Published: May 16th 2011April 23rd 2011
This is approximately the moment I lost my case, as I walked away to take photos. Doh.
You know, leaving my Auckland life wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I think the trick is denial, and lots of it. After quitting my job, leaving my awesome Takapuna flat, selling my car, and having an utterly brilliant leaving party as well as mandatory leaving drinks the night before, I eventually get to where I'm saying goodbye to my family at the airport. It's only around here where that realisation sets in: I'm actually leaving the country!
AAAH!! Where was I when I made this decision!?
So, a full 48 hours of travelling and futile attempts at sleep later, and after being reunited with my long-lost friends James
, I found myself standing in the chilly night air of Gdansk in Poland. One term comes to mind when I think about the start of this trip: Jet-Lag! I thought I wasn't doing too badly at the time, considering. I was wrong. After a brief walk through the streets of Gdansk, we made it to our hostel and checked in. No problem. I even made it to my bed and considered just falling into it, but this is where a habit of good dental hygene really
saved the day, forcing me to reach for my toothbrush first. Not a problem, but where'd I put my toothbrush again? Oh that's right, in my case. Wait, where's my case?
Problem. After bolting down to the lobby and hastily retracing my steps in the streets of Gdansk, I eventually found my case sitting innocuously on the pavement where I'd left it 20 minutes earlier. What a dick.
The next morning we set out for Malbork castle, the largest castle in the world by area, and built by the Teutonic Knights - a religious order of crusaders much like the more famous Knights Templar. I love exploring a good castle, and with its numerous alleyways and tunnels this one didn't disappoint! At one point the 3 of us somehow managed to end up at the same junction three times, much to the amusement of the staff member there! The exploration was even more enjoyable after lunching on black chicken, beer pancakes, and pierogis (Polish dumplings) – but mainly because we also convinced the restaurant to give us free cardboard crowns which we wore for the rest of the day! Awesome!
That night we decided to check out the
night life in Gdansk with an Australian friend we'd met at the airport the previous day. He turned out to be a bit of an arse, but he did introduce us to the lovely Ula and her Belgian friend Yella, who provided much amusement as the night wore on whilst drinking beer with ginger and dancing on tables. The cure to jetlag? Alcohol and girls, it seems, as I somehow managed to keep going until we noticed that annoying ball of fire returning to the sky. I hate that!
After a solid 3 hours of sleep, we started to explore the town of Gdansk, but not before saying goodbye to our new friends and grabbing an awesome fried breakfast next to the canal. As you can probably tell by the photos, Gdansk is a very pretty little town, and also home to the oldest surviving crane in Europe (14th century). That's something I've missed about Europe – the history! Everything just has so much meaning behind it which makes it all so captivating for travellers like me. We may have been slightly hungover, but Gdansk was a great town to just wonder through and breathe in. Pebbled roads, seaside
On the train to Malbork Castle
...and brushing up on my Poland knowledge :)
walkways, magnificent buildings, cute little archways, and an abundance of outside eating areas made for a great atmosphere. I feel like I'm writing a travel article here, but that's what it was like!
We bid a fond farewell to Gdansk that evening and, due to our intended train being fully booked, embark on a somewhat convoluted journey via Warsaw to Vilnius, Lithuania.
There are more photos below