Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Saturday 28 January - Day two in Gdansk
Current location: Gdansk, Poland
11.11pm, Eating the best meal. Seriously, this would be a very strong contender for my death-row meal (if I ever had to decide that), perhaps only overshadowed by the Hawksmoor dinner of dreams. Andy and I had had a non-stop, freezing cold, exciting, beautiful day and were warming up in a posho restaurant with cheese fondue! It's a dish I haven't had for years but we saw it on a menu as we were passing earlier in the day, and couldn't stop thinking about it.
We woke up pretty early today and headed downstairs for a huge breakfast and lots of coffee, before going out for a stroll around the city. It was cold. Wandering through the Old Town led us to a beautiful frozen river that runs through the centre, so we did some star jumps, threw some rocks onto the ice and then got too cold. Seriously, I don't think I'd ever been so cold. Every part of skin that was showing, such as cheeks or nose, immediately started hurting. So we returned to the hotel for some more clothes (and three pairs of socks) and began our adventuring again.
This time we got as far as a micro brewery that brewed some delicious pale ales and made some pretty weird food (home-made lard, anyone?). It was across the river so we got on a boat that cracked loudly through the ice to carry us across (a mere 25p for the journey!). This city is so stunning, every thing we saw and did seemed to take my breath away!
Next we ventured to the town of Sopot, about 20 minutes away on a train. As Gdansk isn't particularly touristy, we found it kind of funny when people didn't speak English and we didn't speak Polish, which almost resulted in Andy paying £15 for a cake, and me accusing a man of being a spy.
Sopot was breath-taking, as it's coastal and the beach runs the whole way alongside the town. At this time of year, the sand is covered in snow; it's the first time I've ever seen snow on a beach and I loved it! The pier at Sopot is pretty spectacular too – lots of birds, snow and a long walk. I love it here!
However, it was definitely freezing, so we had to find a pub to warm up again (we had to). One speciality of Gdansk is Tyskie grzeje zimą – mulled beer. The beer is served hot with cloves and ginger added and is the best thing to warm you up from head to toe. The pub was the oldest in Poland, apparently, and was like something out of Harry Potter... lots of red velvet, random knickknacks and a cat curling around our feet.
We moved on to a sports bar next, where we were the only two customers in a sea of 'reserved' tables (not sure who for as we were the only people there for two-and-a-half hours). It was quite a lot like someone had just opened their house, put the TV on to show a football match, and bought a bottle of vodka. The drinks were cheap (£2 for a triple vodka, and you couldn't buy smaller measures!), the heating was on and we were happy to stay – until we got hungry and headed back to Gdansk for the all-important cheese fondue.
I'd wanted to go to Gdansk for about five years. After all this time, it was nothing like I'd imagined – instead it was much more colourful, colder, cheaper, less touristy, sunnier, more beautiful and even more amazing than I was hoping for. The sun shone the whole time and I couldn't have loved it more.
Posted by Lucy at 8:39 AM