Once upon a time, me and my friend Clare left on a jet plane, knowing exactly when we would be back again; but NOT knowing how much we would be opposed to coming back after falling deeply in love.
A few weeks previous to our departure, Clare Whatsapp'd me to ask if I fancied going away for a few nights, and we booked it that night. Neither of us had ever heard of Gdansk, but chose it as it was one of the cheaper flights with the ever formidable Ryanair. The flights were around £35 return, and the hostel around £60 between 2 of us, for 4 nights. Brilliantly cheap.
Without sounding too dramatic, Gdansk is the first place I have been to, outside of England, that instantly felt like home. As soon as I stepped on the tarmac I told Clare I already loved it. However, I was a little put off by the crazy scary looking airport people. I think it is the uniform.
We were told that our hostel was near the train station and so we braved the local bus from the airport to central Gdansk, trying to match up the sequence of letters meaning "train station" that we read on the map to any signs we could see through the window. This was a challenge in itself, but we made it.
The thing is, everyone in Poland is so helpful. So willing to go out of their way that it almost comes across as a bit weird, because us English folks just aren't like that. We are a smiley bunch for sure, but the Polish go a step further, and it really does make all the difference.
Gdansk is the most beautiful little city. Very charming, packed full of history, delicious bakeries and industrialism. I had never been somewhere like it before, this was my first time visiting eastern Europe, and it was nothing like I expected. 10X better. Gdansk is also the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which sparked the fall of communism across central Europe.
As our stay was so short we tried to cram in as much activity as possible. We went on nights out, drank a lot of vodka, ate out for every meal, got the train to Sopot and explored there, visited museums, wandered around the old town, drank lots of Polish tea, and generally had the most amazing time.
My favourite restaurant was Kubicki. The food was delicious and the service was fantastic. The Roads to Freedom Exibition was also one of my favourite things about this trip. it was hugely informative, fairly interactive, and the perfect size. We then took a trip down to the ship yard, which was also amazing after learning all about it at the exhibition.
I think accommodation is important wherever you go, regardless of how much time you spend there, it is nice to feel at home, and able to ask for help. We stayed at a hostel called Happy Seven in a private room. All the rooms are themed; we were assigned to the sports room (ironically), and it was VERY cool. Happy Seven, I can honestly say, is the best hostel I have ever stayed at, and the most reasonable. You get complementary breakfast with your stay, and the staff are super friendly and always go that extra mile. The staff often come back to the hostel, even on their days off, because they just love being there so much. I had the most fantastic stay there. You can find them on Facebook.
Delicious chocolate cake from a cute little coffee shop
Found a deserted cathedral
Even the trains are beautiful
Rubbish picture, couldn't wait to get stuck in! Salmon at Kubicki.
My guestbook entry in a coffee shop
With some guys we met at the hostel
Gdansk, I LOVE YOU. And I will definitely be back.