Our journey felt pretty long from Berlin to Gdansk. 2 hours train then 5 hours. 7 hours in total which felt time forever. Not only, But It was also quite difficult to get up early in the cold morning. But also, our train from Berlin to Poland was technically an all-stop Intercity train that took us till SZCZECIN city in Poland, not far from the German-Polish border. It was an interesting ride. Because the train was more like a long-distance local train. Hence, people were getting on and off all the time. Also, we had all kinds of passengers. Including, few peacefully drunk people. One person seating next to us even was listening to hardcore electro trance music while drinking coffee, Beer and a potentially look like a croissant. Huh!
At SZCZECIN Glowny (Glowny is the main station in Polish)
We changed the train for GDANSK Glowny.
Once we checked in to our apartment which luckily was not far from the station, we checked the kitchen facility and decided to get some coffees, sweets, pasta, noodles, eggs, tomatoes and some beverages.
Our apartment however was in the middle of the city. So, getting around the city was easy. But we found it pretty difficult to sleep because the heater was set to high and we were not able to turn it down. As a result, we had no choice but leaving the window open. And the sound of church bells every hour, people, cars, birds, wind….we could hear everything.
First impression on GDANSK, Poland
When we think about holidays in Europe, it’s easy to say that we think of big and famous cities like Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin etc.
Nobody ever says, ” Let’s go to Gdansk, Poland!! In winter!! Yes!!“
Likewise, our expectations were mostly around polish history and discovering the city. Because it’s not a celebrity city like others that mentioned earlier, there is not much information in interwebs.
To be honest, it is a really beautiful port City of Poland. The streets, houses, design, architecture were amazing. Day or night the city is postcard-like.
Historically the city is known for many things. But 2 are the biggest.
- It was here where the first shots of the World War 2 were fired, on 1 September 1939. The city was completely destroyed and rebuilt after the war.
- Solidarity: in December 1970, at the Shipyard’s Gate no 2 where police and army opened fire on the workers who stood together against the communist regime for their rights. Essentially, this was the beginning of the end of the communist system on the Eastern side that started right here in Gdansk.
On our first day, we took a nice long walk till the Solidarity Square. We walked past the St Mary’s Church and little streets through the town to discover a little bit.
That St Mary’s Church was gigantic. And right next to our apartment. It was reminding us it’s presence every hour. We did go there at the end of our day to learn more about it.
The Solidarity Square is a large intersection near Radunia Canal with three 42 metres tall crosses with anchors surrounded by European Solidarity Centre, Gate No 2. Of then shipyard which decorated with flags and banners. Later we found out that there was a
remain of the Berlin Wall at that location. We, unfortunately, didn’t notice it.
We walked through the Post-Shipyard area and the Historic BHP hall where on 31 August 1980, an agreement was signed between Worked and Communist authorities that led to the foundation of Solidarity Trade Union.
From the area of Solidarity Center, we could observe the number of cranes and tip of big cargo ships at the inner port of GDANSK on Martwa Wisla river. We walked around to discover the area by foot and with our drone.
Then took a nice long slow walk back to our apartment via another direction to discover more of GDANSK city. Simple things such as trees, parks, how the houses look like, the people, shops. Hell, we were even curious to see how they complain when they get angry. There were no angry people around us to learn that, unfortunately. Or fortunately.
It was fairly quiet ambience thanks to Christmas Eve. The old town was full of restaurants, cafes and shops for souvenirs. People are having a nice walk with their families and loved ones.
Finally, we stopped at the St. Mary’s Church where we started our day. We went inside this time. The white ceilings were very very high.
Apparently this church over 150 years to build. Starting from 1343.
We climbed up on top of the roof paying 5 euro tickets.
The stairs were very narrow. First 150 steps were the hardest with a low roof. Too much even for people are claustrophobic, let alone the ones who are. After 150 steps, the stairs got wider and more room to breathe.
Finally, after 400 steps, we got to the roof.
Honestly, the effort was totally worthwhile. The magnificent and formidable view of the city we enjoyed dearly. The city looks beautiful from any of the four sides.
After a quick lunch and break in the afternoon, we decided to do another round of groceries because the shops were closing early for Christmas and got back via the main Town Hall, Fountain of Neptune and Artus Court. Well to be honest though these locations were also next to our apartment. So, saved them for our following day to discover them because we were 110% certain that it would be empty on Christmas day as well. Also, it gets dark by 4 pm so, our apartment felt nice and cosy at the time.
Love this city already!
Most locations of our 2nd day were what we already walked passed yesterday. We just didn’t spend much time. So we started our day walking around the town. Because it’s Christmas day and we were hyped with a hope of an empty town. And we were wrong. We were wrong big time. The town was more full than Christmas Eve. In fact, there were people everywhere. Every restaurant was open and full.
Anyway, More we observe, more we noticed that each house have their own distinct marks and design. And the facades are flat and there was nothing behind them.
Via Christmas market, we stopped at a big dark building which somewhat looks like a Holocaust museum or place of worship.
But it was, in fact, GDANSK SHAKESPEARE Theatre from the 17th century.
Then we went back to the main Town Hall where the Fountain of Neptune was. Again, it was cramming with tourists and locals. But, we did enjoy the day because the environment somehow felt rather peaceful.
In front of the Artus Court, there’s a bronze statue of the King of the Sea (Aquaman?). Built-in 1633, it is one of the GDANSK’s icon. However, the King was accompanied by many pigeons and seagulls all over him.
After we stopped at a quiet area of Motlawa river to get our drone up in the sky.
It was quite a view. A nice peaceful walk on both side on the river where there were the National Maritime Museum and Maritime Culture Center situated.
We even got to see a bridge opening to let one of the ships in. After a short day, we ended our time at beautiful GDANSK. The beautiful port city of Poland.