Trip Pulse: We loved Tricity by the Baltic Sea

The travel gods are back with us.

It was a sign! We met one of Poland’s most intriguing travel personalities on the streets of Gdańsk: Wojciech Cejrowski who traveled much of the world barefoot … . We bought his book with his autograph and inscription … Now it’s our turn … But not necessarily barefoot:-)

Martin is happy after meeting Wojtek Cejrowski, the travel guru

We also met the members of a great busking band from Katowice, Cocotier who play a fusion of flamenco, jazz and folk. They performed this weekend during the Dominican Fair (Jarmarki Dominikanskie) an annual street festival in Gdańsk that’s been taking place there since 1260!

We loved the city of Gdańsk or Danzig, depending which part of its thousand-year history you decide to look at. Completely rebuilt after its Soviet ‘liberation’ after the war, the city today explodes with vitality, nightlife, restaurants and the most amazing scenery.

Here are some interesting facts about Tricity:

  • Gdańsk was an independent state before WWII
  • Hitler used the independent status and the internal conflicts of Gdańsk’s citizens as one excuse to invade Poland. He attacked the Polish troops 1 September 1939 off the Gdańsk coast, beginning WWII
  • Gdańsk is the birthplace of Solidarność and their leader Lech Wałesa at the Gdańsk Shipyards. The Solidarność movement had a big impact on the fall of communism in Central Europe.
  • Sopot is not only one of the most beautiful Baltic resort towns that hosted such personalities as John II Casimir and Emperor Wilhelm II, but is also home to the strangest building in the world called the Crooked House (Krzywy Domek)
  • We walked to Gdynia by the beach from Sopot and we really enjoyed the rustic untouristy beaches surrounded by a protected park…Gdynia is the most modern out of the three cities as it evolved from a small fishing village into one of the most influential sea ports on the Baltyk
  • P.S. My parents (Martin’s) lived in Gdańsk in the 70’s and it’s possible I was conceived there:)

    P.P.S. Avoid travel on trains (PKP) during long weekends! It was an unwelcome adventure.

    Have you been to Gdansk or the Tricity area in Poland? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Here are our pictures from our visit to Gdansk:

    Trip Pulse: Broken bones and the Baltic sea

    It was June 15, 4 days before our next departure to the Canary Islands, a nice evening without Niko in Leszno’s waterpark complex. We had some time to ourselves to enjoy the pool, water massage and a ride down the water slide.
    The result? Natasza’s broken collarbone. Many doctor visits later, one surgery and a few painful and emotional weeks, we are ready to move on…

    It’s August now and the plans are forming with renewed hope. We have learned a lot during the last 8 weeks:

  • We know we are not invincible and need to take every possible precaution to make sure our trip continues safely
  • We need to be supportive when times get tough and arm ourselves with patience and love
  • We have learned to respect each other’s roles more
  • We are very appreciative of the support we have received from our friends and family (Thanks Kate, Igor and Nika for a wonderful visit in Leszno)

  • Natasza is feeling better now and is ready to tackle the world again (she is going to the hospital tomorrow, to have the metal rods removed, finally)

    As part of her recovery, we took a much-needed break to fill up on vitamin D, Iodine and whatever else the Polish sea has to offer. Kołobrzeg is a small touristy town right by the Baltic sea.

    We rented an apartment close to the park and the beach. We struck gold with the weather as it is usually very unpedictable.

    We have heard many Polish folks say; “Having sunny days at he Baltic sea is like winning the lottery … “

    Guess we did …

    We really liked the beach, however being unaccustomed to the cold water, Niko was the only one brave enough to take a dip in the sea (average water temperature during summer is between 16-19 degrees Celsius). We did however enjoy fresh fried fish, smoked salmon chased by delicious cold Polish beer. We also enjoyed our daily stroll by the very green promenade parallel to the coast.

    Niko’s favorites were soft ice cream and fries, not necessarily in this order:) Niko and Martin also loved the military museum with real decommissioned aircrafts and weapons.

    It was a nice short break.

    Are you planning a trip to the Polish sea? It may not be warm but it is beautiful. What are our thoughts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Here are our pictures from the trip to Kolobrzeg:

    Final Thoughts on … Italy

    Tempo al tempo.
    – All in good time.

    1. What we enjoyed the most or the least:

    We enjoyed:

  • Picturesque landscapes, rolling hills of Tuscany, beautiful Amalfi beaches with crystal clear waters, architecture, art and history
  • Greatly developed infrastructure including highways, bridges and tunnels set in mountains
  • We loved Italian cheeses and the mocca pot
  • Red vino from the Montepulciano region
  • …and delicious Gelato
  • We didn’t enjoy:

  • Naples which proved to be very dirty, sketchy and frightening … we left right after arriving
  • Too much white flour for our taste, no more pizza or pasta for us for a long time:)
  • Crazy drivers everywhere
  • 2. Activities our toddler Niko enjoyed the most:

  • Niko loved playing in fountains (especially those with fish), beaches and boats, visiting churches (looking for baby Jesus:)), running around with Kuba in Tuscany and eating gelato
  • 3. Our average expenses: Italy is expensive

  • Accommodations: 90 euro/day ($125) per night for one bedroom apartment
  • Restaurants:30 – 50 euro/visit for 3 of us
  • Food, transportation (car rental) and entertainment:60 euro/day ($85)
  • 4. Our first impressions of the locals, their culture and customs:

  • Italians are very expressive and very proud of their heritage. They struck us as courteous but not too effusive.
  • They are very religious and don’t like discussing religion and politics but love their La Passeggiata, the ultra social neighbour-friendly stroll every evening.
  • Only the Madonna can save Italy’s insane drivers:)
  • 5. Our favourite places and activities:

  • Every region we’ve visited had its special atmosphere, uniqueness and feel. We loved Tuscany, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and San Marino (not Italy but you know what we mean). We haven’t seen everything Italy offers, but we are sure that it’s worth seeing! Check out all of our posts about Italy, here.
  • Here are all of our pictures from Italy and San Marino:

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