After having spent seven weeks in Sweden, my foot causing me problems for more than five of those, I felt relieved to be back on the road. The train station in my home town never felt more appealing than it did last Tuesday afternoon. After a short train ride to Karlskrona, I got the ferry across to Poland to finally get a look at the tri-city area of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia, cities that earlier have been “too close to home”. Spending St Patrick’s Day here was an experience. So too was it to see the former Lenin shipyard, where the union Solidarity back in 1980 gave a major blow to the politics of the East block. In another touch with history, I also visited the Oliwa Cathedral, where the Swedes finally gave up claim to Polish territory back in 1660. Oh, the days when we were great are long gone.
The best of the Tri-City area was the atmosphere, the polish craft beer, prices and the easiness to get around between the cities. The part that wasn´t so good was that downtown Gdansk (Old Town) is getting too dependent on tourism. I saw a few streets with nothing but hotels in them, meaning that locals are not populating the inner city area as much as they should. And, even now in March, polish-speaking people seemed to be in minority in the Old Town. Along with that, every single man or groups of men can´t go the “main drag” in Gdansk without getting hustled by women inviting you to strip clubs. It´s not once, not twice. You´ll get approached at least five times in just a few minutes. I ended up walking other streets even if it took me longer.
On the note of nightlife, though, I have to recommend two bars in Gdansk. One is Piwnica – The Basement. The entrance is in a small house on a backyard, just by the Golden gate. The owner, Jack and his wife, are just the best. And yes, the beer is good as well. Hang around and be nice and you might get to taste his “liquid vitamin”. The other bar is called Labeerynt, just north of the Old Town. Above it is a place kalled Polski Kino which might be easier to find. Labeerynt is in the basement. It seems to be the place to go for Polish craft beer when in Gdansk. And getting craft beer for less than €3 can´t be wrong. It can go wrong, but that´s another story.
In other news, I´m on somewhat of a schedule. Me and a friend have, thru his contacts, been invited to Turkmenistan in the end of April. We´ll be focusing on tourism and the discussion with them will be about traveling and tourism in their country. No matter what comes out of it, it’ll be an interesting experience. So I have to be in Istanbul on the 19th at the latest, since my flight is leaving late at night that day.
I’ve applied for a few jobs that I can sacrifice the life on the road for, at least for the moment. If they’re interested in me and my skills and they won´t have a problem with me leaving in September and October, I’ll be going back. If not, I’ve to say there are worse Plan B:s than travelling with no one to be responsible for except myself. As of now, I´ll be heading to Ukraine and then south along the western coast of the Black Sea.