
In the train Sofia-Moscow can meet amazing characters.




From Trieste to the Baltic. From Prague to Istanbul.

Eastern Europe and undeservedly forgotten by many tourists, has a very fuzzy boundaries, and even more vague definition. Someone binds its borders to external borders of the former Soviet zone of influence, someone gives this definition the entire territory of Poland and the Czech Republic to Slovenia, from Hungary to the European part of Turkey, including the land of the former Yugoslavia, which were relatively independent.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Cornfields of Romania from the train window

One thing is for sure, the concept of "Eastern Europe" took shape long before the signing of the Warsaw Pact, and the geographical or political community over the long history of perceived Western historians and thinkers in the key of the opposition of Western Europe.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Prijepolje - a provincial town in southern Serbia - deserted at midday hours.

According to my observations, there are several conditional regions in Europe, countries within the region which left similar impressions. Scandinavia and the Baltic States, the southern countries of the Old World, Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Streets Hungarian Szekesfehervar. Eastern European province.

While traveling through Eastern Europe, the main thing - not to take it on clothes, and then under the scanty rags appearance opens a world full of warmth and openness. The beauty of this region home and comfortable. It has nothing to do with verified beauty of western European cities, the beauty that is good for magazine covers and travel on their honeymoon. So Eastern Europe creates a different feeling.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Panorama of Prague in 2003 

Did not want to belittle the importance and beauty of Paris or Brussels, Vienna or Amsterdam. But there is something genuinely real, filled with the breath of the past, the tangible and crumbling plaster grandeur of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and in desert areas of Budapest, where the evening went up the hilly streets of the Buda side, rarely meet a passerby and a blur of villages Serbia, where a misty haze look at them from the tops of the mountains. Feels like time is flowing, and what marks it imposes. All these experiences are different, as different and Eastern Europe: the Czech Republic - still almost calm and strong in Serbia and Bulgaria - an open and welcoming, and on the borders of Turkey - Immolation Asian accent, and had almost neevropa all.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Bridge across the Golden Horn in Istanbul in the morning until late at night is full of fishermen.If you go to the lower level along the restaurants and shopping arcade, it will be seenas the water now and then soar silver fish.

These different edge of Europe

I seemed to see many faces of Eastern Europe: Bulgarian and spring, when the provincial boulevards Pleven so abundantly blooming apple trees, and on the branches of variegated red and white wreath martenitsi sway in the wind, I beheld, and the Balkan summer on the shores of the emerald Adriatic Sea and on the tops Bjelasica, cool and deserted. I remember the warm and the Budapest winter without snow. Gray city center, strung on an old yellow line first on the European continent metro, orange trams on the background of dull, faded or from old age, or moisture from the winter houses with boarded-up windows facing the central ring, and the bare trees, repeating his frozen image in the pale waters of the Danube leisurely.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Budapest Tram

The gray sky and snow-free its almost tangible boundary lacked then up to the dome of the presidential palace, before the stela in the Gellert hill. Night from the hill through the haze of fine drizzle was seen shining city: flat Pest side and the red light from lamps Buda hills neighborhoods. Myriads of lights, shaking and shimmering in the waters of the Danube, disappeared somewhere far beyond the wet rainy veil. Vanish there and the Danube.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Panorama of winter in Budapest Gellert Hill.

Travelling in a provincial Hungarian Szekeshfehervar was organized spontaneously. Decrepit train was taking us towards Lake Balaton. We walked through the dreary yards, yet come across a two-storey old town, in some places sprinkled here and there in an exemplary supported. Here it is - Eastern Europe.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Danube from Pest. Budapest.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Morning in Budapest

Not a bird 

Such a cramped city in Budapest, the Danube is rapidly spreading to the mouth. In Bulgaria, a village with so called Baikal Russian River is boring and huge, wide enough to barely make out details of the Romanian coast. And not far from Rousse and Giurgiu, where there is a checkpoint between Romania and Bulgaria, the path through the border rail bridge connecting the two shores, took more than ten minutes. Bridge hangs over the arms of the Danube, over the islands and marshy shallows, on which I have repeatedly throwing a coin from the open window of the train from Moscow to Sofia. 

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
The central area of Pleven
The cozy streets of the old city of Plovdiv. It's here, "Alyosha stands upon the mountain, in Bulgaria a Russian soldier." Alyosha's fate remains in question for a long time in the country, which not so long ago entered the EU, set a course for change. But city dwellers, accustomed to every day wake up with a famous song about a Russian soldier who defended the monument. Now he, as in previous years, once again regained its status as an icon of the city. 

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
On the streets of the Old Plovdiv atmosphere of the XIX century
"Dream Was this nostalgic Plovdiv? Or Plovdiv - the name of the city in which we live only when happy? After we leave it so that others could live there "- is written in Bulgarian on the cover of the menu of one of the restaurants in town. Having been in Bulgaria for the first time with a cultural exchange, while he was still in high school, after I repeatedly returned to these places to your friends. While traveling on trains and buses on the roads of this country I have met wonderful people, who enthusiastically told me about their love for Russia and his country. Not only because of the similarity of mentalities say that the chicken - not a bird, Bulgaria - not abroad. Just people remained deep connection with each other. Many experts traveled to the Soviet period to work on an exchange, and many families have appeared abroad: Bulgaria is not rare to find children of mixed marriages.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Passengers trains Ruse-Burgas

Solar Bulgaria - a resort for lovers of sea and mountain recreation - will never reveal all their secrets for guests arriving on the coast. Her wealth where there are no airports, where in the woods Stranzhi running spring water, in the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains where the wind howled, and in the valleys of the sounds of bells ringing monasteries. To come to Bulgaria pleasant all year round, to come to Bulgaria wants the traditions. It is still not forgotten the local customs of the Slavs, in March, give martenitsi wait stork play Hyde, in the summer grow grapes and still remember the dances, which remains a popular hobby among both young and aged people. 

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Sofia from the top of Mount Vitosha 

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia. Nearby is the city airport, why airplanes fly over the center is very low. 

Non-EU

Now, after most Eastern European countries join the EU and Schengen, there was one, a totally unique region - the Western Balkans: Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
Torn by war, it remained until independence, though not for long - the new government is already preparing a plan to join the union. There, in the towns liberated Balkan brandy, time passes very differently (see story about traveling to the Balkans), but people are not spoiled by commerce. Hitchhiking, who were fortunate enough to travel there, big fun. Emotional drivers, free nights in a motor home, rustic milk away from a Serbian family in the mountain village - all this is only possible here.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Montenegro
Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
The streets of Croatia

TWO EASTERN EUROPEAN REGION

It so happened that my first nesngshnoy "Outside" was Poland and the Czech Republic. The latter represented a neat example of a developed country in central Europe. I was struck by the beauty and the degree of support for its old town, I was struck by the infrastructure and amenities of urban transport routes. There I learned what a night routes, according to which the trams and buses pass through the city especially to those who was late, managed to get home. Of course, I did not happen in western Europe, but the contrast that I felt over what he saw then we have been striking. Now the Czech Republic, while remaining one of the most advanced countries of the former "scoop", trying by hook or crook to disown her as a definition of Eastern Europe. Czech elite including the Czech Republic in central Europe, but it is a question of political image.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
The center of Prague
Then I really had no idea what it is, Eastern Europe. Now, finally, I can imagine more or less complete picture of the region. It turned out that the extreme country in which I have visited, or rather, one of its cities, is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, the capital of trade and crafts, a legendary empire of Constantinople, he - the apogee of Eastern Europe and the starting point for greater Asia. The Bosphorus Strait divides the two sides of the world, but it is clear that there is no sharp boundary: on the European side - not just Europe and the Asian - has not quite Asia.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Hagia Sophia. Istanbul, Turkey.
Here the roads converge and diverge areas west to east. The legendary station of the European part, Sirkeci, where straight from Paris once arriving cars Orient Express, now converge train from Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. Passenger who came from Europe and stepped onto the platform of Istanbul, is only 15 minutes to cross the Bosporus by ferry, and the Asian side of the station has already offered his compositions in Damascus Syrian and Iranian Tehran. Soon, by the way, will be ready to railway tunnel under the Bosporus, and then the rail networks of the two sides of the world unite together - to get to the other side will be by train.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Sirkeci - Station of the European part of Istanbul. 
On the square in front of bus station heard a continuous cacophony of voices. Barker shouting out the names of cities, where they were going their buses. Konya, Konya! Ankara, Ankara-Turkey! Scream - a separate profession in these places. Her master at an early age. One of the islands Adalars we had to watch as the last ferry leaves the European side of Istanbul. Barker-captain of the entire island screamed and shouted that he was leaving last vessel of the day, and that to get to the mainland until tomorrow if possible not to introduce myself. The kids on the bank there and then it was picked up and repeated the announcement. These are the tricks of Commerce in Turkey. Here, in place of a fantastic European-Asian fusion, where the towering minarets and cross the eastern and western ways, the ability to absorb the trade with the mother's milk.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Europe begins here. The Bosphorus, Istanbul.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Embankment of the Bosphorus to the Asian side 

Istanbul is very spacious. Unreal freedom of the space forms a fantastic panorama. Air, which is like taste, filled with fresh sea breeze with the addition of oriental spices, smell Arab dyunera and fried fish with Eminonu docks.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
The smell of fish from the Eminonu docks collects queue.

In the shadow of Istanbul's sycamores took a whole week of summer. It was nice, folding legs cross-legged, to spend time on the embankments of the quiet neighborhoods Uskyudara, ordinary residential area Asian side, near the huge suspension bridge across the Bosphorus. In the evening on the rocks near the shore of Marmara Sea was particularly pleased, drinking the local beer or a lab-strong brewed tea and watch the lights of giant ships that are emerging from a narrow strait, until then, until they turn a glowing dot on the horizon. Say, the Bosphorus - is one of the toughest places in the world for shipping. Watching the traffic here is not surprising to catch the analogy of a busy highway: water space travel through the huge ships, bulk carriers, among them scurrying swift boat, which account for a good share of intercity passenger traffic. They overtake the number of private boats and yachts.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
On the background of Europe. Bosphorus.

Integrated transport system in town, but there are countless wonderful modes of transport, virtually no suitable transplants. Traditional and light metro, ferry lines and cable cars, mountain railways and amazing metrobusy (bus, riding on a specially built for him by the way), modern trams and archaic train, - all this variety of randomly entangled around the metropolis. There are so-called nostalgic tram - car of the last century, which goes on odnokoleyke the busiest shopping street in the city. The street is pedestrian, so the tram has a hard time wading though an icebreaker through the crowds of tourists and townspeople.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
The historic tram to Taksim Square. Istanbul.

Istanbul giddy lively mix of incongruous. First, after a tiring trip transfers, anxious to get out of this seething boiler, but then the city has fascinated with its uniqueness. Here I saw people who live their own business and love it. Living in a daily swarm in their stores, and each of them had stashed a story, in which they are willing to share a smile. A city, great and sad, there is a decoration of all these stories.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Traders at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar sell anything.

Modern shopping malls side by side here with the shantytowns that line the old city grow cabbage, while the domes of Hagia Sophia sell boiled corn. The old wooden mansions of the Ottoman Empire, destroyed by time, and no one to have no case. Somewhere in the ramshackle houses still burn the same shabby life. And on a nearby street in comfortable new cottages resting Turkish nouveaux riches. So it seemed to me, Istanbul, the edge of the Old World and the apotheosis of Eastern Europe. Gather in Istanbul for the completeness of the perception recommend reading the notes about the city, written in his native of Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Or a stranger, Pierre Loti, who lived here a long time in the century before. These people are among the disparate and contradictory qualities of Istanbul is its charm.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Completely non-European Europe. 

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Sea of Marmara a few miles from Istanbul. District Adalar. 

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Professional traders popcorn 

Does not pull? 
To be happy to travel to Eastern Europe, it is enough to close their eyes. I mean, shut them down for a bit battered by her looks and signs of places that do not show pictures in guidebooks. Someone remind the outskirts of Eastern European cities is not the best examples of architecture Khrushchev the Russian hinterland, frayed imaginable and unimaginable economic shocks. Now the gray boxes the memory of the past of these countries, along with still sometimes be found on the roads East German Trabant and Dachiyami Romanian, Hungarian Ikarus buses and trolleybuses Soviet ZiU. For many, a trip to Eastern Europe so far is akin to time travel.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
 See Soviet trolleys on the streets of Pleven will soon be impossible. The decision to dismantle the trolley contact network and enter the bus routes. Residents want to defend the ecological type of transportation, and organize action teams.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Hungarian Tram

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Chess player, to play the mating game. Budapest, Hungary.
With its accession to the EU and the Schengen area, most of the Eastern bloc headed for a change. The legislation provides a common denominator with the European Union, improving economic performance. Fewer still take place in countries with less originality, color and more and more Western features. Certainly, upgrading is very important, and it is gratifying to observe the rapid reincarnation of the laggards. However, I would like to believe that with positive changes Eastern Europe will not lose its special, home charm, for which many travelers go to these parts.

Outskirts of Europe. Impressions from a trip to Eastern Europe
Ungeny, Moldova. 






Комментариев нет:

Отправить комментарий