Thursday, June 18, 2015

MSC Orchestra: Gdańsk, Poland

Our second stop on our anniversary cruise was to Gdynia, Poland. To us this stop was the most pathetic, (no offense to anyone who lives or loves it.) The only reason I can assume MSC actually ports there is because it's cheap. At the port, there is nothing beside rude cab drivers that don't want to take couples anywhere. We were told by MULTIPLE cab drivers that they would only take us somewhere if we found other people to go with. Isn't that their job? This part of the trip was stressful. If a cab driver actually pays attention to you all they want to do is take you to Gdańsk, which is an hour away! After our annoyance with the cab drivers we followed a crowd of people which took us to where a HOHO Bus was. We had the choice to either take the bus to HOHO Gdynia or take it further into Gdańsk.
I briefly looked over my Rick Steves book and I remember that their was nothing to do in  Gdynia so when the bus offered to take us to Gdansk we jumped at the chance. We got to see Gdynia on our way back to the ship and wished we would've hung out in town. I'm jumping a head of myself.
We boarded the bus with a bunch of other people and headed down to the Old town of Gdańsk. Gdańsk is the historical capital of Gdańsk Pomerania and the largest city of Kashubia. The city was close to the former late medieval boundary between West Slavic and Germanic seized lands and it has a complex political history with periods of Polish rule, periods of German rule, and extensive self-rule, with two spells as a free city. Between the World Wars, the Free City of Danzig was in a customs union with Poland and was located between German East Prussia and the "Polish corridor" to the sea where the harbor of Gdynia grew up. Gdańsk has been part of modern Poland since 1945.
The tour bus dropped us off at the side of the road in Gdańsk, the drivers said that that part of the town was in that direction, he then pointed in the direction of town and said that he would be back at 6:00pm to pick us up.

So we headed off into town. We found the main part and made our way down the street. The main street was closed to cars because they were having a market, usually the HOHO Bus would've taken us around the city, but we got to explore on our own.

Our first mission was the find a Pharmacy, the week before when I was working at the CDC there was Pink Eye going around and guess who was the lucky adult who got pink eye? ME! I had finished off my antibiotics and thought I was clear to go but maybe my eye wasn't ready? Or maybe I was just over cautious because after I got the eye drops I was fine.
Look at all the pretty colors on the buildings!

We walked around the town for a little bit finding the cutest shops. On the main strip of town there was even a Hard Rock Cafe! You know Drew loves them, so of course we had to stop and let him get a quick picture.
HRC are Everywhere!!

There were a lot of jewelry stores on the main street. It was pretty in expensive. The famous gem in the Baltic's was Amber. Baltic amber is an organic substance, a “fossil resin” produced by pine trees which grew in Northern Europe. My favorite Gem stone is a Sapphire, I think it has mostly to do with the fact that I am born in September. But I absolutely loved the Amber stones. I ended up dragging Drew to one of the many jewelry stands "just to browse". I ended up finding Owl ear-rings with Green Amber stones that I loved for 12 euros! I just had to have them. Gotta love the conversion rate. Drew also found an Amber Charm that would fit on my Charm Bracelet and insisted on buying it, I didn't put up a fight.

The main town was packed, but we made our way through it. There was a lot of construction going on. Maybe this place would've been nicer at another season?

Some famous churches in the town.

We did find some cool little land marks, and a Pirate ship! It was across from the restaurant where we had dinner.  I had Perogies for the first time! Drew actually ate the Perogies, I had a traditional Polish dish of Fried Pork and Potatoes. It was a great meal, we were both stuffed!

We walked around town for a little bit. We found the famous landmarks in town, but didn't venture out too far. We though Gdansk was an hour a head of Germany and thought we were going to run out of time to see everything. But to be honest, I wasn't impressed with the city. Our time there was eh. Drew and I both said that if we never went back to Poland it would be fine with us, but of course we went back to Poland, it's only 3.5 hours to the boarder, besides Polish food is amazing!
To me Gdańsk, wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I'm glad we were able to go and see it, I can say don't make it a must on your list of places to go and see.