My love for Poland just keeps on growing. Sometimes there are corners of the world that you instantly click with, relate to and feel at home with. Poland has no idea how much of an important part it is playing in my life right now, I’ve had to relay thoughts around my head whilst walking these beautiful streets that are amongst some of the most difficult I have had to face (or at least they are playing out like that). Thank you once again, Poland for taking great care of me.
This time we were heading out for a mini adventure to the Pomerania region in Poland North. The Tri-City as it is known, Gdansk, Sopot and Gydnia. What brought us here? Much needed ‘break from reality’ and the fact that Gdansk has been described as being ‘the epicentre of this region with a unique feel that sets it apart from any other Polish City’. Two 5 night return Ryan Air tickets for £65, why would you not? Flight time from Leeds Bradford to Gdansk was around 2hrs, so very painless. Welcomed to Gdansk by a very impressive airport we then headed to the bus terminal and waited for our transfer to Dworzec Glowny, Gdansk, the start of ……….. eat drink do, Tricity, Poland.
The airport is located 16km west of the city of Gdansk. We chose a bus transfer for 3.80PLN (around 80p). The 210 bus takes around 40 minutes and operates every 3o minutes on a weekday and every 60 minutes on a weekend and on a public holiday. There is a 24-hour bus operating the same route, N3. Remember to use the bus heading in the direction of Goscinna.
BLUE BUDDY APARTMENTS, Gdansk
The bus terminal at Dworzec Glowny (train station) Gdansk was only a 13minute walk to our apartment so the option of the bus transfer was not only good value but just ‘all round easy’. The only downside being it was a wet evening. All of this was immediately forgotten when we feasted our eyes upon the wonderful location of our chosen accommodation.
Yes, Blue Buddy Apartments we LOVE you. What an amazing space. The garden gnome may well be a ‘symbol of bad taste and homely humour’ but I think you have managed to change that. Be sure to check out Blue Buddy’s additional services, they really do go the ‘extra mile’ to make sure your stay is unforgettable. Dziękuję Ci.
There is colourful magic everywhere in this city. Reconstructed and restored using mainly original materials after World War II as the city largely lay in ruins. I have an undeniable love for Black and White imagery. It’s light turning on the lights in your head when you look at the image, the colour and sparkles come back just the way you remember them. Another reason for you to visit and experience first hand the colourful magic.
These brightly coloured buildings line the cobbled streets leading to the Motława River.
NEPTUNES FOUNTAINE described as the ‘obvious ruler of this coastal city and a worthy place for a God’
The brick architecture and facades of the main street Dlugu Targ gives off an almost Dutch feel.
Poland just wouldn’t be Poland without some street art.
The Motlawa Promenade, situated along the Motlawa river. Standing proud is the Zuraw Crane, described as one of the defining symbols of Gdansk representing what is left of the city’s great trading age. Constructed in the years of 1442-1444 (that alone is impressive) the main purpose of it was to put up ships masts and to transfer cargoes. 80% of the crane was destroyed in 1945 after the war had ended it was rebuilt and donated to the Polish Maritime Museum. It’s from here that you can take the water tram along to Sopot, Gydnia, Hel and Westerplatte where in 1939 World War II began. I’m finding even more reasons to return.
Our first introduction to Gdansk was a bird’s-eye view on the Amber Sky Viewing Wheel. This is a new addition to the city, introduced in June 2016 and in my opinion it is perfectly located.
25PLN (around £5) gets you 4-5 spins (15minutes).
Gdansk city gallery, opened March 2009. Offering three spaces just a short distance from one another.
Gunter Grass became the voice for the generations of Germans who grew up during the reign of Nazism. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1999, born to a German Father and a Mother from the Kashubian (distinct Slavic ethnic group from the region around Gdansk). My love for the use of public space for art grows stronger.
ST MARY’S BASILICA opened its door in 1502, construction on this the largest brick church in Europe and the 4th largest in the world, began in 1379 (wow). With a capacity to hold 25,000 people these statistics alone are enough to impress.
Being of Gothic design The 400+ steps lead you to the top of the tower. Another reason to return, when my health allows. It offered up none of the lavish decoration that I am used to (you are truly spoilt on the Maltese Islands) but still a must see.
EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CENTRE, Gdansk
Gdansk, where it all started. The place where freedom was born.
A unique place to EXPLORE HISTORY and DECIDE ABOUT THE FUTURE. A must do, no visit is complete without a visit.
Solidarnosci Square. The Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1979. 42 people were killed during the coastal cities events. To this day people still bring flowers and flags to the gates of the Solidarity Centre as an expression of their gratitude to Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement.
The soaring three crosses of the monument with powerful anchors are symbols of hope, to commemorate the bloody sacrifices of the victims of the strike but also a symbol of FAITH IN A BETTER TOMORROW.
An impressive building, covered in corten steel, resembling metal that appears to be covered in rust, designed purposefully to look like the ships that used to be built here. The walls are tilted and give the impression they are cracking. Dedicated to the history of Polish freedom and the ‘Solidarity’ movement and the anti-communist opposition in Poland and Europe. Not only does it provide this but is also giving Gdansk a meeting place for those who are close to values of liberty and democracy.
In my opinion the absolute highlight of my trip here to the Tricity. Each of the spaces filled with emotional memorabilia. A truly historical place providing 5 storeys and offering a terrace, winter garde, exhibition room, library, conference rooms. Offices occupied by various NGO’s including the former leader of Solidarnos, Lech Walesa who was the first Polish president elected in a democratic election.
The permanent exhibitions to the history of Solidarnosc are spread over 2 floors. To date, this is one of the most impressive museums I have visited, using emotional memorabilia, archival documents, manuscripts, maps, underground publications, 3D projections, films, imagery, interactive exhibitions, touch screens.
With a feeling of space and a ‘freedom of movement’ quite literally.
Solidarnosc was the first independent trade union, created by the shipyard workers in Gdansk. It’s thanks to their determination and bravery that the communist government in the 1980s agreed to give people more rights and freedoms.
Solidarnosc is described as having a ‘special place in Polish peoples hearts’ I have no doubt that as I found, it then grabs a hold of every visitor’s heart and stays with them.
This all then led on to the round table talks which in turn then led to establishing a democratic Poland.
The Solidarnosc sign made from thousands of red and white post-it cards will leave you with a feeling for the power of Art, your chance to express in a few short words ‘Solidarnosc’
The highlight I am sure of everyone’s trip to Gdansk, it certainly was for me. How many times have I written this? Three hours of history relived and truly felt. Your knowledge of Polish history will of grown and you will of ‘felt’ it and your expectations for museums will of reached an all-time high. Solidarity is not only the name of a trade union it means helping one another strive for a common goal and feeling responsible for the world around us without understanding what this world really means it is not possible to understand history, but all we can hope for is a peaceful fight of human rights today and moving forward, and continue our fights against the shedding of blood in the name of freedom.
Success can only be achieved through compromise.
Solidarity. To look into the eyes of another person and to see the hopes and anxieties of a brother or sister is to discover the meaning of solidarity. John Paul
Time to head out and ‘do’ this is the Tri-City after all.