When other reliable sources tell you where to go in Poland – I’ll tell you where to find some familiar spots you probably haven’t expected to find.
A map below (click to enlarge) is supposed to make you feel more at home. [Note: It’s made for people from the UK. Our other readers are asked to state their locations. Our US readers will be aware that Poland used to be divided into 49 states. With Chicago being quite Polish – one might say: we’re even.]
Drafting the map, I followed these simplifications, labels, pigeonholes, dead-end streets. (Suggestions for revisions, exclusions or inclusions are welcome.)
The capital city. During WW2 bombed by Germans. HM the Queen (or King) resides here. In Poland, the name is Warszawa. (Well, duh.)
For Belfast we need a town in Poland that’s Irish. Now, the phrase “lucky load to Lublin” written by one Irishman here seems to be a muddy but acceptable indication. It’s Lublin then. (Not Dublin though, as Dublin has grown too expensive – so it would be, eh, Moscow?)
I heard it: “For years Birmingham had a reputation as the ugliest and most boring city in the UK. In fact, it’s got a lot better recently and is probably livable in. Brummies have one of the silliest and most mocked accents.”
An ugly place growing livable in? – A conurbation with a dialect? – Must be Katowice.
= Brighton (and Hove)
Thinking Brighton we’d be looking for a famous sea-sided health resort. The first thing that comes to my map-making mind is Sopot. To get the numbers of inhabitants more in place, Brighton and Hove would be Sopot and Gdynia (two of the Tricity, but Gdańsk taken, being Glasgow). By the way, Sopot herself thinks being the right match for Southend on Sea.
Britain made Rovers in Coventry. Poland makes cars in Tychy. (And rower in Polish means a bicycle. Close enough.)
Highland boys will be Highland boys, wherever they are. In Poland, their centre is called Nowy Targ.
= Isle of Wight
Old, respectable place. The musical capital, one would say, hosting fine festivals. It’s Opole. That is not an isle, technically speaking, but has an isle inside the boundaries. (A nice set of relevant pictures here.)
= Kingston upon Hull
I’m sure Leeds would like to stand on her own, incomparable, not mated, rich in its own time and space. But so would Wrocław! And 700.000 dwellers can’t be wrong. If there’s Leeds, it’s there.
The centre of British cottons and textiles. The UK’s third largest conurbation. Would you guess: Łódź? Once the heart of the textile district. Poland’s third largest city. (A tiny youtube: Manchester United vs Widzew Lodz. Not to worry, anyone, the game ended 1:1.)
Yes, it’s the whole county — twinned with Poznań. Citizens of Poznan are supposedly hard working and thrifty. They don’t steal from the rich as they don’t steal from themselves. Not that they should find the poor enough to grant them the loot, either. So, with Robin Hood twinned with them, this could be the beginning of a beautiful symbiosis.
Well, that’s it. I omitted many a place, I know. (Sheffield, for instance, closed its Polish consulate and no one’s able to ask there where they are in Poland.) With the map, however, you are expected to draw some parallels yourself.
[post re-edited on 24 Feb 2008]