September 8th, 2007 – by: boxinbcn
Main train station
Warsaw is a wonderful city, but last weekend I really wanted to get away and see something new and different. I have read a bit about Toruń which is two hours and forty minutes from Warsaw by train. This makes it a pretty comfortable distance for a day trip fromWarsaw. I'm not sure how many more weekends I'll have with pleasant weather, and even though it was supposed to rain, I went ahead and set out for Toruń on Saturday morning.
So, I grabbed my coat and umbrella and headed for the train station. A round trip ticket from Warsaw to Toruń cost 60 PLN. Usually it is a bit more, but there are special tourist fares and weekend rates that you should look into.
There is a sales office in Warszawa Centralna train Station where the people are very helpful and can inform about rates, schedules, etc.
The train station is across the river from the town. I needed to take a taxi to get to the town center.
Why Toruń? Good question! I’ve been interested in visiting the birthplace of Copernicus and home of Polish gingerbread since arriving in Poland. It’s a convenient distance for a weekend outing from Warsaw, but more importantly, it has one of the best preserved gothic residential complexes in Northern Europe with many of the tenement houses maintaining their original interior distribution. It also has a number of 13th and 14th century churches. The old town hall (Ratusz), now a museum, was built in the 13th century and has housed the Polish parliament.
Given its location, Toruń has been in the midst of various territorial disputes over the centuries and has been under control of the Teutonic Order, Prussia, Germany, Russia and Sweden.
View towards old town hall.
The two and a half hour train trip is interesting. We stop at places called Sochaczew, Łowicz, Kutno, Wocłałek, Aleksandrów… Places to explore at some future time, maybe. Kutno looks industrial from the train and the residential areas I pass look poor. It has a large train yard. Wocłałek appears to be much larger and I see a large shopping center and movie theatre. The landscape is very flat • farmland, forests and some small towns and surrounding residential areas. The farmland tends to be long narrow plots with corn or cabbage, apple trees or hay. Occasionally I see cows grazing or resting in the fields. The fields that were so intensely green a month ago are a bit paler now. Some are even golden or brown.
As we approach Toruń, the landscape becomes a bit less flat and we go through a large evergreen forest.
Eventually we reach Toruń. The train station is quite a distance from the city itself so we take a cab • about a 10 pln fare. I think that walking would have taken quite a while, plus it started to rain. While wandering around Toruń we were fortunate that there was also a medieval fair taking place and the costumed people added to the atmosphere in the city.
Old Town, Torun.
Among the places we visited that are really worth seeing are the following: The old town hall, St. Mary’s Church which was built in the 14th century, the Church of St. James in New Town, the home of Copernicus and the numerous Gothic residential buildings throughout the old part of the city. The old city walls and leaning defence tower are also interesting to see.
Walking around Toruń was extremely pleasant, even with a bit of rain.
Much of the old town is not open to vehicle traffic, so it is quiet and peaceful. We were very lucky to find a great place to have lunch, called Karczma Spichrz, where the food was fantastic and the atmosphere was really nice. Later in the afternoon, we found a nice café called “Atmosphera” next to St. Mary’s church which was a nice place to have a coffee and relax for a while before continuing on our way.
Old Town, Torun.
In all we had about 8 hours in Toruń before returning to Warsaw on an evening train. I’m sure I’ll be returning there since there’s most definitely a lot more to see, but I would recommend this as a day trip to a Polish destination that shouldn’t be missed.