The biggest visit yet by Swindon people to our Polish twin city of Torun in Poland took place last week with the Swindon Junior Ice Hockey Team taking part in an ice hockey tournament in the Polish city. A coach of players, parents and interested Swindon residents made the historic trip leaving the Link Centre at 3.30am! Eventually arriving at Torun at 2.00pm at the Hotel Wodnik we were greeted by a warming meal as temperatures were just above freezing. The hotel by the Wisla river proved amazing value at £15 a day full board and served to illustrate the attractive prices still available for the British tourist in Poland.
The Swindon team competed with Torun and Warsaw from Poland and eventual winners St. Petersburg from Russia. Being both the youngest and less experienced side they fought well and won a lot of friends both on and off the ice. Parents meanwhile enjoyed the pleasures of the historic Torun including its magnificent churches, historical market place, car free shopping centre and birth place of astronomer Nicholas Copernicus – everyone meets at his famous statue. Cllr Chris Shepherd and myself met with Torun Council representatives who were very impressed and pleased with the Bloor Homes development off Thamesdown Drive which will be adopting Polish names including Torun Way. Chris playfully suggested they rename their main road after Swindon!
Although the boys appeared to be adopting the McDonald’s in Torun as their second home the adults sampled some excellent Polish cuisine in the many restaurants, cafes and bars that dot the city centre. With over 30,000 students studying at the Nicholas Copernicus university it creates a vibrant night life in the city. For the shopper the best buys in Torun are the vodka, beer, its famous Gingerbread with three shops devoted to it and amber jewellery.
The trip proved a great success and will hopefully be the first of many to come. We are now setting up an official twinning organisation – Torun And Swindon Twinning Enterprise (TASTE – a taste of Poland!).