GDANSK, GDYNIA, HEL AND THE BALTIC COAST
This time it was Gdansk, Gdynia, Hel and the Baltic coastal region in the extreme north. I've posted a map so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. This trip began at 23:30 on Friday evening, when I boarded a sleeper train for the 8 hour journey to Gdansk central station. The journey only seemed to take an hour, because I slept all the way in the comfort of my individual bed. It's quite cool boarding a train in the Czestochowa and waking up 550km later in Gdansk.
Gdansk is the larger of 3 cities situated very close together. This area (as I'm sure you've probably guessed) is known as the 'Tri-city area'. The cities are, Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot. We decided to visit Gdansk and Gdynia, but not the smaller Sopot as there is only a beach there, and that would have been covered in inches of snow.
I arrived in Gdansk for 07:30 and got a cup of coffee, then I decided to find the youth hostel. Without much trouble I found it and booked in for the originally planned 2 night stay. I left my bag there and decided to explore the town.
Gdansk is a very old town with lots of history. Its where WW2 started when Hitler decided to shell Gdansk's coast from the Baltic Sea, and then claimed it as part of Germany. It was also the largest port on the Baltic for many years. Much of the city was destroyed during the war, and was never rebuilt exactly how it was. In fact you can still see some buildings that have been left untouched after the war ended. It's a breathtaking sight.
I spent most of the morning roaming the city, and then got on the metro system to Gdynia, which is situated just north of Gdansk. The cities weren't as big as I thought, and many of the attractions were closed due to the time of year, so I decided to change my plans and explore both cities in one day and then catch the train to Hel and finally come home the following day.
Gdynia is the place to go in the Tri-city region for shopping, and not much else, we toured the shops and made our way down to the port, where I was very surprised to find a very western style shopping outlet centre. I visited the port and took some pictures. The 'Lonely planet guide' states that there's not much point in spending more than half a day in Gdynia, and I'll vouch for that.
I returned to Gdansk later in the day, checked in at the youth hostel and then went out for a few beers. The night life in Gdansk is quite like in England. We crawled a few pubs and then spent the night in the youth hostel.
I woke early, maybe 08:00. I had to be early to catch the train to Hel. I got on the train and made the 2 hour journey down the 300m wide peninsula, with Hel at its end. To Hel and back I thought. Despite the name, Hel is a really pretty, picturesque little fishing village, with its own harbour etc. I really like this town, and would love to go back in the summer. I didn't have much time to see Hel because I wanted to get back in time for the train to Czestochowa. The place was bigger than I thought though.
On the way back I saw people walking out into the frozen sea on the ice some were out as far as 300m. Despite the temperatures being down to about -5C, the sun was out and it was a really nice day, sun glasses weather. I arrived back in Gdynia, had some food and then caught the train home.