Tag Archives: poland


I’ve been reading the magazine Wanderlust for a few years now. It’s a great magazine with interesting stories about places that are often well off the beaten path — my kind of travelling! A couple of months ago I took the unusual step of writing a letter. It came in two parts, a comment about my time in Cuba (in response to someone who said he couldn’t find any night-life) and a second, longer piece about my time in Gdansk, Poland (as a counter-point to their piece on long-weekends for less than ?100).

Of course they published the Cuba story but edited out the rest. I thought the Polish story was the best part so I reprint it here:

The second is a short story from a couple of years ago when I went to Gdansk. Kind of. The friend I was visiting was working in Warsaw and one of her colleagues told her that if we were visiting Gdansk we had to see Sopot which was just a little bit further up the coast. Sopot was their home town and, reportedly, well worth a visit.

Gdansk was lovely, we wandered around, my friend dragging me to many amber jewellery stores and, long story short, we were quite late leaving and heading up the coast. We were expecting a lot and were disappointed. I didn’t miss a word out there. It was the Polish version of Ayia Napa with late-teens running around in an advanced state of inebriation. We weren’t impressed and time was getting on so we didn’t have very much choice other than to stay the night. Unfortunately pretty much everywhere was fully booked.

In the end we got the last room in the worst hotel I’ve stay in for quite some time. It was some distance from town (we were also hungry by this time) and there was a big party going on in a field next door. An all nighter it turned out. Come 6am, tired and miserable, we decide to leave. If breakfast was anything like the shower, we wouldn’t have eaten anything anyway!

Still, it would take more than that to stop me travelling to new places…

Poland, 2004

I’ve never been the kind of person who just likes to sit on beaches, soaking up the rays. I always burn and I always think that I might be missing something, an amazing sight, some unusual food or a classic local beer.

Sometimes however, I think that I try to over-do things. My recent trip to Poland certainly had the potential. The plan was to fly to Warsaw, try to take in Gdansk, an obscure part of Russia called Kaliningrad that is surrounded by EU states and then nip into Lithuania for a swift look around Vilnius.

Not all went to plan, but we did put plenty of miles in! Most of the distance was covered on roads that had been completed (concentrating hard on the directions, we missed a diversion sign and ended up driving down a partially completed highway) and much was within the speed-limits. We got to the Kaliningrad border only to be told “No” by the border guard. Whether he meant we couldn’t go through or was just replying to the implicit question “Do you speak English?” we’re not sure. The hire car company thwarted our efforts to drive into Lithuania and the bus and train timetables conspired against us, so we never got to Vilnius either.

We did get to see Warsaw, Gdansk, Malbork, Suwalski, Bialystok and much more! I think you’ll agree that that is a lot of ground to cover in one long weekend!

One final note: some Polish words have characters I can’t find on this keyboard (or for use on the web). The main one is an “l” with a line through it, as in Bialystok. My apologies to Polish speakers; I did try to spell it all correctly!

Click the small pictures below for a full size version.

All pictures here have been taken on my EOS300D with the 18-55mm lens. Many of the outdoor pictures were taken using a polarising filter.

If the pictures have piqued your interest, there are a few resources that you might want to have a look out for: