Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday Morning in Gdansk

I wandered out of the hotel about 10 AM on Monday morning in search of breakfast. I made my hotel reservation without breakfast. I had been working on the computer in my room and enjoying coffee in the room. Someone from a street side restaurant approached about breakfast, and I told him, "Just a minute."

The tower on the city hall looked very dramatic against the storm clouds.

I then got breakfast.

This and a large coffee cost 33 PLN, far less than the 20 Euros for the hotel. Of this amount, 4 PLN are for tax. But the good thing about prices in Europe is what you see is what you pay. The tax is already figured into every price, not added on.

When breakfast was over the tower looked like this.

I decided this was a good day to start visiting museums, a plan I had because museums are free on Monday. Well, many other people had the same idea. Every museum had long, long lines before the museums opened. So I decided to take the long walk to the Roads of Freedom Exhibition.

This took me to the part of Gdansk called Old Town. If I understand the history right, the famous part of Gdansk was controlled by the Germans most of the time, and the Polish people were in the area called Old Town, less prosperous.

Glad I did this walk because it got me more to where real people are rather than tourists.

 First I found information about what is the most great thing happening in Gdansk in the next few weeks, the futbol match between Gdansk and Barcelona!

I walked past the beautiful PKP station.

Soon I was seeing signs of the exhibition.

This was on the side of building.

This is painted on the sidewalk in three languages: Polish, German, and English.

The above is a piece of the Berlin Wall. The signage says, "Here (meaning the shipyard in this city) began the fight for freedom for Poland and for the reunification of Germany." The piece of the Berlin Wall is in remembrance of Germany. Considering the historical relationships between Germany and Poland, I thought this a very generous statement and monument.

Next I found a tank.

Near this was a sign pointing to the Exhibit. Much to my surprise this is not a museum building, but rather an exhibit underground. And equally to my surprise, a sign that said the exhibit was not open on Monday. Should have checked my guide book!

I started back towards the Main Town. Everything looked different for I was on new streets. What's this? Oh, the Madison shopping gallery. I knew about it because of a brochure in my hotel room.

Went in, and the first thing I saw was an amazing water sculpture.

 Then the cukiernia.

Coke Zero and a raspberry tart! Yum!

After enjoying this, I wandered about looking for novel things. First:

Probably not a sign we would see on a shop in Minnesota! The column in front of the store has LED lights in it and constantly changes color. Love the new designs I see in Europe. 

A squeal of delight from a little girl brought my attention to the rabbit in the window of  a pets' store. 

And here's a photo of an American restaurant, complete with a flag and Elvis. Later in the day I found the same restaurant along the river, but without these decorations. 

As I left the shopping gallery, I saw a tower.  When I got there I discovered this was St. Catherine's Church. 

There is a saying in English that goes like this: Without bad luck, he/they would have had no luck at all. That certainly in the story of this church. The Lonely Planet guide book says this is the major church in Old Town. It was begun in the 1220s. Over time a beautiful carillon was added. In the 1660s there was a fire caused by lightening and the carillon was lost. This was replaced in other century, and then all was lost during World War II. All the work done to restore the church after the War was lost in 2006 when the church caught on fire. 

There are no beautiful windows, no chapels, no organ, no choir area. The guidebook says it looks ragged. The altar is a stone with a white cloth across it. 

What is there is the pulpit somehow. 

And the door that opens to the pulpit.

By the time I got back to ul. Dlugi, I decided just a bite of obiad would be fine and found pierogi.

Came back to my room to rest and read.

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