Today finds me travelling abroad for only the second time as a woman. I’d be lying if I said it was without trepidation. The destination is Toruń in Northern Poland. Any concern I have is only because I am completely ignorant about current Polish views on my particular situation. I have visited Toruń before, as a male. It’s a beautiful city with a vibrant University population and since it has a centre against homophobia, I’m expecting it to be pretty tolerant. Why Toruń you may ask, well it’s “the birthplace of the greatest and (most) famous Nicolaus Copernicus. In the Middle Ages Toruń was a prominent trade centre as a member of the Hanseatic League; in Poland it is called (the) ‘Krakow of the North’. Toruń is the most Gothic urban complex in Poland, one of the most important and crowded tourist centres of unique value, right after Krakow the second richest of original and best preserved historical monuments city in Poland”. Or so says the tourist blurb.
Looking forward to returning to a couple of my favourite restaurants in the Old Town and hoping that it all still feels pleasantly familiar. It was the first Polish city I ever visited and I’ve been a wee bit in love with Poland ever since. Most of all, I’m looking forward to finding out how good I’ll be at managing my new gender with a language barrier added. It’s all very well feeling confident within the confines of Glasgow but it’s good to stretch things now and then. And a Glaswegian mangling Polish is as stretched as it gets. But we’ll never go thirsty, “dwa piwa proszę”. Important priorities sorted.