Do you think you’d be able to distinguish between German and Polish city? If I asked you this question 15 or 20 years ago, you wouldn’t hesitate to give me a simple answer: yes, of course. At that time, Poland looked like a very poor and communist country and things finally changed after joining the European Union in 2004.
From then on, these two countries resemble each other a bit, especially when it comes to small towns and villages. These look pretty much the same which is easy to state for example when you’re traveling by train across both Germany and Poland.
But how does it look like when the cities are so close to each other? After walking around Slubice and Frankfurt (Oder) I have to admit that Frankfurt is visibly more modern than its Polish equivalent. In Frankfurt you can find one big shopping mall divided into two buildings (der Oderturm and Lenné Passagen) where there is a variety of shops both German (ALDI, DM, Teddy, Woolworth, …) and well-known worldwide (Tchibo, Orsay, H&M, Subway, …). Apart from that there are big supermarkets, railway station, small cafes and of course beautiful Old Town.*
If you told me now to describe Slubice as short as possible, I’d call it “one-street-city”. In this town there is no Old Town or anything that could be described as one, the whole city life comes down to Wojska Polskiego Street and its neighbourhood, including one square which is the place for the annual Christmas tree and people’s gatherings. What’s very interesting for such a small city, there is almost every kind of supermarkets (Piotr i Pawel, Lidl, Netto, Biedronka, …) and petrol stations (Orlen, Shell, BP, LOTOS, Aral, …) popular in Poland, as well as hundreds of bureaux de change and tobacco shops. Trust me, it can happen that you’ll see five bureaux de change next to each other. It’s really weird, I think, but somehow they still work and earn money.
Each city offers a cinema but, being honest, none of them is perfect. The one in Frankfurt is quite expensive and you can watch there usually German movies or English ones with German dubbing (the original version is very rare and if happens, it’s only one showing). In Polish cinema there is a very big delay so you can watch some movies one or two moths after the premiere but it’s definitely more affordable. It’s also much smaller so if you want to go there you have to make a reservation earlier and it shows mostly Polish movies or a dubbing versions of the non-Polish ones (plus I’ve never heard of the original version there but I may have missed something).
As there are so many students living there, you’ll see different clubs and pubs. The most popular are Kamea Club and BASSement but there are plenty more to mention. I’ll write a special post concerning social activities and night life in Slubice/Frankfurt 🙂
You can’t say for sure that these cities are like two different worlds because the level of their cooperation on different matters is high. It’s normal to see road signs or ads in two languages (sometimes even three) and shopping in different country isn’t odd. I’d say that Slubice and Frankfurt (Oder) support each other very much and try to do everything to take advantage of their geographical situation.
*In the future I’m going to take you to the places worth visiting or sightseeing (in my opinion) in both cities. That’ll be a good restaurant or a museum, just to let you have a look at the atmosphere etc. I won’t forget about the photos so don’t worry, I’ll show you everything that Slubice and Frankfurt can be proud of. And then, maybe some trips to other Polish or German cities? Who knows what the future holds.