i deeply enjoyed my time in the most northern polish metropolis on the baltic sea, gdánsk. the photo above really says more than i could: we were just getting ready to head out to catch a boat when i deeply felt that i needed a raspberry-laden gofry (waffle), like right now. so my last couple of minutes in the city was spent gazing out at the harbor and scarfing down deliciousness.
gdánsk certainly has some fascinating history, which i could go on about for pages. but i won’t, and i will leave you instead with just a select few facts: it was a major hanseatic league city, was designated a “free city” after the treaty of versailles and first world war, which was to remain separate from german rule, and in the 1970’s, the city became the birthplace of the solidarity against communism movement. another fun fact: the current prime minister of poland, donald tusk, is from this city and draws great criticism from poles for flying from warsaw to gdánsk every weekend.
basically, this city is just downright amazing. from even the short walk from the beautiful central station to the flat where we stayed, i saw so many wonderful things and pretty sights. sights that reminded me of hamburg (the hanseatic german influence). of amsterdam (the canal houses). of london (the clock tower, ferris wheel, and general atmosphere). but gdánsk will have you know that it simply will not stand to be compared: it’s in a league of it’s own.
the rollicking annual st. dominic’s festival was celebrating its final day on the first day we were in the city, and boy was it a perfect way to be greeted: streets upon streets of booths filled with crafty wares and snacks, live music in the park after dark, and a general festive atmosphere that showcased the very best of the city. cheerful and alive, the gdánsk of summer welcomed us with open arms.
some of my FAVORITE magic gdánsk moments…
>> getting in on some st. dominic’s silliness
>> feeling awe-struck by how beautiful the neighborhood i stayed in was.
>> popping in the gorgeous art noveau post office
>> being more than prepared for an absolute drenching summer down-pour and watching the other tourists run for cover
>> visiting st. brigit’s church and lighting a candle for grandma
>>loving my first night in the city at a restaurant on the main drag. this is my happy face, by the way. i’m kind of under-stated like that, or so i’ve been told.
>> taking home a special amber momento from mariacka street (less showy than this particular piece but still great!)
>> having frozen yogurt for dinner once because i wasn’t in the mood to go out for dinner. or apparently, eat real food. i got the matcha flavor and she hands me completely unadorned, boring-looking white yogurt.
me: “is this matcha yogurt?”
me: ????? (thinking matcha be green) “uhhhh. why…… is it not green?”
epilogue: she ran out of matcha and thought chai spice flavor would be good enough. i adapted. besides all the pierogies, poland and i haven’t always seen eye to eye on flavors. for example, in poland, chai lattes come with an espresso shot in them. always.
>> taking in the city at night and being serenaded for an hour by two polish guitarists playing some damn good songs, including a few memorable guns n’ roses covers. beautiful night.
i would definitely wish for more time in gdánsk– two days (because of all my day trippin’) just wasn’t enough. i cannot say enough good things about it and how much i loved it. i guess if you take me both to a) poland and b) a city on the sea, it’s a recipe for success.
i’ll leave you today with my favorite tune those fantastic guitarists performed that night on a terrace in front of an irish pub on korzenna street.