G’day from Gdansk. 8/28/18

NOTE: John tells me that some of the pictures are reversed or upside down on his laptop. Everything looks fine on my iPad. So sorry if this is happening, I do not know how to fix it.

We drop anchor here in Gdynia at around 6 AM and our tour needs to leave at 6:45 AM. We have only a short time here in this area as the ship leaves again at 1 PM and the port where we are anchored, Gdynia, is an hour bus ride from Gdansk. Why all the leading “Gd”s? “Gd” means the place is marshy much like Marshfield, MA must be a marshy field place. John is quite excited to be in Poland since he is half Polish and half Polish Jewish  and is only second generation in the U.S.

Our guide is a chipper older lady who knows a lot about Gdansk, architecture, and history. She lived through the Soviet times and is so excited about having tourists and especially about the many new shopping malls. (I want to tell her that brick and mortars are dying but do not want to burst her bubble.)

Our walking tour takes us from the Golden Gate to the Green Gate along the Long Market Street.

Golden Gate, 1588. Left to right three crests are Prussian, Polish, and Gdansk

Here is a fact I did not know. The original Prussians ethnically were not Germans. They were Slavic Poles and Lithuanians. There was also a large contingent of French Huguenots.

Here is the original gate to the city which is now an amber museum.

Old city gate

When I say old city gate, I mean reconstructed old gate. Gdansk was bombed to smithereens during WWII.

Photos of Gdansk, 1945

And here is what the picture on the left looks like today –

Reconstructed Gdansk

And here is the modern view of the picture on the right –

Gdansk, 2018

Here is an interesting political development in modern Poland. A right-wing party was voted into power recently and there is a large segment of the population who are very upset about it, including our guide. She says people are slipping away from democracy. In protest these liberal groups have been putting T-shirts on monuments with a constitutional slogan.

Neptune in the protest T-shirt with the town hall behind him

Next we have a demonstration about amber and how to tell whether amber is real or not. Real amber, unlike plastic, floats. Real amber can burn like a candle. Or you can trust a merchant who has the “real amber” certificate in their store (such as this one.) So actually the whole amber thing is a shopping opportunity.

Amber demonstration

Since our shopping opportunity is supposed to last half and hour John and I go out into the square and look at some archival photos of Gdansk. We also take selfies.

Selfie with Gdansk background

Now it is time for pierogi making. Yay! We are all ushered into a restaurant where we don plastic aprons and are given a bunch of dough and filling. After a demonstration we are on our own!

How to make pierogis
John making a pierogi
John is happy with the finished product. It must be in his genes!

Best part, though, is that once our group is finished making a whole lot of pierogis, the chef takes them away, cooks them, and we sit down to a pierogi feast. They are stuffed with a seasoned, minced pork and are really good!!

Finished pierogis

After a little more walking around we go to a place called Goldwasser. There we will taste a mighty spirit that has actual flecks of gold in it. Plus we get some snacks to go with it.

Goldwasser with some traditional Polish snacks

On the way out we have a surprise gift! Each of us gets a small bottle of Goldwasser!

Our present of Goldwasser, you can see the flecks of gold in it!

It is almost noon and time to get back to the ship since we have an early afternoon departure. I spend some time washing out some items and taking a nap. We head down to the port talk about going to Berlin the next day. After listening to the port talk about the 3 hour un-air conditioned train ride in each direction and becoming increasingly concerned about our stamina for such a thing since we both have colds, we decide to pull the plug on going to Berlin and opt for a gentler tour to Rostock tomorrow.

Later we have dinner in Manfredi’s, the Italian restaurant on the ship. Tonight’s dinner is more successful than our last foray there. Here are some of things we had –

I start with a carpaccio
John has pasta fagioli
I have what is supposed to be a spicy pasta but is not
John has porchetta which he says is great (much better than the one we made at home)

Looking forward to our visit to Germany tomorrow!