G'day from Gdansk!
A leisurely 5-hour train trip through rolling farmland and forests of stunning Fall color has delivered us to the Baltic coast and one of Poland's most important cities and ports, Gdansk. I've been anxious to check this town out from all I had heard and read so without a moment to spare, I heaved my suitcase into my every-window-has-a-view, Old Town apartment and darted out the door to see what I could catch before the early sunset. From the first cobblestone corner I turned, I knew Gdansk would be magical.
Perhaps it was the time of day. The warm glow of the flickering street lamps. The dreamlike haze just after the sun dips below the horizon. The chilled air that naturally thrusts your hands in your coat pockets to seek heat. Perhaps it was the town's charm. The melody that chimes from the Town Hall's bell tower every hour. The stately, perfectly-lit brick landmarks that complement the dark night sky. The blankets that beckon from every chair of the cozy, riverfront cafes. The golden hues of Baltic-mined amber jewelry that gleam from shop windows. Or perhaps, maybe, it was me. Strolling with anticipation. Peering with curiosity. Listening with delight. No matter what it was, I was loving it.
Old Town magic: Dluga Street and the Town Hall
And when morning came, I was still loving it. Feeling Gdansk's historic regalness and wealth, I meandered down every side street and alley in the greater Old Town area; not wanting to miss one thing. If I wouldn't annoy every reader by it, this post would be typed in all caps. Shouting vigorously of my initial inspiration from being here!
In fact, Gdansk has even more of one of the things that has consistently put a smile on my face and a song in my heart here in Poland: rows of colorful houses. Krakow. Warsaw. Wroclaw. Stacked neatly, one right after the other, buildings with brightly-colored facades, ornate adornments, and interesting designs have held my captive attention. The story goes that hundreds of years ago, houses were taxed by frontage. So, in response, people built thin, long houses to keep their property tax down. Courtyards were also built into the structure to let light in. And this style can be seen all around the country.
Two more day trips await me that promise more picturesque processions of houses. And tomorrow, I stalk Gdansk to photograph all the cheery facades I can find. It just may be this row-ving reporter's favorite assignment yet.
My Gdansk apartment with bedroom loft
Literally a spectacular view from every window! Town Hall and St. Mary's Church.
Colorful neighborhood houses from my living room
Strolling the cobblestone streets at dusk
One of the many amber jewelry merchants on Mariacka St.