What? You went to Poland in February in the middle of winter? Why yes, I did. Why the hell did you do that? A friend and I tried to coordinate our travel plans and that’s what we came up with. Regrets? None, well except for a few unfortunate incidents at the Hilton G’dansk, but I’ll write about those separately (you know I hate to complain, but sometimes they can’t be avoided).
The first thing to know when you travel to G’dansk in the middle of the winter is that some of the recommended side-trips such as visits to the neighboring city of Gdynia or the coastal resort town of Sopot are off the table. Additionally, I chose not to include a visit to the nearby Stutthof Concentration Camp in my itinerary. I’ve already seen one concentration camp in my life and that’s enough for now.
G’dansk is as pretty as a picture postcard. The old town, which is where the Hilton is located, with the cobblestone paths and red-roofed buildings is charming, and there is a lot to see. We just had to do everything in small doses because it was very cold and it even snowed some of the time. But we had a great time.
We arrived late in the day, and were tired from traveling all night the night before, so we checked into our hotel and walked around the old town a little.
We had dinner at a restaurant, Tawerna Dominikanska, right on the Motlawa River. The fish was very fresh. The meal with a glass of wine came out to $15.
We went on a free walking tour of G’dansk from GuruWalk. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic and a very good storyteller. With glee, he showed us the many famous sites of this fairytale-like Medieval and Renaissance port city.
The astronomical clock plays once daily at noon. According to Wikipedia, the clock was constructed between 1464–1470 by Hans Düringer. The dials show the time and date, phases of the moon, the position of the Moon and Sun in relation to the zodiac signs, and the calendar of saints. Adam and Eve ring the bell on the hour, and at noon a procession appears that features Adam and Eve alongside the Three Kings, the Apostles, and Death. Standing 14 metres (46 ft) high, upon completion the clock was the largest in the world, and it might still be the largest wooden astronomical clock. After suffering damage in World War II, it was reconstructed after 1945.
My friend and I are both very interested in street art and murals. So, later that day, we took an Uber to the nearby town of Zaspa, about 30 minutes from G’dansk (Note: we used Ubers at least three or four times during this trip. They were reliable and inexpensive). In Zaspa, we saw many large communist-era residential buildings. The buildings, which were otherwise pretty drab were made interesting by the large murals painted on their walls. I’m told most of them were painted between the late 1990’s and 2010.
Afterwards, a little lost and cold, we walked into a small local bar, Pub Fala, and had a drink. There were a few people in there watching a football game on the TV.
That evening, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant along the port in Old Town G’dansk called Lao Thai. We liked it so much we had dinner there the following night as well.
After walking around G’dansk in the morning, the weather was getting more treacherous, so this was a perfect day to visit a museum. We had heard that the Museum of the Second World War was good, so we went there.Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash
The entire museum, and each exhibit within, is well curated and excellently presented. I learned so much about the history of Polish people and their relationship to other countries and the various wars they were in. There was a lot of information to take in and some of it was difficult or painful – but, wow, what a museum! This was probably the best historical museum that I’ve ever been to and I highly recommend going there.
Day three was our last day in Old Town G’dansk. Our flight home was at 6 am the following morning, so we were checking out of the Hilton and moving to an airport hotel. I woke up and looked out my hotel window to a very pretty, but very snowy G’dansk.
We walked through the town one last time. We stopped in at a restaurant for a glass of wine and an obligatory serving of Pierogi. I mean, how could you go to Poland and not have pierogi, right? They were delicious.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.