Last month I took my first trip alone, on a plane, to Poland! Honestly, I was really nervous about the trip, having never traveled alone before. But especially because I don’t know much of the language (other than hello and goodbye), although Artur assured me most people would understand what I said if I spoke to them in English and, most did, though it took a few attempts.
We had 24 hours in Gdansk and the nearby sea town of Sopot, before heading to Artur’s hometown of Zielona Gora the next day (more on that later). To make sure we had as much time as possible, I opted for an early morning flight and arrived at Gdansk airport around 9 am. Which is where I faced my first problem, which toilet was the ladies!
If you’ve never been to Poland, the ladies’ toilet has a circle on it and the men’s has a triangle on it. Luckily I’d done my research beforehand and knew which was which but it didn’t help that Gdansk airport had neither of these symbols on their doors. Instead, they had the words ladies and gentlemen (in Polish). Luckily Google Translator was on hand to help me out. 🙂 Which is one of my favourite travel apps.
24 hours in Gdansk and Spot, Poland
Once Artur had picked me up from the airport we headed off to Gdansk city centre for some sightseeing. Our first stop was the newer part of the city and I must say that the architecture in Gdansk is beautiful. From the gothic style St. Mary’s church to the main town hall (pictured below). I wish we’d had longer to explore this vast city – the amber and World War II museums both piqued my interest and I hope to see both of them next time.
The Seaside town of Sopot
After a busy morning sightseeing, we headed off to the nearby seaside town of Sopot. Which is home to the longest wooden pier in Poland. There is a small entrance fee to gain access to the pier but the views alone are worth it. Especially if the weather’s nice, which thankfully for us, it was.
As you may know I collect pressed pennies and although there wasn’t a penny mangle in Sopot. I did stumble upon a token machine instead. So I treated myself, to a souvenir penny! Which was more of a brass metal.
Sopot is home to many bars and restaurants, so we were spoilt for choice when it came to lunch and dinner options. We chose a little cafe on the main high street, where we enjoyed black tea with lemon (which I’m told is the traditional way to drink tea in Poland) and some delicious pierogi. One of my favourite Polish dishes!
After lunch, we explored the town centre and stumbled upon Sopot’s famous Krzywy Domek (The Crooked House). It’s a popular spot for both tourists and photographers, and I think you can see why. To me it looks like someone warped the building in PhotoShop! But inside the fairytale-inspired building is an array of restaurants, shops, and even a radio station.
After exploring the town centre we headed to the beach for a stroll and to dip our toes in the sea. It was a beautiful sunny day and I wish we had more time to explore. 24 hours in Gdansk, or Sopot, simply isn’t enough. But we had a long drive to our next stop – Artur’s home town of Zielona Gora.
Road trip to Zielona Gora, Poland
Zielona Gora is a city in Western Poland and a little over 5 hours drive from Sopot. So we had a long road ahead of us, and when I say us, I mean Artur as he wouldn’t let me drive! He didn’ think I’d be comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road. And, to be honest, he was probably right.
Once we arrived at his mum’s house, his sister kindly greeted us, and we settled in for the night. We had a busy weekend ahead of us! Artur’s nephew’s birthday party and his God Son’s communion. The birthday party was at his eldest sister’s in-law’s farm and the communion was at a local church, followed by a celebratory meal. Both were very enjoyable and I got my first taste of Polish food, that wasn’t pierogi.
A lot of our trip to Zielona Gora was for me to see where Artur grew up, to meet his family and experience Polish culture. We went to a speedway race (it rained!!), had lunch in a glass building full of palm trees – it was delicious! – enjoyed the Polish nightlife (read: went clubbing), and explored lakes Artur went to as a child. We also visited the local swimming pool which was packed with slides and flumes. Nothing like the ones near me back home!
One of the things Zielona Gora is most famous for is its wineries. So we’re hoping to go back again in September for the Zielona Gora Winobranie (wine festival). Which I’m told is the best time of year to visit this Polish city.
Have you ever explored these cities? Or the seaside town of Sopot? Let me know in the comments.