Friday, November 29, 2019


June 21, 2019

There is a lot to see in Gdansk, and a good way to see it is by hiring a private tour guide. Our guide, Klaudia, was excellent. 

The first place she took us was to Solidarity Square, the site where 45 striking shipyard workers who were protesting the communist regime were killed in 1970. At the center of the square is the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970, also known as the Three Crosses Monument, which was erected 1980 next to entrance of what was then called the Lenin Shipyard. It was the first monument in the world erected in a Communist country to recognize victims of Communist oppression.

Three 138-foot steel crosses, each weighing 36 tons, stand on the spot where the first three victims of the riots were killed. The crosses represent the suffering and sacrifice of those first three victims, subsequent victims, and all of the protestors. The crosses are topped by anchors, symbols of the shipping industry. Bas reliefs of the dock workers adorn the bottom of the shafts.

Stockznia Gdankska = Gdansk shipyard:

Friday, November 15, 2019


June 21, 2019

Our second day in Poland was spent touring the resort cities of Sopot and Gdynia, both located north of Gdansk on the Baltic shoreline. I would compare them to California's Malibu and Laguna Beach--beautiful, indulgent places where the wealthy vacation.  

Sopot is marked on the map below with a red pin, about mid-way between Gdynia and Gdansk:

Our guide called Sopot, which is less than 10 miles from Gdansk, "the Polish Riviera." I can see why the Polish elite would want to spend their summers here:

One of the most famous hotels in Poland, and indeed in Europe, is Sopot's Grand Hotel. Built in the 1920s, it was THE place to stay for the rich, famous, and important. Its most infamous guests include Adolf Hitler and Herman Göring. (I wouldn't want to stay in the rooms they slept in, would you?) Over the years, other guests have included King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Fidel Castro, Charles De Gaulle (although he complained that the beds were too short for his 6' 5" frame), Greta Garbo, Vladimir Putin, Reza Shah Pahlavi (the Shah of Iran), and Omar Sharif.

Thursday, November 7, 2019


June 20, 2019

We had gotten up early after just a few hours of sleep and had walked all over the largest castle in the world in Malbork, and we were ready for a nap.  It was good to get back to our hotel, the Ibis Stare Miasto (Ibis Old Town), a hotel from a familiar (to us) French chain of budget hotels.

Our room wasn't especially fancy, but it was clean, exceptionally well-located (as we would later discover), and had everything we needed.

The view from our bedroom window didn't indicate anything especially spectacular in the neighborhood: