D. Arrived this morning from Bucharest after 13 days of touring farms in Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. Sight for sore eyes and we had a lot to catch up on. The Gotyk Hotel where we are staying is charming. (See top photo) It’s alllegedly the oldest house in Gdansk, circa 1451, on one of Gdansk’s most beautiful streets, Mariacka Street ( see second photo) in the shadow of the enormous St. Mary’s church,the world’s largest brick church. Hotel is small with old world decor with Gothic flourishes but modern conveniences.
The Old Town, meticulously restored after being bombed to bits during WWII almost looks like it could be in Holland or Belgium, with beautifully adorned flat fronted buildings with murals and statutes and gargoyles. At the end of our street, there is the river that leads to the Baltic Sea. The riverside street is lined with amber shops and tourist stuff but nearby are refreshingly gritty big ships. There is also a tall ships festival here this weekend so there are lots of old pleasure boats and reenact-ors dressed in old military garb (word has it they will stage some sort of naval battle tomorrow.) This place is packed with tourists.
After eating some delicious pierogi at Pierogarnia U Dzika (see last photo), checking out the distinctive embroidery of the Kushubian region of Poland ( whose residents have a distinctive culture and language) at Galerie Sztuki Kaszubskie and chatting with a Swedish tourist who is also staying at our hotel (Everyone’s favorite topic: the snowdon situation and obama) we met up with M. whom we last saw four years ago when he left our house in Des Moines after staying with us for several weeks. As handsome and sweet as ever, he is now a 23-year-old Gdansk dental student living with his girlfriend who he got attached to during his Iowa trip ( she also was a Polish exchange student). He showed us all around the Old Town and along the river and we stopped for a beer at his favorite local brewery, Browar Piwna. So nice to see him and to have him show us around his town!