As part of a Princess Cruises Baltic Cruise, we took a fantastic tour out of the port of Gdynia/Gdansk. Our journey began as we headed through Gdynia and Sopot to the old town of Gdansk which has the unfortunate history of being the physical start of World War II. Hitler decided to wipe the town off the map and the town was bombarded for days by ships in the port. Almost the entire town was leveled. After the war, the area debated between leaving the destroyed town as a memorial to the war, but in the end decided to rebuild. Using plans and remnants of the buildings, the town was completely rebuilt exactly as it was before the war began. So while it looks old, it is really only 50 years young.
As the group gathered at the entrance to the Old Town, we noticed a two-word street sign whose first word was Przystan. Anagram alert as our last name is "Prysant"! The tour guide said that the word means “harbor” (or harbour, I guess). Proceeding through the Green Gate we saw a long street dominated by city hall, a Neptune fountain, and tourists. Avoiding a tour of a sad-looking church, we notified the guide and split off from the group, noting a rendezvous time and place. We wandered the streets a bit, bought a few gifts and keepsakes at one store, and walked to the far side of town (5 or 6 blocks).
Alighting at a café, we sat down to try some authentic Polish kielbesa and pirogie (and beer), but the food took so long to arrive that we just wolfed down a few bites and scurried to the meeting place. After the well deserved termination of a bee on the bus, we traveled for an hour to Malbork Castle, the former home of the Teutonic Knights many, many years ago. We were running late and were scheduled for lunch at 1400 hours, and we were rushed through a tour of the castle, not even broaching the walls of the Upper Castle. Our group was assigned a castle tour guide who spoke in a low voice with a heavy accent, making most of her patter unintelligible. About the only leisurely stop was to look at the Medieval toilet (a hole over the moat far below). Running even later, we stopped for lunch at the Restauracja restaurant at the castle grounds. Sat across from a couple from Utah who were travelling with eight other family members. The soup was good and contained kielbasa. The meat was meat-like. Dessert was a big big big fruit-filled donut. A string trio played during the second half of the meal.
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To move, to breathe, to fly, to float To gain all while you give To roam the roads of lands remote To travel is to LIVE!
- H.C. Andersen
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