Poland 2019 — Day 05

Wow, another fantastic day. After out late night yesterday, made later still by my blogging after midnight, we slept in just a little this morning, though Tommy did go out for a walk while I caught up on my “beauty rest.”

Once up and moving, we went down for breakfast. We were amazed, it was very, very good. Tommy said it was the best yet.

I should tell you a bit about breakfast in Poland. Variety. Yes, variety. While there may be some eggs, bacon, sausage, and bread, you are also likely to find cold cuts, cheeses, salads, pickles, olives, various fresh fruit, often fresh cheese, and so much more. There may be dry cereal, even warm cereal/porridge. Quite a vareity. Breakfasts in Poland are generally fantastic, and you can be as healthy as you want—or not. And there is also juice, tea, and coffee. It is or can be a very hearty meal.

After breakfast and getting cleaned up, we headed down to the Motława River and on to the town square, just a bit, but then back to our hotel—Wojtek, Alicja, and Filip were due to pick us up at 11, and they were very prompt. We gave them a tour of our hotel and room. And then, we were off.

Our first start was the famous Sopot Pier, beach, and Monte Cassino Street, in Sopot. At over 500 meters, the Sopot pier is the longest wooden pier in Europe. It’s quite an experience itself.

Then we went down to the water—Tommy wanted to wade in the Baltic Sea, and he did. Wojtek and Filip, too. While at the pier/beach we saw the historic grand hotel. Notable guests in the past have been both Hitler and Nixon, to name a few. Next it was on to Monte Casino Street, lined with restaurants, shops, and stuff. We passed by a church on a hill and there was a ceremony there remembering the start of World War II, 80 years ago today (and that’s a story for another day).

Eventually we headed out for our next stop, the Cathedral at Oliwa. Lots of history there, but it’s home to a massive organ as well. The current church was built in the late 1500s, but the organ dates to the 1700s and currently has something like 5100 pipes. The church was originally part of a Cistercian Monastery and has 23 mainly Baroque and Rococo altars. It is quite something to see.

There is a nice park around the church. And we had a nice Polish lunch there—I had pierogi with meat, and Tommy had potato pancakes—both were very good. Eventually it was time to go. We had some very long and tearful goodbyes at our hotel, and then my cousins were off. It was hard to say goodbye, but we promised to visit again next year.

Tommy and I were tired and rested a while, but eventually headed back to the square. We were still thirsty from the hot day and ordered water along with a few drinks. After more walking and some shopping (I got a “Solidarność” t-shirt), we had a light dinner which was an excellent tomato soup, and a pepperoni pizza that we shared. It was also very good. Finally we started Back to the hotel, but not before we stopped for a nightcap. Żubrówka for me is the perfect way to end the night.

I’ve been to Gdańsk before, twice. The first time I was part of a tour group, so we saw stuff but it was pretty well orchestrated for us. The second time I flew into and out of Gdańsk, but was only in the city a short time. But thanks to the family wedding we attended two nights ago, I’ve now had three wonderful nights in Gdańsk and have fallen in love. It is a marvelous, beautiful, rich, vibrant city. Builders in Gdańsk have figured out how to make new, modern construction fit in with 500-600+ year-old buildings. It’s absolutely astounding. I love it here and expect to be back again next year. And best of all, I have precious family in the area. What a place!

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