Saturday, January 16, 2010

random thoughts on gdansk, poland


It's been a while now, since I experienced and wrote a bit about the understated gemness and loveliness of above city. High time for some random thoughts of my impressions of Gdansk (and my first visit to Poland, a country I was in many ways pleasantly surprised by and would love to explore more of). Random photos to come in a later post (or two) of their own.

:: The architecture in Gdansk was in many parts almost surreal in its picturesqueness and awesomeness. An absolutely stunning city centre, both by day and night no matter the weather. Love at first glimpse.

Even if parts of the gorgeous city and its beautiful old buildings sadly lacked (or rather the politicians and builders), like so many fine cities all over the globe, a sense of history and had been very irreverentially renovated or rebuilt.

:: The vegetarian food options and places to eat were a plenty. I was so pleased! When we first got there it was time time for a very late lunch/dinner and we were starving. The city's main street is lined with cafés and restaurants and there we found one of the vegetarian places. M not being a vegetarian can be rather grumpy if it's an all-vegetarian restaurant (alas, such is the eating of dead animals withdrawal symptoms) as well as petulant when it comes to certain flavours. At this hole-in-the-wall organic-vegetarian restaurant he did however, but for a part of a salad, fully enjoyed his vegetarian lasagna.


The waiter didn't speak English and for some odd reason couldn't understand when we pointed at the menu so I got the wrong dish. Which was a lucky thing, because it was by far the best meal I had in Gdansk and one of the best vegetarian meals ever. Dumplings in rosemary sauce accompanied by different salads with different textures and flavours that complimented eachother oh so well.

:: As was soon obvious was that the above waiter wasn't uncommon when it came to the lack of English speaking in Gdansk. I was surprised that so few along the common and well visited parts, including the large hotel we stayed at, there hardly spoke or understood English. It was manageable, but somewhat... unusual these days I think.

:: There were lots and lots of school outings when we where in Gdansk and as the pram mob, roaming and loud children, careless, highly-strung parents and a lack of discipline in Sweden is quite infamous and tiresome it was such a nice, nice thing to see the overall relaxed, well mannered, interested children of all ages who talked in a normal pitch and just behaved. And teachers who had no problem with coping with their classes. Compared to the Swedish parents-teachers equivalents.

There was also a liberatingly lack of the infamous pram mob that prowl the streets of Sweden. Huzzah.

Poland seems to be doing something right when Sweden does something terribly wrong these days when it comes to taking care of children.

:: I really loved the extended café culture in Gdansk, and I presume Poland in general. I may not enjoy the type of cakes on offer in a typical café (tad too sweet, rich and often dry) and I found the tea to be rather bland and lacking in both strength and flavour, but there were exceptions, oh yes there were... And it was so very cheap compared to what the same thing would have cost in Stockholm/Sweden. So many cafés, so little time... And really, how lovely isn't it to be able to chose the size of cake yourself and pay by weight?


:: The 'fashion' in Gdansk really wasn't my cup of tea. At all. Like in Athens. Very not me. So as for shopping such things my wallet was full and happy when we got back home. And instead of taking time to look through shops that left a lot of time to just walk, walk and then walk some more and enjoy the prettiness of the city. I got my wonderful sunny amber ring and my snake bowl and with them I am so very pleased.


And a very pretty big tin with Gdansk buildings, originally filled with not so tasty cookies, now serving as a lovely cat-safe candle light in the winter night.

:: Compared to Stockholm where many people, honestly, can be very self concious and anxiously thinking of the importance of being hip it was a very relaxed, no fuss ambiance in Gdansk.

:: We also took a train ride to the nearby seaside resort of Sopot. While it felt rather touristy and somewhat kitschy in general even off-season, the long, long pier was grand and so were some glimpses here and there. And I had one of the most wonderful café experiences, if not THE best ever, in Sopot. My cosy-café-radar never fails. But that will be left for a post of its very own. Of course.

That little getaway was one of the best little trips I've ever had. A gem. I found unpretentious, sweet loveliness during a few relaxed days in Gdansk.



Poppy Q said...

I am sure you enjoyed your holiday in your cute shoes, sounds great.

P.K said...

Gdansk sounds very interesting, your description was informative. One never thinks of Gdansk as a go to destination. Poland is a country that interests me, especially the city of Krakow. It sounds like a perfect place to explore cafés.

beth said...

Beautiful pictures!!! and the food looks really good too!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

interesting account of Gdansk, Pia. Lots of vegetarian places there? Who knew?

Pia K said...

thanks, julie, sure did!

i know, i was really surprised how much i loved it, p.k, i SO want to go back!!

thank you, beth, it was really wonderful all:)

yes i was so so pleasantly surprised on how easy it was to find veggie stuff, afos, yum.

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