On our first weekend in Poland, Konrad and Lucia took us to Utska, a small fishing town on the Baltic Sea, about 20k from Slupsk. It was here that the 2011 European Summer Camp was held, and we were able to visit the infamous Gelati bar we had heard so much about, truly scrumptious.
The day was very windy and grey, not to mention cold, so we escaped to a quaint bistro (which happened to be where Dagmara and Raff had their wedding reception) and it was here I was introduced to herrings, and Tony to mixed salata a dish with raw carrot, red cabbage salad and traditional cabbage salad, which funnily enough, he asks for every time we have a meal out!!
According to Konrad, the town is renowned as having the best priced Amber in Poland. We were hopeful we could go back, to check it out more fully, however……
The following Saturday we, with Konrad and Lucia, travelled by train to Gdansk, 2 1/2 hours away on the Baltic Sea. We met Irek and Magda there and spent the day wandering through the old town and harbour area. It is very picturesque, and one of the first places in which we heard about the re-building of whole towns. The Germans were so thorough in their determination to have Poland undermined and destabilized; they completely destroyed the port and its surrounding area. The port was in a strategic position for the German invasion…and a possible point of attack for the allies, so they destroyed the existing infrastructure to establish their dominance. At the end of the German Occupation the people of towns all throughout Poland began to rebuild, using the remnants of the rubble of the war. Sourcing old photos, civic records and paintings, towns were returned to their original condition, as best they could be. In Gdansk, the port area has been modernised at the same time, hotels like the Hilton ensconced in an “original” warehouse; the Polish Philharmonic housed in a modern amphitheatre overreaching the water; wider paved walkways mingle with the narrow cobblestone lanes…a pretty place we plan to re-visit J
|Gdansk in main stree|
|Port area of Gdansk|
Irek and Magda drove Tony, Lucia and myself back that Saturday night to Slupsk, and on the way took a couple of detours to places of interest including Sopot. Tony wanted to go back and visit for his birthday, which we duly did. Sopot is a resort town on the Baltic Sea. Many affluent Warszawa’s own permanent holiday homes here, and there is a renovation of the inner plaza area incorporating new shops and malls, busily happening. This has been funded by EU capital, part of a program to get Poland up and running.
We loved it here…it’s very pretty, it boasts the longest remaining wooden pier in Europe; a beautiful reserve and parkland which runs adjacent to the foreshore; a rollerblading circuit within the park and a few areas with play equipment for children; plenty of wooden benches, place around to just sit and appreciate; little eateries; plenty of bird-life, so well fed and plump; and loads of walkers with their dogs, including Labradors, just the thing for us. We actually spotted this young girl with a black Labrador pup way ahead of us, one afternoon. We both increased our stride and pace and it wasn’t long before we caught up to them, and from there it was only a matter of asking and this cute 6 week old was jumping all over us, giving us lots of kisses :)
|A fisherman in the Baltic Sea....|
I kid you not!!!!!
|View of our hotel from the pier|
The staff here loved us, particularly Tony…chatty, smiley, willing to answer questions about Australia and talk about Poland. They surprised him at breakfast with this unbelievable scrummy cake…chocolate. The waitress pushed it out on a trolley, the cake alit with this Roman Candle sparkler fizzing away. They were stoked at Tony’s reaction, who was obviously very surprised. He managed to eat the slice they cut him, mine which I had “saved” and two more before we had to leave…the things you have to do to show appreciation.