Sunday, February 1, 2015

22 January 2015 - Sopot: weather observations, Baltic gold and naked men

The blue sky was a pleasant surprise after a rather snowy night. With the morning sun and hardly any wind, the rivers reflected the vibrant colorfulness of Gdansk's typical happily decorated houses within the water like a mirror. The intensity of the city truly came alive on this very morning. Gdansk seemed to take a deep and relaxed breath, showing its beauty and stubbornness after the massive losses during the Second World War and the grey decades that followed. I strolled around, passing by just a handful of commuters and a few lost looking tourists with big camera's, about to capture some mysterious images. The colors once so intense seemed to change within a minute, and before I knew I couldn't look further than the end of the street. Such a small world all of a sudden, but yet so safe and warm, like being captured in a protective bubble.




Before lunch I hopped on the train to Sopot, a small town located at the Baltic Sea side. It must be packed here in summer, as it's such a peaceful place breathing the holiday feeling. When passing by the modest shopping street I came across a fascinating coffee house that looked like being warped in Photoshop; fantastic! A little further I entered the largest wooden pier of Europe. As it was covered with ice I had to walk like a penguin in order not to fall, but it was worth it. It almost felt like the first day of spring, with the sound of horny ducks in the background, a pleasant amount of sunshine and hardly any wind. Truly all visitors at the sea side seemed to dig into the just drifted ashore pieces of wood that the sea apparently had enough of. When taking a closer look, all these people had at least one of their fists tightly around something small and precious. When kneeling down I finally got that they were hunting for small pieces of amber, and that with a little effort even I managed to collect a small amount of this rather kitschy looking Baltic gold. 

Sopot Gdansk Poland Zoppot

Sopot Gdansk Poland Zoppot

Sopot Gdansk Poland Zoppot

When the sun set I continued my day in Sopot by visiting its Aquapark. I swapped my winter attire for a thin layer of tropicalness. Just when I thought Poland is an amazingly open an non-prude country I realized I ended up right in the middle of the men's shower room. My goodness, how could that have happened? I must have been dreaming, even though, hindsight, the 'exit to pool' signs were rather confusing. With a red face an some luckily rather attractive naked Polish men on my retina, I headed to the swimming pool, through the female shower area this time. While sitting in one of the jacuzzi's I saw the sky turn from purple into black as the night. In an overcrowded train I headed to my hostel again. These 'like a local' moments, as small as they might be, touch the essence of travel joy, with the attractive unknown becoming oddly familiar for a split second. 

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