Throwing papers away before moving, I spotted the definitive version (or at least a written version) of the famous Transcarpathian anecdote, which explains (partly) where my father came from:
A visitor, encountering one of the oldest local inhabitants, asks about his life. The reply: 'I was born in Austro-Hungary, I went to school in Czechoslovakia, I did my army service in Horthy's Hungary, followed by a spell in prison in USSR. Now I am ending my days in independent Ukraine.' The visitor expresses surprise at how much of the world the old man has seen. 'But no!,' he responds, 'I've never left this village.'
Assuming some of the story about my father's past is true, if he had stayed in the village, he would have been to Romania instead of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. If another part is true, it would have been Poland instead of Romania.
This story comes from Judy Batt's paper Transcarpathia: Peripheral Region at the 'Centre of Europe'. That the research project is called "Fuzzy Statehood' and this requires a series of FAQs which can be found here shows that it is not just the maps that have fuzzy boundaries.
However, there are those of us who know that the Centre of Europe is really in Lithuania.
Europos Parkas (Open Air Museum at the Centre of Europe) A diverse group of international artists have come to this 55ha sculpture park to express their own unique visions of the centre of Europe, which, according to the French National Geographic Institute, lays some 14km to the north of the place. Home to over 90 permanent sculptures by such global celebrities as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Dennis Oppenheim and Sol Le-Witt, everything is exhibited amidst a charming, some would say idyllic area of woodland. The year 2002 saw the park making it into the Guinness Book of Records as containing the largest sculpture in the world made from television sets (about 3,000, and including as its centrepiece a rapidly decaying concrete Lenin), the maze-like 'Info Tree' by Lithuanian visionary sculptor and founder of the park Gintaras Karosas. Here Karosas has found the perfect ‘place’ to construct his landscape artwork aptly labelled "The Place". Picture a pond, some boulders and four giant rusted steel poles in the midst of a plush green forest and you, basically, get the picture. The park also recently unveiled the playful sculpture of Mindaugas Tendziagolskis titled "Mobile Games". The construct incorporates art and ancient Lithuanian games and meant not to just be viewed, but also played.
You can find their excellent website here.