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Perhaps it’s a luxurious item that Eastern Europeans simply do not need.
Perhaps such items exist in Eastern Europe, but I didn’t go to the right stores. The bottom line is that I couldn’t find something in a large Eastern European city that’s readily available in most mid-size department stores all over New York.
But if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then shouldn’t be a duck?
Using that argument, Eastern Europe can easily be considered as undeveloped as any third world country.
Here in Vilnius, the old town is nothing short of magical. What they don’t tell you, however, is that these old towns are tiny; they can be easily covered in an hour or two by foot, and then you’re suddenly located in another world, a world of crumbling Communist era “building parks,” a world of rusting trolleybuses that look like they’re about to break down any minute, a world of broken street pavement, a world devoid of street lights, forcing you to reach for your flashlight as you walk home in the night—a completely different world that unsurprisingly doesn’t make it to the laminated travel brochures.
While I liked Bulgaria as a whole, I was so disenchanted with its capital, Sofia, that I decided to award it the prize of “one of Europe’s most ugliest cities.” Sofia is grey, ugly, the street pavement is broken, giving the whole city a kind of permanent “unfinished and abandoned” feel.
Travel bloggers love to sell you Eastern Europe by showing pristine pictures of picturesque old towns with their beautiful architecture and narrow cobblestone streets.
“The third world” is typically associated with underdeveloped countries of Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia.
This isn’t limited to specialized gadgets like digital travel scales; it affects all kinds of non-essential goods that you take for granted in the West.
Whereas in America, you can walk into a large supermarket like Walmart and buy everything you need, or you can hop onto and order cheap gadgets, you simply can’t do that easily in Eastern Europe.
They don’t act warmly to people they don’t know and sometimes even people they know. Nevertheless, the problem of being surrounded by unfriendly people is further compounded by not being able to communicate with them (see below).
The majority of Eastern Europeans (except perhaps the young people from the Baltic countries) simply do not speak English at a very high level. I’m not saying that young people do not speak English—they do.
But as someone who was born in a major city there, I can assure you that Black Sea beaches truly suck and come nowhere close to the pristine Mediterranean beaches. Temperatures start to drop fairly rapidly around late September or early October.