Torun Part 2 – Walking around an empty walled town after dusk and dawn.

This post is a continuation of a series documenting our travels across the Central European country of Poland. We were now in the walled town of Torun for the day and had spent the afternoon roaming around the beautiful cobbled lanes and climbing the bell tower of the City hall. (Torun Part 1 -Walking around the walled home town of Copernicus)

I was feeling a bit under the weather since the last day in Gdansk but somehow the adrenaline rush of being on a vacation pulled me through till now. Finally my adrenaline stocks ran out as we returned to the Hotel Spichrz from our wanderings around Torun. It was still bright outside so I crashed for a few hours to try and replenish my adrenaline stocks and pull through our intended plans for a night walk around Torun.

I woke up after a few hours of sleep ( with loud snoring according to the better half!) and got ready to go and have dinner and then walk around the old town when it was all lit up. We just had one night in Torun and I certainly wasn’t going to let a sore throat and some malaise get in the way of enjoying this town.

The sore throat meant that I had to forego having the amazing beer and instead switch to the equally amazing Vodka ( Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka – its good!). The good part about staying at the Spichrz was that we didn’t have to go anywhere for a good meal. The in-house restaurant was superb and we ate our second meal there. I had chicken breast with cream and mushroom sauce and the better half had her staple plate of Pierogi Ruskie ( apparently the best ones of the trip!)

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Sore throat makes me shift from beer to the amazing Zubrowka Bison grass Vodka
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The best Pierogi Ruskie of the trip at the Restaurant Karczma
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My chicken breast with cream and mushroom sauce and rice

Feeling much better after the meal we started our walk around the old town. The town being a college town was fairly active when we started our walk but soon emptied out.

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The gate to the old town right outside our Hotel Spichrz

We hit the main street the Ulica Szeroka and walked the full length of the street . It was lit up like most old towns in Europe. If you ask me my favourite things to do in Europe it would be walking the streets of the old towns after dark and early morning. That has been a must do for me for the past few trips. I would rather forego some museums and rest mid day (when it is most crowded!) so that I can do the town walks at either ends of the day.

I have described these streets and landmarks in my previous post so I am just going to let the photos do the talking this time.

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Ulica Szeroka – The main street of Old town Torun
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The brass donkey is less mobbed at night
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Copernicus still has company though till late in the night
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The city hall and bell tower all lit up at night
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The Church of the Holy Spirit
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City hall Square with the town hall and Artus court on opposite sides
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The Rafter has only has audience of frogs at night
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The church of the two Johns closed but lit up

My earlier plan was to walk across the bridge on the river Vistula and capture the entire lit up old town from the other side. Sadly my body was screaming for mercy and I gave in. We just walked outside the walls for a short distance before entering the old town again through the gate near our hotel and retiring for the night.

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The walls of Torun
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The exteriors of the town walls are all lit up

Even though I regret not being able to do the longer walk across the river it gave my body rest and I was rearing to go when I woke up the next day. Sadly the beautiful weather the previous day had given way to grey skies and the looming threat of rain. So we decided to have breakfast first and then start our mornings sightseeing.

We had not visited the side of the town where the ruins of the old Teutonic knights castle was located. So we started our early morning walk there. The streets were empty and the trees were in full bloom, what I would have given for a beautiful sky!

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Empty streets with the trees in bloom in Torun

Even though the castle was destroyed and only some ruins remain strangely the toilet tower of the castle remains very well preserved! Like in Malbork, the tower was separated from the rest of the castle with a long corridor connecting the two. The tower opened over a flowing stream which was intended to keep the sewage flowing away. These teutonic knights were certainly hygienic people for their times!

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The toilet tower of the castle at Torun
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The ruins of the Castle in stark contrast to the Toilet Tower
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The tower and the corridor connecting it to the castle

Having visited the part of town we had missed the previous day we then set off on the walk through the rest of the town itself. It was a weekend and it seemed like the students didn’t like to be up and about early on weekends! Even at 9 am the streets were relatively deserted, not that I was complaining!

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Empty streets of Torun in the morning
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Torun likes to sleep till late on weekends! – No one out till 9am!

We then decided to resume our search for the little brass statues that are dotted all across town. We first came across the baker lady and her naughty dog that we had seen the previous day. But the empty streets make it seem like a totally different statue than the one I had photographed the day before.

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The baker lady and her dog – One f the numerous statues around Torun

Usually statues in towns are of royals or town mayors or some important figures. I liked the fact that if you left Copernicus aside the remaining statues in Torun are those of the common people or daily humdrum things. We walked to the “New” market square where two more of these brass statues were located.

The first was a statue of a woman resting on a bench after her market shopping. Set right outside the new market it made for a pretty picture.

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Old lady at the Market statue in Torun

On the other side of the market square was another bronze structure. This time it was a cart filled with day to day stuff. These random statues were a hoot to photograph especially in the morning with no crowds around.

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A statue of a cart in Torun

The New Market square isn’t as scenic as the more popular Old one just a few hundred metres away but it seemed more authentic and less touristy of the two. A vendor was selling fruits at the square and we bought a box of excellent strawberries before moving on.

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New Market Square Torun with the Fruit vendor on the right

We started our walk back to the more popular part of town in search of the most famous of the bronze statues – the monument to Filus. While the name may seem grand, its just a tiny statue of a dog holding a bowler hat and waiting for his master!

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Walking back to the old town square

In our search for Filus we walked past the “House under the Star”, a great example of Baroque architecture. Though its interiors can be visited too with ticket we had neither the time nor the interest. So we just stood and ogled and the beautiful facade for a while.

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The house under the Star in Torun

We then came across a few frogs that the rafter had apparently missed outside a closed newspaper and souvenir stall( For the rafter story see previous post!). It was funny to see the frogs chained to each other and the stall itself.

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Chained frog statues outside a stand in Torun

Finally we found Filus waiting for his master. Although small in size, this statue of a famous Polish Comic strip character is cute and memorable. We spent some time with Filus & took a few photos. (That don’t do its cuteness any justice!)

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The monument to Filus – Torun, Poland

Having found our last bronze statue we started our walk back to the hotel. We walked back to the other side of the Old town square where cafes were bustling the night before. In the morning it was eerily empty , the grey skies only added to it.

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Empty cafes on the old market square – Torun

Since we still had some time before our train to Krakow we walked into the Town hall courtyard and just looked around the red brick structure. Where there were lines for tickets the day before, there were just the two of us.

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The courtyard of the City Hall in Torun on an overcast day

That’s when the better half reminded me that we had left the Church of the holy spirit the previous day as a service was going on. So we walked out of the city hall courtyard and into the church.The church was open and almost empty so we did our church routine and sat in the pews for some time, walked around till the altar and walked out.

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The Church of the Holy Spirit , Torun
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The grand church organ of the Church of the Holy Spirit

Having completed what we set out to see in the morning we got around to the last item on our to do list in Torun – buy some Gingerbread! You don’t visit a town where gingerbread was supposedly invented and walk away without buying some.

So we walked to the famous Gingerbread shop in Town and bought ourselves a variety of Gingerbread to eat as a snack for the next few days. (Relished every single bite of it!)

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Torun Gingerbread – A proud heritage
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The amazing variety of Gingerbread on display
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A gingerbread gift basket in Torun

The better half had been eyeing the Polish Doughnut or Paczki since yesterday so we walked to the shop selling those and bought a couple to enjoy on our long train ride to Krakow.

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A droolworthy Paczki shop in Torun

With sweets in hand we said our final goodbyes to the rafter and to Copernicus and walked back to our hotel Spichrz.

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Saying our goodbyes to the rafter of Torun
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We finally have Copernicus to ourselves as we say Goodbye

The short one night stay in Torun had been memorable. In every such small town I always wish we had more days there. But sadly vacation days are always limited and we have to do the best with what we have.

We had asked the hotel to arrange a taxi to the station which came promptly on time and we were on our way back to the train station. We waited on the platform for our booked train on which we would be taking a long 5 hour train ride to Krakow.

Krakow that night would be a mixed bag but that is topic for another post, some other time, some other day.

Till then,

Do Widzenia!

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