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Published: September 30th 2017
This poster was on display at the aquarium in Hel. Exactly what kind of aquarium is this??? I've never seen a seal posing so seductively in my life! She's got my vote for Playboy's Polish Playmate of the Year!
Geo: 54.44, 18.56
Breakfast was some pastries purchased on the way to the train station. A sausage patty-stuffed foccacia-like cheese bun - very good. This was probably the best pastry I have ever had in Eastern Europe - but in my extensive history of pastry-eating, it probably ranks no higher than 185th or so. The apple turnover was a little tough, but the filling was good. A chewy multi-grain cheese stick, and a burnt hot dog bun rounded out the meal. Mary Moment #54: Mary twisted her thumb this morning and asked me to kiss it better. I told her that I kiss, but only French-style. She quietly put her hand in her pocket and never said another word about it ...
We arrived in Hel - we walked through town to a crappy little beach. We searched for something better and found a slightly nicer beach on the outskirts of town. The sand was rough with litter scattered about - but I guess you can't expect much of beaches in this part of the world. Right now, Hel seems like a tacky little resort town. Perhaps it's better in peak tourist season?
On the train ride to Gdynia -
bMary-ism #26: "Dirty things taste good." Interpret that how you wish. The sun came out as our train departed from Hel. The shimmering water reminded me of a train ride I took through northern Spain two years ago (I think the town was "A Coruna"😉. I remembered thinking "I have to come back here one day and check it out."
I could make SO many jokes about this billboard ...
I think my iPod can read my mind - it seemingly picks the right songs for my mood or situation. An oldie - Live's "Dance with you" and its lyrics of "sitting on the beach", "deep in this blissful dream", "the karmic ocean dried up, leave no trace". The Tea Party's "Oceans" also played ... both songs very fitting, indeed.
We stopped in Gdynia for a quick lunch and walk. It was approaching 4 PM so we decided against a huge kebab. Instead, I had a bratwurst and Mary went for some other type of wrap. Both ended up being kebab-like, but not as good. We should've just eaten kebabs! They had the largest assortment of veggies I've ever had in a kebab - I can't even remember everything that went into it. An avalanche of ruffage! But
Trust me, this view was much more magical in person. The way the sun illuminated the edges of the clouds, the few rays of sun that poked through the clouds ... cool ...
sadly, they used 1000 Island dressing instead of kebab sauce 😞
Gdynia was pretty boring - it's not worth any time despite being described as being the "real" Poland, and that it was best just to "soak in the atmosphere". We didn't find it atmospheric - or perhaps we just didn't walk to the right places.
Next up was Sopot - straight to the beach via the pedestrian promenade, a cool but short little stretch. There is tons of construction going on - perhaps some of it is in preparation for the 2012 Euro cup.
We ate some waffles on the tranquil beach - it reminded me of Lake Geneva, where the sky and water seemed to blend into one, creating a feeling of infinity. It felt almost like a dream ... but not just any dream - one where everything feels right in the world, and there is a sense of peace that you don't want to wake up from. Mary Moment #55: There was a touristy pirate ship docked at the end of the pier. Mary told me that it was probably Johnny Depp's boat. Ok ....
We got to talking about our travels - of
Mary's leg fell asleep, but my attempts to increase circulation by massaging her leg were met with slaps and cries of "Don't touch me!!!" I was pretty hurt by that ... it was just like our honeymoon night in Parnu all over again :(
course, I made fun of all the embarrassing stuff she has done over the last few weeks. Mary bragged about all the "benefits" that I've been receiving from her during the trip. Hmmm ... despite Mary's many inadvertent allusions to it, to my knowledge I have not received any of these "benefits". Though one night, I did have a little too much wine to drink and I awoke the next morning to find myself without any undies, and Mary asleep, with a big smile on her face ...
It was strange that we had to pay to go onto the pier. It's supposedly the longest wooden pedestrian pier in the world and also supposedly 1.6 km long, but I can't see how that is possible. We took a few pictures on the pier and then went to the Hotel Grand for dinner.
We walked into the restaurant and realized that we were horrendously under dressed so we decided to go elsewhere. We ended up at Blekitny Pudel (Blue Poodle), a restaurant recommended in the Let's Go guidebook. A bad place for dinner with a tiny menu. Restaurants can get away with tiny menus if the food is exquisitely done, but
When I asked Mary how traveling with me has been, she simply pointed at the sign above her head ...
that's definitely not the case here!
At least the restaurant had a cool vibe and it was nice enough to sit outside on the patio. The guidebook described the restaurant as being "as charismatic as the food". Perhaps it was sarcasm? Because neither the place nor the food could be described as being charismatic. Perhaps we would have been better off being out of place in our crappy clothing at the Hotel Grand, after all.
Sopot is considered by some to be the Ibiza/Nice of Eastern Europe - that's stretching it a bit. But the pedestrian street is definitely a nice spot to spend an evening. The people watching was decent, but probably would have been even better during the hot summer months. Mary-ism #24: We discussed how quickly I eat, and how slowly Mary eats. Mary compared it to the famous fable "The Tourist and the Hare". Uh ... I never heard of that one ... perhaps Mary's parents bought her that book at an illegal market, on the streets of Hong Kong.
The night was salvaged somewhat with another shot of Goldwasser. The almond cake was also decent, with a crunchy crust. Mary-ism #25: According to Mary, the cake
Sopot's cool pedestrian street, Monte Cassino.
was "Too small - it didn't fill me up!" Isn't that what they all say?
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