Sunday, February 8, 2015

23 January 2015 - The soul of Gdansk

The last full day in Gdansk and not really sure what to do. In order to slowly enjoy Gdansk and the sea side during winter, two days are actually enough. After the luxury of having a 10 person bedroom for myself the previous day, I discovered a German roommate on the opposite side of the room this very morning. Funny, how West (and North) Europeans can communicate so easily. Our cultures and languages provide just that bit of exciting diversity, but there is a comfortable layer of similarity as well. We decided to go out for dinner later, as he would first have a look at the sea side. I headed towards the suburbs of Gdansk as seen during my train ride towards Sopot. I wanted to explore an area with some odd looking but rather impressive harbor cranes from nearby. Accompanied by a cold breeze and some music that brought me back to my days in the Baltics I ended up right in the middle of the industrial harbor roughness sought-after. I'm fond of those kind of contrasts, with Gdansk's inner city being so charming, while a kilometer away you find outstanding venues to record some hard action movies. 


On my way to a viewing platform located on a hill opposite of the train station I came across a large group of sadly clothed, grievous looking people carrying an impressive amount of flowers. They were heading towards a cemetery. With the rather touching notes of Polish conductor Abel Korzeniowski's music caressing my ears it felt like passing through a sad scene of a movie. The higher I climbed the hill, the more calmness took over the general ambiance. An elderly couple carefully conquered the slippery steps towards the best view. At that moment, when they vividly pointed at several remarkable buildings within Gdansk's refurbished Old Town, I thought about what these people have been through. They still know Gdansk's face from before the war, how it got destroyed, and how the plastic surgeons of the building industry managed to bring back a confident smile on this Northern Polish pearl again. That also Gdansk's soul is not forgotten within this process was shown when I walked by another sort of graveyard. Its simplicity and serenity caught my attention and made me discover I just found the Cemetery of Lost Cemeteries. This peaceful place was created to commemorate all the people that lived and died in Gdansk, but whose places of burial don't exist anymore. All faiths are represented within this cemetery, with the main idea to commemorate forefathers and their bond with Gdansk, regardless of their social status or nationality.


Time for some food, accompanied by my German roommate. I ended up with a Polish beer named Zywiec and a plate of pierogi ruski. According to the English menu this would consist of potatoe and bacon, whereas the German menu only mentioned curd cheese. It turned out to be a combination of both, plus a slightly annoyed remark from the waiter, blaming the unknown translator for my confusion. Another good day in Gdansk though!

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