Scenes from Gdansk Poland

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There are many choices for cruises sailing in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. We chose the Viking Ocean Cruises “Viking Homelands” for our vacation because it included several stops in Norway, visited eight countries and spent a day in Gdansk, Poland. Theresa is Polish on her mother’s side, so Poland was a must do.

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Even the manhole covers are interesting.

Gdansk was one of the most prosperous cities in the Baltic during the Middle Ages and the Old Town has been beautifully restored since the end of World War II.

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We saw many accordions.

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Children enjoying the costumed characters in the Long Market. 

As luck would have it, we visited Gdansk on the first weekend of their three-week St. Dominic Fair, held annually since 1270. The city was packed full of families and tourists spending the day in the street market and listening to music as it filled the old town city streets. We even found several streets with flea market items.

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Marking the spot of the first engagement of WWII.

Our ship, the Viking Sea, docked at the Westerplatte Quay. It was here that the first invasion of WWII occurred, when Germany attacked the Polish Military Depot.

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The Motlawa River that connects the town with the Baltic Sea.

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The Green Gate is not green.

The old city of Gdansk sits on the Motlawa River and restaurants and shops line the riverbank. During the Fair, throngs of people bought bread, pierogies and souvenirs from all the temporary stalls along the city streets. Even though the town was crowded, we enjoyed the fair atmosphere. The Green Gate spans the opening of the Long Market Street. It’s actually a building with arches at the bottom and was built in the 1500s as the formal residence of the Poland’s monarchs. Walking through the arches, you enter the Long Market, a historic public square lined with period architecture.

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Dluga Street.

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Neptune’s Fountain in Long Market

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Lovely architecture on a private home.

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We also visited the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption (Roman Catholic).

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We also visited the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption (Roman Catholic).

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The house, now a hotel, where Nicolaus Copernicus (“sun is the center of the universe”) is said to have visited with his mistress/housekeeper. 

We had the opportunity to visit the shipyards where the strikes led by trade union activist Lech Walesa began the fall of communism in Poland and deconstruction of the Soviet Block.

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Mariacka Street, quiet and cozy. Full of shops and cafes.

Gdansk was nothing like what we expected it to be. We thought it would be reflective of the war that happened at its doorstep, but instead the Polish people have rebuilt and stayed true to the original architectural designs. Neither dull, nor boring, instead it was lively and welcoming. If we have the opportunity, we’ll go back.

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Chmielanie 

Back on the ship, a traditional Polish troupe shared folk music and dances from the area.

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1 Comment

Filed under Trips

One response to “Scenes from Gdansk Poland

  1. maggie hill

    Thank You Phillip … I’ve been able to go on Holiday vicariously thru your photos and commentary … wonderful experience !

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