I had the opportunity over winter break to travel to the lovely city of Toruń. It is not so far away from Lębork and I visited this lovely city for two days and one night. Travelling to Toruń was very easy and I recommend that first-time visitors to the city go from the train station to the riverfront opposite the city. Here you can see a lovely city panorama and it's wonderful architecture and old medieval fortifications. It is also not a long walk from the train station to the old town so don't worry about taking a bus, because walking across the Piłsudski bridge is another opportunity to see more of the city as you approach it.
The first thing I did in Toruń was check into my hostel, which was surprisingly right on the old town square. The price was good, so I did not expect the hostel to be so centrally located. Then I went to the leaning tower near the riverfront. I love old battlements and fortifications so I knew I had to see this old medieval guard tower. After this I caught the last show at the planetarium. Now, the area around the planetarium was quite interesting for me. All within a stone's throw of each other were these buildings: A lovely church, the planetarium, a large and important building of Toruń university, and finally a jail that looked like a grim castle. I found this last buidling a little bit surprising because it seems odd to have a jail right next to a church. In theory an escapee from the jail could attend a lecture at the university, watch a show at the planetarium, go to church and pray, and be back in his jail-cell all before the guards noticed he was not there! At least that is what my imagination thought of when I saw all of these buildings so close together.
The old town of Toruń is a UNESCO protected site and I can see why. The architecture of the town is quite impressive and as one walks around this area it is quite possible to have a sense of awe for the grandeur of the old buildings. For dinner in Toruń I tried baked pierogi, which I had not heard of before. They were bigger and thicker than standard pieorgi. They were quite tasty, but I recommend eating them with some sort of sauce, because they can be a little dry. I particularly enjoyed them becasue they reminded me of a regional food from my own region: pasties. These are essentially flaky meat pies with potatoes, onions, ground beef, and sometimes rutabaga. After dinner I walked around to see more buildings and churches, had a beer at a local brewery and pub, and went to bed. I heard that Toruń is a student city, and I could feel this atmosphere while walking around that Friday night.
My second day in Toruń started off with storing my things at the train station so I did not have to walk around all day with my backpack. The highlights of this day were the museum of Mikołaj Kopernik or Nicolaus Copernicus as the English speakers call him. This was a great museum and I learned a lot about this revolutionary scientist. I even watched a film in '4-D', which was rather interesting. After a few hours at this museum it was off to the museum of living ginger-bread. Here I learned how 'pierniczki' or ginger-bread cookies were made in Toruń through the ages. I even had the opportunity to make my own. My ginger-bread cookie was not the most impressive, but it was fun to make nonetheless. After this it was dinner at a bar mleczny and then I went to the Old Town Hall to see their collection about Toruń. I learned that a Polish King died in Toruń in the 1500's, which is something I had not known before. I then relaxed at the Vistula riverfront and took a train out of Toruń. I had some confusion in Gdynia while transferring to an SKM train there. Due to this confusion I ended up staying the whole night at the Gdynia train station. It was not the best experience, but I was in such high-spiritis from my lovely time in Toruń that I did not mind too much.
I have met some people who say that Toruń is a better city than Kraków as far as visiting and seeing Polish culture. I agree that Toruń is a lovely city, but comparing it to Kraków is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Both are old cities with impressive architecture but the feel of each city is quite unique and different. I cannot say that one is better than the other and I wholeheartedly recommend both to visitors travelling around Poland.
Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan David was raised by his parents with his two sisters and brother.