Our trip to Gdansk, Poland was a big landmark for us – our first vacation via airplane since moving to Poland!
Even though most people visit Gdansk during the summer (due to its proximity to beaches on the Baltic Sea), we still had a wonderfully relaxing weekend. When we arrived, a full moon lit up the rainy streets of the city. It’s funny how rain can add to the ambiance sometimes…
Since it was dark by the time we found our way to our hotel, we spent our first evening enjoying the benefits of being in a coastal town: fresh fish and chips. Yum! Do yourself a favor and order fish while you are visiting Gdansk. You won’t be disappointed.
As we awoke on Saturday, the rain was long gone and the sun was shining. As with most European destinations, Gdansk is full of history. It was here where the first shots of WWII were fired. There’s lots to see and do around the city, though the town of Gdansk itself can be seen in a day, at most.
The walk along the river is undeniably beautiful and full of fantastic restaurants, bars and shops – oh, and fishermen, too.
Also found along the water is the famous Gdansk wooden crane. It was originally built in the 1400’s and can lift over 2 tons (though it was destroyed in the war and had to be rebuilt, as did most of Gdansk). The crane was powered by men walking inside the wheels – similar to that of a hamster wheel.
A trip to Gdansk would not be complete without shopping for Amber jewelry – just make sure to ask for a certificate from the seller to ensure it is authentic. We found the best shops along the streets by St. Mary’s Church. The entire street is lined with cases of Amber for sale.
We then took a golf cart tour around the city to see the rest of Gdansk – I would recommend this to at least get to the Shipyards. Though they are walkable from the city center, it is a bit of a hike. The Shipyard strikes of Gdansk are said to be what paved the way for Solidarity.
Our golf cart driver/guide was also full of fun tidbits of knowledge. He told us that all the priests in the city drive nice cars, as shown below.
He also told us that the houses typically were only built three windows across because any more would incur extra city taxes. Therefore, more windows symbolized an affluent family.
In front of this peach building are four lion sculptures showing where four different neighborhood borders formerly came together.
And now a close up view of St. Mary’s Church – the largest brick church in the world.
We then spent the rest of the day in Sopot, Poland
– more to come on this later! But here is the train station that got us to Sopot
And on Sunday, we concluded our trip to Gdansk with a river cruise.
|(That’s the crane again)
|This is the first ship that was made after WWII in Gdansk
The Tri-Cities of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia should be at the top of the list when planning a visit to Poland. (Keep in mind that even though it is a bit of a drive from both Wroclaw and Krakow, there are budget flight options available.)
Anyways, since Halloween is quickly approaching, I wanted to leave you with this image of a black cat that crossed our path on a full moon night 🙂 Binx, is that you? (Come on, you remember Binx from the movie Hocus Pocus, right?)