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August 5th 2009
Published: August 6th 2009
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But could be Ohio
DAY 116

I am leaving Krakow this morning, so I pack my things and head for the train station. I have 3 destinations in mind, Warsaw, Prague or Gdnask. I really don't know where I am going to go until I get to the ticket window and the person asks me, I say Gdnask. That's when I decided.

I know that Gdnask sits near the Baltic Sea and that I would have ferry options to the Scandinavian countries as well as Estonia. That's about all I know about it. I have no guide books for reference, I going on instinct.

The train from Krakrow is an 8 hour trip. This is the first real time that I have been homesick. The countryside that we are passing could be anywhere in Ohio. It has the pastures with Holstein cows, the farm fields, the rolling hills and the dense forests. Greenery is everywhere.

The first section of the train ride to Warsaw I shared a cabin with a young couple from Sweden. They confirmed that people they know ferry from Stockholm to Gdnask for a weekend just to party. The ferry is a long one but very comfortable and has sleeper cabins. So now I have narrowed down my next choices to Estonia or Stockholm.

But first I must see Gdnask. When I arrive around 7:00 the streets are filled with festival booths and entertainment at every corner. There is a William Shakespeare Festival going on for a 2 week period. I have walked from the bus station to the town center to find the information office that will help me find a room. With the festival going on it was impossible to find anything this late at night for a reasonable price so I opted for a B&B outside of the old town.

It is a nice place with a garden including a greenhouse, small fish pond and sitting areas in the back yard. My room has a small balcony overlooking the garden and the town of Gdnask. So this is fine for tonight because all I want to do this evening is to relax and go to bed early. It is amazing how traveling for hours can make you so tired without expending any energy whatsoever.

The taxi driver who took me to the B&B called a friend of his and

Yep. It's Poland
has found me a room for tomorrow night in the old town for just a few more dollars. I will do that so that I can partake in the festival activities. I also need to check out my travel plans for the next day.

The weather travel here was cloudy with small periods of light rain. This is the first time in my travels to have an entire day of clouds. It really helped with keeping the heat down and the humidity wasn't that bad. So a good day for traveling. When I reach Gdnask the sky was only partly cloudy and no chance of rain with a slight breeze. Ahhhhh! Wonderful!!

Off to bed no alarm tonight, I am sleeping in!!

DAY 117

I am still waking up early even when I don't have to, but I have many things to do. I had the best night's sleep. The night was much cooler and the bed was comfy with a heavy quilted comforter and I slept like a baby.

I called the taxi driver that brought me here and he is to take me to the new hotel for tonight that is closer to old town. And the place is only 50 meters from the Stara Motlawa river and the entrance to the old town. A great location and a fabulous hotel. A little more pricey but location, location! The shower had body jets, I have never had a shower with these things and it was hard to adjust them so that your skin wasn't wiped away with the force. I had water all over the marble floors as the water escaped through the shower door. What a fiasco, I can't even take a shower!!

Out the door to sight see. I also have to make arrangements for tomorrow's travel. I am so happy with my choice of towns. Gdnask is one of the prettiest cities I have ever been in. The houses are beautifully kept. The streets are clean and the people are friendly (except for the train station).

Gdnask is a thousand year old city that sits near the banks of the Baltic Sea. It is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Poland and it is Poland's principal seaport.

The city was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which, under the leadership of Gdańsk political activist Lech Wałęsa, played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule across Central Europe.

Some of the Royal Route include the following historic buildings:

Upland Gate - 16th c. stone gate which is the beginning of the Royal Route.

Gateway to Long Street - Blends Gothic and Renaissance to this Medieval fortification. It has the remnants of the Torture House, the Prison, and the gallows. It now houses the Amber Museum.

Great Armory - Ornate Dutch Mannerism style for storage of cannon balls, guns and other arms.

Town Hall - Erected in the 13th c. and has been altered throughout the years. The clock chimes the hour. It is now closed for renovations.

Neptune Fountain - a favorite spot for photos. A 17th c structure that connects the city to the sea. Local legend says that the god Neptune was indignant at seeing coins tossed into his fountain that the god struck the water with his trident(pitchfork) crushing the gold into tiny flakes, which gave rise to the herbal liquor Goldwasser, that has glistening gold flakes in it.

Artus Court - This building was erected by the inspiration of king Arthur and the Knights of the Round table. It was the offices of many merchant guilds.

New Bench House - At 1:pm every afternoon a sweet girl's face appears in one of the windows and her name is Hedwiga, a legendary 17th c maiden said to have been kept prisoner there by her uncle. A book was written about her in 1891 and the house has become a tourist attraction.

The Golden House - one of the most beautiful houses in Gdnask, built in the 17th c.

Green Gate - Built in 1568-1571 in the Mannerist style was intended to be the royal residence for visiting monarchs. But only one showed up. Today it is the National Museum.

Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary is over 150 years old and houses very impressive works of art. With the most impressive main altar which a Peta sculpture from 1410. It is undergoing renovations at this time o the exterior.

The list could go on and on. But what I really enjoyed was the shopping at the festival booths and enjoying the musical events going on throughout the old town. I bought an 3 amber rings and a pair of earrings. This is where the amber is mined so it is much cheaper here than anywhere else.

Another stoke of luck was when I was at the internet cafe I ask the young men if they knew of anyone that could look at my computer and fix it. The one smiled and said "ME". I jumped out of my seat and practically ran across the old town to the hotel to retrieve my laptop. I returned in 20 min. I had to hurry as it was getting close to closing time. He downloaded a new web browser since my old one would not open. Not to sure why. But it is now working again. I ask him how much he wanted for fixing my computer (because he first told me that it would be free). He said nothing, but I insisted and he said, "How much money do you have, can you buy me a Mercedes?", we all laughed and I gave him 20 pln which is less than 7 USD. All was happy.

On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a festival food booth that was serving pigs knuckles, sausages, kraut, and potatoes. I opted for a dish of deliciously buttered, spiced, small round potatoes and a beer for dinner and sat and listened to the musical group that was performing on the stage.

What a fantastic day in Gdnask!!

Day 118

Woke up this morning and took my time getting ready for check out at noon. I did run to the post office and buy a box so that I can mail some things home. I was able to remove about 14 pounds from my back pack.
It's still heavy but so much better.

Went out for a last tour of the city and will read and blog until my taxi arrives to take me to the ferry where I will be going to Stockholm, Sweden.
I am very excited to be going I have always wanted to go there and now is the time to do it. It is a long ferry 17-18 hour ride.
I will have a cabin shared with 3 other people so I can sleep comfortably on the long journey.

I loved Poland it was a fantastic place to visit.

Additional photos below
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A 2 week long summer fest

In the Middle Ages it was the largest crane port in Europe, it's reconstructed driving mechanism still works. It is a big wooden wheel that men actually walk on to raise and lower cargo unto the ship and raising ship masts.

7th August 2009

(heh heh.... vast organ.... heh heh.....) My suggestion for a new title for this last leg of your very long vacation that took you away from work for soooo long and you had such a good time but I'm not jealous or bitter..... ANGIE, A BROAD. ;)

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