We wanted adventure, we got adventure, here in a sleeping car with a bunk bed en route from Gdansk to Krakow. Our Polish friends all came to see us off at the station near midnight – Adam and his mother, Michel and his girlfriend Anna ( who came with a parting gift – bottle of Goldwasser, the Gdansk liquor that includes visible flakes of Gold. (See foto below) Our luggage is pretty boozy…D already has a bottle of Ukrainian vodka he got for a gift.
Our Polish friends took care of us well throughout our three day trip, eager to show us around and very generous, which was very sweet and gave us some insights into real life in Gdansk and Poland that we would not have gotten otherwise. yesterday, Adam and his mother ( in another foto below) picked us up and whisked us off to the Bishops cathedral, home and park landscaped with lovely flower beds. There was a Saturday morning organ concert in the cathedral and my eyes were not deceiving me: the gold trumpets of the angel statues embedded in the ornate organ really did move around when the music played. They also drove us past Lech walecsa ‘s house nearby. Then Michal picked us up and drove us about an hour away to Malbork Castle, an enormous 13th century castle housing Teutonic Knights from Germany who were also, oddly, monks as well as hired guns for Poland to fight Russia who later ended up fighting and defeating Poland. At night, we went to The modern high rise apartment outside the old town where Adam and his mother live for a huge meal of cold cuts, various salads and cheeses and meat spreads and chunks of white cream with a layer of red jello with strawberries. Next stop, the Baltic Sea pier in Gdansk where there was a lively disco and some restaurants and some people swimming in the dark cold water. From there we went to the high tech domed observatory of adam’s former school where he showed us Saturn and various stars through a telescope. We didn’t get back to the hotel until about 12:30 pm.
This morning, Adam picked us up and we went to the very interesting Roads to Freedom exhibit documenting the Solidarity Movement, complete with replicated shops showing the scarcity during communist times and lots of test old photos and footage of the struggle during the 1970s and 1980s. A new larger museum is in the making but I really liked the simplicity of this one.
Adam handed us off to Michal and Anna who drove us to the nearby resort seaside town of Sopot which was packed with vacationers on a spectacular summer day. We met up with Michal’s mother and had very good pasta and risotto at one of the many busy restaurants surrounding a wide plaza that leads to a long wide pier jutting out into the Baltic, and a little marina with very large pleasure boats. you had to pay to walk the pier, which was a bit surprising. we were joined by some very well healed pele, including some stunning, presumably Polish young women.
Michel and Anna patiently joined us as we shopped for some amber gifts back in Gdansk on Mariacka Street, then Adam and his mom returned and took us back to their house for dinner, shopping at. Huge tesco for train provisions and a visit at sunset to the Dramatic 1950s era monument across the river from old town marking the start of World War Two. What a visit. We loved seeing our friends (Michael, Adam, Anna who we last saw in Des Moines in 2009) and their lovely mothers and city. Here’s hoping we meet again.