Sopot Part Two

Since the last update we’ve spent a couple of days in Gdańsk, celebrated Carol’s birthday in Gdynia and had a day at the site in Sopot to get all the laundry done.

A long way from home…
The Sopot/Gdańsk city line

Our first visit to Gdańsk was to spend the day in the old town. It’s a 20 minute train journey costing 8zł/€2 return, which is so cheap compared to the UK. Like so much of Poland, Gdańsk was obliterated in WWII, so the old town is in reality only a few decades old, but it’s been very well done. We spent the day wandering around admiring the restoration and enjoying the sunshine. Food-wise we had lunch at a French café and dinner at a traditional style Eastern European restaurant. After a cup of Russian tea (black tea served with homemade cherry jam) we had the Georgian chicken complemented by a rather good Moldovan cabernet sauvignon.

Gdańsk!
Gdańsk marina
The rebuilt crane at the marina – the last building on the right
Old town
More old town
Town hall – an anti-fascist demonstration was about to start
Memorial to the original Mr Fahrenheit (not Freddie Mercury!) who was from Gdańsk
Street art style advert
Tree sculpture
Russian tea

Our second trip to Gdańsk was to visit the Solidarity Museum at what was the Lenin Shipyard. The museum tells the story of how the Solidarity movement began, when a strike was declared in 1980 after a crane driver was sacked, losing her pension just before she was due to retire, and the rise of Lech Wałęsa from unemployed electrician to Solidarity leader. The displays contained lots of really interesting artefacts, and were accompanied by screens showing original TV footage (with English subtitles!). The GPS-based audio guide was also very well done.

We spent around three hours walking around the museum, but could have easily spent the whole day there. We’re finding all this recent Eastern European history really interesting. Looking back I can vaguely remember the news headlines, but in my mid-teens I really didn’t appreciate the significance of what was happening in Poland.

Lech Wałęsa climbed this dockyard wall on the first day of the strike in August 1980
Entrance to the dockyard/museum
The strikers drew up 21 demands which were written on these boards…
… and hung from Gate 2 at the Lenin Shipyard
Crane cab driven by Anna Walentynowicz, whose sacking precipitated the strike
Original hard hats on the ceiling
World reaction to events in Poland
Lech Wałęsa’s Solidarność membership card – number 000001 of course!
Video displays showing original TV recordings of General Jaruzelski announcing martial law in 1981
A large mosaic of the Solidarność logo

Today is Carol’s birthday, and we took the train a few miles up the coast to Gdynia. It’s a nice enough town, but there’s not huge amount to do there. We took the funicular to the top of the hill for some good views over the town and marina. Before returning to Sopot we stopped at a café and had some delicious home made ‘birthday’ cake, and tonight we’ll be returning to a lovely fish restaurant near the campsite for a nice birthday dinner.

View over the marina…
… and the town
The marina was busy
This guy has been popping up everywhere… the Solidarity movement would have probably failed without his interventions
What it says on the tin…
More street sculptures

Finally, a quick heads up for fellow motorhomers who may be reading this. Travelling through Poland at this time of year, there have been very few sites open for business and so we haven’t been able to pick and choose camperstops. Given the choice we would have stayed at a campsite in Gdańsk, but that doesn’t open until tomorrow and so we opted for the Sopot 34 campsite instead which, being walking distance to the train station, enabled us to visit Gdańsk (and Gdynia). Unfortunately Sopot 34 also has a number of cabins which are popular with 20-something groups of (mainly) lads who played loud music during the day and late into evening, and generally made a racket – and not just at the weekend. The site also seems to be a popular with the locals as a shortcut between the town and the beach. This didn’t affect us too much as we were out and about for much of the time, and can sleep through most things these days, but if it’s peace and quiet you’re after then I’d consider staying somewhere else.

Mike

7 thoughts on “Sopot Part Two”

  1. Hope you enjoyed your Birthday – you certainly fitted lots in :-). The museum looks really interesting and I love the hard hat ceiling. I too remember it being on the news & newspaper headlines but it seemed a long way from home in those days. As we can visit these countries so much easier now it has become more real (or that might be due to getting older too !). Enjoy your meal tonight – beats the Wickford Turkish I’m sure 🙂 xx
    PS – Love that Southend sign too xx

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