THE PLACE WHERE MY DREAM TO LIVE IN ENGLAND WAS BORN
Chełmża is a small town in the north of Poland, in Toruń County and Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. It is placed by a stunning lake called Jezioro Chełmżyńskie which reflects it’s architectural beauty. This small town is one of many in Poland and it probably wouldn’t mean too much for many people around the world but for me it is my hometown and where many years ago my dream to live and work in England was born, the dream I followed and described in my ‘Polish GIRL: In Pursuit of the English Dream’ memoir. It took me many years of living abroad through to truly appreciate its beauty and many things I so enjoyed about it. Here, after 14 years of living in England I want to share some of the things I love about my hometown and as much as it is an interesting post for you as a reader, it is also my own testimony of how much I love my hometown.
Chełmża has a long history since 1277. It experienced the Teutonic wars, was taken over by the Kingdom of Prussia and later German occupation. For me, the town’s focal point is the gothic cathedral which can be visible from a long distance while approaching the town in the car and it gives the feeling of grandness and elegance. It is beautifully reflected in the calm waters of the lake while walking around it. Just as much I could never be bored with the view of the magnificent Windsor Castle when I pop into Windsor, I can never be bored with this view, especially from the other side of the lake.
When I visit Chelmza in the summer, I love stretching my body on one of many beaches and swim in the warm waters of the lake. There is something very relaxing and calming about it and even though I love the seaside, this is definitely a great replacement. It would take me about 2 hours to drive to of the seaside resorts near Sopot or Gdansk so being able to just jump on a bike and end up on a beach within 15 minutes is a plus. No stress of traveling anywhere, just pure relaxation. The water is warm and clean and some beaches around the lake are so secluded that there are hardly any people there which means it’s…quiet. When I dive into the water I feel like I become part of it, as if melting into the water with every molecule of my body. It always gives me a sense of unity and being part of nature and the universe. It also gives me a feeling that I am not alone, that we as human beings are all connected to the whole universe on a subatomic level. It’s only when we are ready to appreciate it and ‘feel’ it, that we can truly enjoy each moment. With no worries, no problems, no stress, just ‘being’ in the warm waters of the lake, looking at the clear blue sky above. It is a very cleansing experience for the soul for sure.
The lake is surrounded by stunning nature, including many little paths leading through a forest. It never ceases to amaze me to see the view of the cathedral from different angles and location. It also means that I can choose to be on a different beach with a different view each day. Being so close to nature recharges my battery and gives me a huge sense of peace. Spending time in solitude helps too. It means I can look within my soul, recognize different thoughts and feelings that dwell in it and decide how to react to them. Being able to control my emotions more is thanks to spending time alone in nature. It gives me a fresh perspective on my life, problems and it is easier for me to find solutions to any problems. The newly found skill I love to practice is ‘knowing that there are no problems in the present moment’ and I remind myself to stop worrying about them and enjoy the views of the lake, smell of the forest and feeling of the gentle breeze on my body. It is something I learnt recently ever since my spiritual awakening and I truly believe that anyone can feel and experience it, only if they try and make the effort to stop, relax and let go.
The newly built bridge on the lake is also one of my favourite locations. There are benches along its whole distance and the views of the town are magnificent. It is also an attractive place for fishermen who seem to gather at many spots specifically designed for them. The lanterns lit the bridge at night and make the atmosphere very..romantic and nostalgic. There is always something magical about bridges, water and lights at night.
There is a great restaurant in town called Mistral and it could not be situated in a better location, right by the lake and the town beach. The restaurant offers traditional Polish food which is different each day, including vegetarian dishes and many locals hire this venue for birthday parties or weddings. The terrace provides amazing views of the lake and the cathedral.
The nearby marina has a few boats for rent and for a small charge one can enjoy the vastness of the lake whilst rowing and catching the afternoon sun. The yearly Sailing Regata takes place here too where sailing enthusiasts from the whole country compete with each other. It is one of the main attractions of the town, just like Days of Chelmza where different performers and singers entertain the locals for a couple of days. This year (2018) we had the pleasure to host the five times winner of the World’s Strongest Man title – Pudzianowski who was now a judge in the Polish Strong Man competition.
What I really like about my town is that it is easy to get to all the places on foot. Whether it’s the post office or a local bakery with gorgeous smelling bread or a cake shop with the most delicious orange, lemon, chocolate or cream cakes, or even the butchers selling the local smoked sausage. There are also a few street sellers with freshly delivered fruit and vegetables from the local farmers, at a fraction of a cost in shops. There is something endearing about these small specialty shops and even though we do shop in supermarkets, we choose to buy fresh produce in those shops, supporting the local businesses as a result.
There are many reasons why I love my hometown but I wanted to highlight a few benefits of living in a small town. Maybe it is in the very fact it’s small and where its biggest charm lies in? Maybe it’s not always about big and famous London, Warsaw or New York? Maybe we should be able to see the beauty everywhere we look, even if it means our small local town or village? It took me many years to truly appreciate my town after having lived in England for so long and travelling around the world. Just because we do that it shouldn’t mean we forget about our roots, where we come from and that it was the place where our dreams as children and teenagers started, including our dreams to emigrate to different countries and seeing the world.
I truly hope you also appreciate where you come from and that you are never ashamed to admit it.
After all, we are who we are also because of where we came from.
Let’s celebrate our own hometowns and give them the credit they deserve!