Torun, Poland

Torun is a beautiful town near the middle of Poland.  I enjoyed the few months I got to spend there, even though most of it was Winter.  Let me begin with why I went there.  The truth is, I have no idea.  I guess I got bored in Poznan and wanted to try somewhere new.  Maybe I threw a dart at a map or perhaps somebody told me about Torun, but no matter.  Somehow I ended up living in this lovely place.

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I rented a very small flat one street from the rynek(mainsquare).  My neighbor was supposedly Copernicus but I walked a lot every day and never saw him, so it is probably a lie to get tourists, similar to every church having a piece of the true cross.  I should let it be known here that Copernicus was from Torun. And there is your fact of the day.

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I did not work while I was living here so spent most of my time walking the streets looking around, investigating the quality of the cafes and pubs once the cold had chilled me to my bones.  The river was a fantastic place for a walk.  The view on one side of the walk was a white sheet of ice while on the other was the brown and red of the old city walls.  It is a majestic sight and I highly recommend trying it once.

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Most of the stories I would tell would be quite boring for a reader.  Trying different restaurants and cafes, walking to Auchen or the mall(Which are a long way from the rynek), hanging out in the rynek and shopping streets, seeing the old buildings, walking in the non-tourist areas, having my Russian girlfriend come visit me.  But there are two stories that I believe will be interesting enough to tell, or at the very least they are interesting enough for me to write and conjur up the memories once again.

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On one of my early days in the town I went to a small cellar pub just a few doors down from my flat.  I have never been a shy or uncomfortable person and therefore have never been ill at ease going out by myself.  I actually prefer it as it is a great way to meet people as this story will demonstate.  I was enjoying a beer and people watching in the pub when a group of five people came and sat down with me.  One girl, Dominika, told me that the bartender said she should sit with me and make me comfortable since I was a foreigner.  I guess the bartender and her were friends.  So we started chatting and became friends(I’m a very likeable person and not just a looker).  We weren’t attracted to each other but that made going out and sightseeing together much easier.  We talked, drank tea and coffee, and just had a jolly good time.  I guess I was a sort of attraction in Torun as she enjoyed showing me off, which was fun.

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Later I also had another wonderful experience resulting from my going out alone.  This time was New Years Eve.  I was walking around trying to find somewhere to have a few drinks before watching the fireworks.  I settled on a pub in the rynek.  Again it was a cellar pub and I was the first guest.  Not another soul apart from the bartender.  I was offered a menu with two choices, which were in Polish so I didn’t understand and the bartender didn’t speak English.  At this point I should have noticed something was not right as pubs do not usually offer menus with only two choices.  But I was oblivious and just smiled and asked for a beer(which I could say in Polish) .

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The hours passed on and the pub got quite busy.  Finally a gentleman came up to me and tried to ask me something.  When I said that I don’t speak Polish he responded in very good English, asking how I could work for(some company that I don’t remember) without speaking Polish.  It turned out that I had crashed a companies New Years party.  In that wonderfully receptive Polish style I was welcomed not as an intruder, but as a guest of honor.  I started to get drinks for free and everybody wanted to talk to me.  I was a god among men.  The night finished off with the watching of a spectacular fireworks show and receiving many invitations out in future.

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My few short months in Torun will be forever imprinted in my mind as some of the best in my life.  I have nothing bad to say about the town.  Even the biting cold is a warm and cherished memory.

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