Matthew McConaughey might just be this generation’s Plato.
Earlier this year the slow-talking Texan thespian had the following to say on the subject of marriage: "Y'know, life is vexing enough man, it's nice to have a teammate that's rooting for you. Rooting for you to be more you. And for you to be rooting for them to be more them."
If he was talking about the solid basis on which to build matrimonial bliss, he could have just as easily been talking about a rural, apple-rich city pairing off with an industrial Polish town. The classic love story.
That's right, for the first time in years, Hereford is courting.
In January 2017, Hereford mayor Jim Kenyon led an advance party to Jaworzno in Poland. A powerhouse of south-Polish industry with a real civic slant, this initial batting of eyes will – hopefully – lead to a relationship where Hereford can learn from Jaworzno’s municipal modernity (electric busses and cycle highways), and offer a few tips the other way on tourism, by way of becoming Twin Towns.
In an effort to get to know our new potential partner, here is the twin town equivalent of a Tinder bio; a Jaworno ‘About Me’ section of fun(ish) facts and a few flattering snaps from the mayoral party's trip courtesy of Jimmy Gough.
1. In Jaworno, a pint of Tyskie lager will set you back around £1.40.
2. Jaworzno has more than 300km of cycle routes. That's not a typo. They love their bikes and are planning to build the first ever ‘cycle highway’ in Poland.
With Destination Hereford kicking in to a high gear - and a plans for an outdoor cycle track moving forward in Hereford - tandem rides could be in our cities' immediate future.
3. Jaworzno is home to a few famous faces. Well, famous if you know your Polish footballers and jazz singers.
Bogdan ‘The Wizard’ Wolkowksi is the six time World Pool Trick Shot champ, and the three-time World Pool Trick Shot winner. He is best known for the bottle shot, a gravity-defying stunt that sees him use the cueball to knock a ball from the top of a coke bottle, and take its place balancing on the rim.
Basia Trzetrzelewska. A member of the 80s latin-pop-jazz band Matt Bianco, Basia scored two Top 30 singles in the UK, before going solo and taking the US by storm. Her second album, London Warsaw NewYork, featured a track with Stevie Wonder and sold more than a million copies in the States en route to being named Billboard’s top Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year. NICE.
Jan Urban. Coming out of the youth academy at Victoria Jaworzno, traditionally a miner’s team, Polish striker Jan Urban went on to score seven goals and win 57 caps, making him the 29th most-capped player in his country’s history. Through the 90s he played most of his football for top-flight teams in Spain but has since come home and now manages Slask Wroclaw, who play in the Polish equivalent of the Premier League.
4. With a population of around 90,000, Jaworzno is the proud owner of the Polish equivalent of ‘Boris Busses’. The town is one of only three in Poland to operate electric busses, which work on a contactless card system similar to Oyster cards in London.
5. Skiing, whatever the season, is big business. Poland’s ski culture is developing fast and the nearest slopes are just half an hour from Jaworzno. In the summer, tourists head over to the ‘Sosina’ water sports centre, just north of the city, which hosts the annual Polish water-skiing championships.
In case you were wondering, the Polish translation for ouch is ‘au’.