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Published: November 5th 2016
I was getting really comfortable being back at home... Familiar four walls, homemade meals, free babysitters... 😉 Well, not really as we haven’t really used their ‘services’ just yet... One thing that I was happy about above anything else was simply seeing Millie interact with my family! She was very happy being back at home (our Australian home that is) with just the two of us, but here surrounded by more smiley faces, she was simply ecstatic! In general the days in Elblag were very hectic... Late, long and very generous breakfasts with the family, playtime with Millie, some shopping once in a while, a walk to the Old Town every now and then, followed by some more meals throughout the day – afternoon cakes, lunches and even more generous dinners and usually we would call a day with a few drinks in the evening, including sampling of my dad’s concoctions – home brewed spirits in all sort of flavours: lilac, cherry, walnut and more... yes! Tough times... 😉 Despite that crazy schedule we still managed to do a bit of sightseeing around Elblag and make a few trips to the surrounding towns as well.
We obviously were pretty much
regulars in the Old Town so no surprise that we came across a few events once there... Just as we came back from Warsaw, an anniversary of Warsaw Uprising was coming up and all around Poland they had some kind of festivities commemorating the event and so they did in Elblag as well. Here they tried to create the scene from the 40ties and re-enact the atmosphere of the Uprising – before, during and after. Even though the whole idea was pretty good, the execution wasn’t that great unfortunately. The guy leading the spectacle was trying to be funny when he was clearly not and was dragging the whole show for way too long adding some weird comments in between – not sure when and why he started talking about Shrek, I for one don’t see any connection between Shrek and Warsaw Uprising whatsoever... I lost interest somewhere along the way, just as many other people did... Still for a moment Elblag’s Old Town turned into 1940ties town again with people dressed in the typical clothing from that time and if only for that reason it was interesting to see.
Many times we made it to the Old Town
simply to have a beer and a little snack, mostly in Specjal Pub of course, but also to satisfy our new addiction – to have an ice cream! And it wasn’t any ice-cream, it was from one ice-cram stand only (what can I say? they were serving some seriously generous portions there) and one flavour only as well – salted caramel! Absolutely delicious... Ok, we were actually going even further and taking two scoops each at the time and were choosing some other flavours as well, but salted caramel was always a must! To be honest a part of me was hoping the summer would finish quickly as my waist was in danger!
As mentioned before, apart from hanging around Elblag, we did a few side trips as well, starting with Elblag’s main attraction: a cruise along the Elblag canal to Buczyniec through a series of ramps. Summer in July was a bit all over the place with humid, stormy days in between but we were very lucky with the weather as managed to book the cruise on a nice sunny day. When we got on the boat it looked like all the other passengers decided to sit on
the top deck, well more space for us in the cabin then! We got one of the tables all to ourselves and were ready to enjoy the cruise. Millie started making friends almost as soon as we sat down at the table, waving to the people around us. Later on she took more interest in the surroundings, standing by the window and pointing at the birds we were passing by. It was a very nice and peaceful journey. After a while we came upon the first attraction – Lake Drużno which is a very important site for birds migrating along the Baltic coastline, apparently you can see up to 150 bird species here during the summer, even the eagles. I actually had a chance to see one in its full glory, flying quite close to the boat, sadly Grant missed it... Oops! We cruised on the river through the countryside until we came to the main attraction – the first slipway! Soon after our boat slid into the rail tracks and was slowly lifted off the ground to be pulled up the hill. That’s right! This is actually the reason why people take this cruise – to experience sailing on
the grass! One of the boat captains was supervising the process standing on the platform by the boat and was also offering his paparazzi skills to the passengers, taking the shots with their cameras as we were slowly making our way up the hill. We of course went up on the deck to witness the ‘miracle’ as well. One ramp done – 4 more to go! As we went back downstairs I noticed the cover to my lens was missing off the table... I looked all around and it was nowhere to be found, not great... Soon after some guy actually found the cover... in the trash! He was throwing out a coffee cup and noticed the cover lying in the bin... It looked like the crew cleaned the tables when everybody was on the top deck and basically got rid of everything that was lying around... Hmmm... At least I didn’t lose it – otherwise there might have been one very grumpy passenger on board. 😉 Besides that we had a very relaxing time on the boat. My parents were waiting for us in Buczyniec as our day would continue with a trip to a nearby Ostróda – normally
when you book the cruise, you have the option to take the bus back to Elblag. Ostróda is a small town set by the lake in the Masurian Lake District with quite a few different style churches around as well as the Castle of the Teutonic Order. Apparently even Napoleon Bonaparte stayed in the castle in the spring of 1807. And guess what, the castle was standing there for centuries only to be burnt down by the Red Army in 1945... One word – savages... or was it saviours? I’m obviously confused... Anyway... We enjoyed walking around Ostróda, definitely worth coming here if only to see the castle.
We took a boat once again, and once again through the Elblag canal, but totally opposite way this time – to Krynica Morska on the Vistula Spit (which is a stretch of land separating Vistula Lagoon from the Gdansk Bay in the Baltic Sea). I used to go there quite regularly, especially during my teenage days, not by boat though... I actually spent there a whole summer once, camping by the beach and partying every day – loooong time ago... The boat option was actually quite a novelty to me –
I think there might have been boats to Krynica Morska years back but I guess they didn’t do very well as they suddenly disappeared... Now, one of the hotels in the Old Town decided to create additional attraction for their guests, bought a boat and started running cruises to Krynica... And we were lucky to catch the last one of the season – in late September... Since it was the last boat of the season we got a bit of a special treatment, as we even had Vikings on board! A few people dressed up in Viking clothes, telling Viking stories and stories of Elblag and surrounding towns... Also in the cabin they had all sorts of board games to entertain the kids and adults as well! Not too bad at all... Once again, we had a relaxing and a peaceful trip. It’s been quite a few years since I was in Krynica last time and I have to say that it really didn’t change that much at all... To be honest I can’t remember being here during late summer but I was really stunned to see the place so... dead! Only a few restaurants on the main street open,
but apart from that everything shut! Very short season then! Ah well... Better that than crowds... We walked around for a while and even came across a group of young wild boars... next to one of the main streets! I was looking around whether their angry mum wouldn’t charge at suddenly from somewhere... little piglets looked quite comfortable though, so I guess it wasn’t their first time in that neighbourhood on their own. After that we went to the lighthouse but since no babies were allowed on top, only Grant went up to check the views. Then we just strolled for a moment on the beach and satisfied with our day, went back home. Let’s hope they will keep the boat trips going for the following years as it really was a pleasant day trip from Elblag.
Another time we planned a trip to Malbork – the main reason for the visit being the Castle of the Teutonic Order of course. I actually already took Grant to see this grand castle on his first trip to Poland, but it was nice to get back there and see how much has changed since our last visit. When we were there
in 2013 the Cathedral was basically a one, big scaffolding, now it was fully renovated. Even the statue of Virgin Mary was back! Apparently the original 8metre long figure built in 1340s was completely destroyed during War World II and only now in 2016 it was finally reconstructed. Also they seemed to have built a totally new visitor’s centre in front of the castle as well which made the whole castle experience way more organised than before for sure. One downfall – no free car parks anymore, but I guess that’s a small price to pay... We walked around the castle, had a bite to eat and decided to take a short boat trip again... as if we didn’t have enough boat trips already... This time it was all about getting closer to the castle and admiring it from the water. Well worth it if only to make a few decent photos. Actually it looked like we could’ve planned our visit to Malbork much better... Unfortunately we missed the re-enactment of the 1410 siege of Marienburg (Prussian name of Malbork) which takes place every year in the summer, during the third weekend of July! It’s a three day event with
all sorts of attractions for everyone – bow and crossbow tournaments, market where you can check out some Medieval equipment, concerts and more... not to mention that many people walk around dressed up in armour and other typical clothes of that period... Of course the main event is the actual siege. I was really disappointed as we simply should’ve looked into it better and planned our next trip around it... instead we went to Warsaw that weekend... ah well... We did have a good time in Warsaw though so not a big loss I guess...
We really enjoyed our time in and around Elblag but were also looking forward to exploring places a bit more distant... It was time to head further south. Next stop: Kraków!
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