This past weekend was Boże Ciało (Corpus Christi), so naturally we had a four day weekend. Thank you Catholicism. My two roommates, Paige and Manda, and I decided to take the long train up north to the Baltic city of Gdańsk. While there we hit the trifecta of Polish beach towns by also visiting Gdynia and Sopot.
The first time I came to Gdańsk was in 2008, however, the weather was cool and rainy the entire time. Not exactly ideal for a coastal city. But this time around, I had nothing but sunshine and warmth. There isn't much to do and see in Gdańsk. There are several beautiful churches, an interesting Archaeology Museum and its nice to take a walk along the water. While Gdańsk may not be as aesthetically intriguing as Kraków, it is the center of a great political movement. The Solidarity Movement, which influenced the collapse of Communism. I could easily take up an entire blog entry about this movement, but one key person I highly recommend researching is Anna Walentynowicz. My friends and I walked to the Solidarity Monument, but unfortunately the museum was closed. However, it was interesting to physically stand where an important part of Polish history took place.
Oh, hey sunshine, I've missed you! Sopot is known for its beach, pier and numerous stands of amber. I love amber. I love it more than diamonds. I would have bought every piece of jewelry I saw if I could, but unfortunately I had to be selective. Laying in the sun for the afternoon was exactly what my friends and I needed after a long, harsh winter and a pretty rainy spring. I made it to the Sopot the first time around in Poland, but again the experience is quite different when the weather is warm and the sun is shining.
I am a genius. Or at least according the owner of a restaurant we stumbled upon. We arrived in the late morning, hungry, looking for a cute place to grab some food and coffee. Finally, we made it to a small little restaurant that serves mostly Naleśniki (Crepes). I'd like to say our Polish has improved, but it quite obvious that we are not native speakers. So during our meal, the young owner asked if we would mind helping him translate his menu from Polish to English. Apparently, this restaurant just opened this week. While sitting there, he was trying to figure out how to describe and translate Pierogi Ruskie (Russian Pierogis) which simply consist of potatoes and cheese. I simply said, "just write potato and cheese." His response, "Lovely! Yes! Perfect!" Clearly, I've found my calling. Anyway, this whole experience was adorable, and I certainly didn't mind the free coffee. We finally put to use our knowledge of Polish food and English!
While in Gdynia we went to the beach, a little too crowded for our liking, and the aquarium. It was not super impressive, but I still had a fun time staring at ridiculous fish and a huge green anaconda snake.
Overall, a great weekend spent up north. Today also marks the two week point until I return home. I cannot believe this year is almost over. I am ready to come home, but I'm not ready to leave Krakow. It will be bittersweet, but I am going to enjoy the next two weeks as much as I possibly can!