“Do you have a girlfriend there?” and “What is her name?”. Those questions would be on top of the list if I set up a FAQ about my trips to Gdansk. No surprise, because I visited Gdansk 5 times in only 2.5 years. Actually, I should have been there for the 6th time at the time of writing, if it wasn’t the flu that kept me on my own couch. I visited Gdansk more than any other foreign city and here is why.
Over the time I made some good friends that are willing to meet me any time. Usually I don’t have enough time to catch up with all of them, but they all make me wanna come back. So even before I leave, I start looking for cheap flights to return. The access from Holland is great. The flights fit my schedule very well and are good value for money. I never spend more than 50 euro on a return trip. My best deal yet was a 10 euro return trip. Only 99 cents for the actual flight and 4 euro administration fee each way! No way to stay home with such offers
3 for 1
Visiting Gdansk is not just a regular city trip. When visiting Gdansk you get 2 more cities as a bonus and they complete each other. I usually end up spending time in each of those cities.
Gdansk had a major role in the modern European history. The Battle of Westerplatte was basically the start of the second world war. For those interested there’s a monument and some bunkers that can be visited. It’s also the Gdansk shipyard where the strikes marked the start of a growing protest against communism. The events had a big influence in whole communism Central and Eastern Europe. Nowadays there’s some exhibitions worth visiting in the shipyard.
But everyone that knows me will tell you I’m usually not a museum visitor. So when I finish my portion of serious stuff, I love to stroll around the old town. The old town is typical polish. The cozy streets offer an unique architecture.
When you think of Poland, the beach is probably not the first thing you think of. Gdansk and Sopot share a nice sand beach and boulevard. During peak season there’s many beach bars and the rest of the year it’s great for a walk. If you’re lucky you will find a frozen Baltic Sea in winter. I walked many times from my friend’s place in Gdansk to Sopot in only 45 minutes for some beers or a coffee. Sopot is rather small, but has a nice touristic main street and is famous for its nightlife.
The first time I visited Gdansk, my host and I decided to walk to Sopot for a drink. It was a rainy evening and the streets were quiet. We crossed a small park when we had just left the appartment when we suddenly stumbled upon a group of wild boars. They were slowly crossing the footpath into the bushes and didn’t bother about us. I was even more surprised when I saw a wild fox in Gdynia. Twice. The first time I spotted the fox on the beach when we were out for dinner. The second time he was even more brave when we found him walking around the railway station. I had never seen a wild fox before, and definitely didn’t expect to see one in the city. I tried to take some pictures, but the fox wasn’t eager to coorporate and pose for my camera, but fled into the bushes instead.
Gdansk has a few nice places to go out for a drink, but is generally overlooked by locals. As I prefer a good pub over nightclubs, I prefer to go to Gdynia’s seafront pubs for a night out. Regardless of which day I go, there’s a good amount of people and you may end up sharing a table with some other costumers. My favourite drink is the caramel flavoured beer that they serve on request. For only a few cents extra they top up the beer with a caramel syrup. The sweeter version of the beer is just really addictive. I asked it in several other cities if they could serve this recipe, but I got some weird looks when I asked and each of them declined my request. Another good reason to visit the 3city again!
After a few beers I get hungry. All over Europe you can get a kebab sandwich at any time. But in Poland having a Zapiekanka is always on my list. A zapiekanka is a cut open baguette, topped with vegetables and some sauce. I tried many all over Poland, but the one I had near the tourist information centre in Gdynia is by far the best. It’s fresh made, costumized, crunchy and they use much more ingredients than any other shop I tried. I even feel healthy when I eat this fast food.
So what’s left?
Somewhere between the old town and Sopot lies the Zaspa district . Each time I pass by tram I see plenty residential buildings decorated with beautiful art. It’s an area I certainly want to explore better. Close to the 3city is the Hel peninsula. It offers some fisherman’s villages and I was told it’s a pretty place to visit. I planned on going there, but didn’t make it yet. And to get back to the FAQ, I’m afraid you’ll have to come back to my website to find out if I will ever find a girlfriend in the 3city.