This spring spend a long weekend exploring two of Poland’s popular cities — Szczecin and Bydgoszcz, both offering a variety of sites to visit.
Exploration of Szczecin can begin on foot at the city’s central railway station, where the tourist route begins. The dashed red line on the pavement guides tourists to 42 of the city’s landmarks.
Follow the red dashes to Dworcowa Street, where the distinctive, round building housing the tourist information office is located. Guidebooks, maps, postcards and souvenirs are all available there.
Farther down the street is the Port Gate, one of two entrances to the old town. Several of the city’s attractions can be found in the old town, including the restored Metropolitan Basilica Cathedral of St. Jacob, White Eagle Square with its baroque fountain and the original old town hall.
Inside the Pomeranian duke’s castle, visit an exhibition of sarcophagi or dine at the Zamkowa restaurant. Walk around the castle to locate the Museum Bailey and climb the stairs to the top of the bell tower for impressive views of the city.
Szczecin’s Chrobry Embankment, according to the city’s tourist information Web site, www.szczecin.pl, is the trademark of the city. Take a stroll along the embankment and enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants serving traditional Polish cuisine. Look for the Marine Museum on the embankment, with maritime displays from various cultures and eras.
The city of Bydgoszcz is 160 miles east of Szczecin and offers an old market square with intriguing architecture, including the town hall. The square also features the fountain "Children Playing with Goose" in front of the Public Regional and City Library.
The Gothic Cathedral of St. Martin and Nicolas has the late Gothic painting "Madonna with a Rose — The Holy Virgin of Beautiful Love" from the 16th century, located on the main altar. Head west to Mill Island to visit the White Granary, a half-timbered building erected in 1780 that now houses the Regional Museum. The museum has exhibits of handcraft works, as well as information on the history of Bydgoszcz.
The city’s Phonographic Museum houses an assortment of gramophones and radio receivers as well as more modern equipment, and a vinyl collection. Visit the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Pomeranian Philharmonic, which, according to the government-run Web site www.culture.pl, boasts two concert halls and excellent acoustics as well as a collection of historical and antique pianos and grand pianos.
— Heather Klinglesmith, compiled from Travel Web sites