Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Gdansk (formerly Danzig)
After a depressing day at the Wolfschanze we wanted something touristy. So we took the old, tree-lined roads towards Gdansk. Danzig is an old Hansa town, and the former German Capital of Pommern, a former German State. Gdansk was in the forefront of the Solidarity movement in the early 1990’s and the beginning of the end of the Soviet System. Gdansk was also where WW2 began, when Germany invaded Poland to reclaim what was taken away after WW1. As you can tell a lot of history happened here. We arrived late in the afternoon and we found a dorm room at a hostel but passed up on it after we learned we had to sleep with 5 strangers. Another hostel was on a boat, docked in the harbor but there was no place for our bikes to be securely parked. So, what to do? We had to bite the bullet and spend a lot of money on a 4 star hotel. Great place, great breakfast, good parking, fantastic location near the old town but we pay for it all. Gdansk is the Amber Capital of Poland. Yes, you can buy all the amber you want in every price you can afford. The prettiest street has nothing but amber for sale. There is one shop next to the other. What is the best kind, who sells the best, the cheapest? It is a hard task for novices like us. We did manage to secure our allotment of this commodity, and I am sure we bought some great gifts for our loved ones. The city itself is amazingly restored in the original architecture after being destroyed by British and Russian bombs during WW2. It has a wonderful character and a good mix of old and new. We live in the old town right now and are typical tourists. We are having coffee, beer and delicious Polish food. Gdansk is a worthwhile place to visit, the history is amazing.