Updated: Nov 8, 2019
You think of Poland and mechanically you think always of the same places.
It is Warsaw, obviously, the capital. Everybody knows it, many have been there.
It is Krakow, with its endless history and beautiful streets – it´s been in fashion recently. It is Gdańsk, bathed forever by the freezing Baltic sea and proud of its shipyards and Neptune. It is Wrocław and Poznań, once in Germany or Prussia and now back for good, and proudly so. It is the lakes and the mountains. It is endless plains and evergreen explosions of nature. That´s Poland. But what is Lublin? Andwhere is it? And more importantly: Do we have to know it? Is it worth it?
Come and see.
Start, for instance, in the Catholic University. Then take in straight line Aleje Racławickie and then into Krakowskie Przedmieście, leaving at your left the magnificent square with its important monuments and newly refurbished fountain, where multimedia shows are often performed. Then by your right you will see the great Post Office building. Carry on into the pedestrian part of the street, scattered with an array of tempting bars and restaurants – all promoting Perła beer, what else could it be? The road will take you directly into the Old Town through the majestic Krakowska Gate.
Then the old town develops everywhere around you, and everywhere is inviting. You can try any corner, because behind there´s always a small wonder. But if you´re able to carry on walking the straight line you´ll cross the bridge and you will end up in the castle, the unforgettable, different to anything you´ve seen, Zamek Lubelski.
You can safely challenge anyone you know – as well travelled as he or she may be - to make this route and name a nicer walk, a better way to spend half a day touring around in any European city. For the only thing you want to do when you finish the walk is to do it again, but stopping in different places and eating in different bars.
And then you do, and then you will wonder where has this city be? And more importantly, where have you been that you didn´t come here before?
You will plan to do the route again, but someone will then tell you that there are a bunch of other things to see around. It is the sinister Majdanek, former nazi concentration camp. There is the Cathedral, the gardens, the lakes around, the – well – virtually everything.
Lublin has that something small that makes cities great. It is simple, in the most noble sense of the word. It belongs to that category of the places that don´t try to imitate any other – there´s no need. It is a place that´s been always old, and that will always be new.
Then you´ll have to leave, but only when you´ve promised yourself that you´ll be back, only after you´ve learnt enough about it so you can enjoy it much better.
So, then now you know where is Lublin: next to Warsaw, close to Krakow. And the next time you come you will know where to start, but you will not know where to end yet.
What is Lublin? A surprise.