They will of course protest otherwise, but one thing you’ll notice about the habitants of Warsaw is they don’t hang about when it comes to getting out of the big, bad city. Give them a long weekend and you’ll find the milk cancelled and a convoy of cars pointing in every direction but the city centre. For the most part the destination will be the town of Kazimierz Dolny, the mountains of Zakopane or the beaches of Sopot; wise and noble choices, the three of them, but why not go for more unchartered waters. Reszel, for instance. Never heard of it before? That’s for good reason, this place is Poland’s best kept secret. The town is tiny, population 5,098 promise the chaps at Wikipedia, but it features the kind of mist cloaked alleyways made famous in body snatcher films; uneven cobbles twist among derelict mills, and a Gothic bridge looms over a narrow stream. Dominating it all is the castle, a medieval masterpiece perched on top of a craggy rock. This precious reader’s is Reszel, the finest excuse in Poland to pack the bags and head into the yonder. Bring a camera, bring books, bring an appetite for krupnik and be prepared for some serious chillout; the arse end of nowhere has never been better.
Reszel acts as a perfect base to explore the wilds of Warmia and Mazuria. Hitler’s Wolfschanze bunker complex lies 30km to the east, and more Nazi fortifications can be explored 19km further at Mamerki. It’s here the German landforces held there command post. Tourism of a less sinister style can be conducted in the town of Ryn, itself equipped with an impressive hotel/castle, while six kilometres south east of Reszel don’t miss the chance to visit the Jesuit monastrey in Święta Lipka. The miracle inducing figure of St. Mary has been attracting pilgrims since 1473, though just as many people visit to marvel at the lavish baroque architecture – possibly the best example of this style in Poland.