Snuck away west of Leszno and with a population of just 14,000, ‘the greatest little town you’ve never heard of’ sits largely forgotten by the rest of the nation. And that’s good!
From afar, it looks truly monumental – the kind of place in which you’d expect to find a dragon in the moat and a trapped damsel up a tower. Built using 200,000 bricks and 11,000 tons of sandstone, such was the largesse that it was only beaten for size when the Palace of Versailles was completed.
The modest size of Sandomierz makes it extremely digestible, and having ticked off the Rynek its natural to find yourself ambling to a castle which, after the correct amount of hallucinogens, could easily be mistaken for a miniature Wawel.
Once unwanted and unloved, Katowice has gone through a renaissance and good things are happening, as TFN’s Alex Webber found out.
Having spent two months hermetically sealed inside my Warsaw apartment, it was to Białystok that I headed to celebrate the easing of the lockdown. And I left with no regrets.
The renaissance pearl that is the Old Town remains as striking and fresh as the day it was finished: a place of colonnaded passageways and shaded, leafy courtyards, it all leads to a mesmerizing square that stops you in your tracks.
Generously filled with dramatic archways, lavish churches, semi-secret corners and revamped tenements, it’s enough to just wander without aim and let the hours slip away.
This was where angels feared to tread. But changes have been meteoric. If Praga was once a byword for abandonment and decay, today it has become a calling card for the very concept of urban regeneration.
Inside a bar thick with smoke, babble, and antique booby traps, I lost myself in the cacophonous atmosphere, gazing helplessly at a barmaid in a tight tiger print top. I’d fallen in love: with her, with Kazimierz, with Kraków and with Poland.
Attracting a specific clientele defined not by their wealth or success, but rather their attitude to life, it is a place of openness, creativity and boundless good times.