Entering Gdańsk (do not pronounce the G) is about a five mile run up the very industrial Martwa River. We were lucky to dock in the city center with the ability to leave the boat while we took a week long road trip. We arrived on Aug 1 when all of country celebrates the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. Our dock was directly across from the Zuraw (Crane) dating back to 1367, sadly being rebuilt for the umtinth time.
Gdansk was very heavily destroyed in WWII, it has been tastefully rebuilt with both restoration and contemporary architecture, often on opposite sides of the street or canal. After a few days of strolling the city, its churches, markets and palaces Dan went to pick up our rental car. Poland was the first EU country we encountered that required an international drivers license. After year of getting on at AAA and never using it, Dan did not have one. After a hour of reciting the contract language and talking up the line of supervisors, Dan got the car.
On route to Pozan, we stopped for lunch in Pita and enjoyed a Polish stuffed cabbage that reminded Marcia of her grandmothers preparation. We thought we picked a fine hotel in Poznan, near the main square. The road in front of the hotel was closed for construction and the main square was completely torn up….on to Krakow about 250 miles away thru mostly farmland with a lunch stop in Wroclaw. We also made a stop in Rude that we believed was the Kisielnicki ancestral home. It turned out to be a poor mining region that one would find reason to migrate to America.
Krakow was our favorite Polish city filled with universities and english speakers. One of the highlights of this ride trip was a tour of the Wielicsa Salt Mine, established in 13th century this mine operated until 2007. Unlike most salt deposits that are horizontal as seas evaporated, the deposits here are in huge balls due to techtonics. Over the centuries, as each cavity was mined, statues, cathedrals and the like were carved from the salt….it’s amazing. we passed on Auschwitz but did visit the Schindler Factory.
It was then on to the capital of Warsaw. Along the way, we were within 100 miles of the Ukraine boarder but were amazed that we did not feel the war or the refuges…kind of stunning. Our favorite in Warsaw was the ultra green University Library with its botanical roof. The fortress here was very badly damaged during the war but has undergone a magnificent restoration. We were really surprised in Warsaw how few English speakers we encountered and disappointed in the food.
Click on the photo to see the album of this trip