We hadn’t planned on spending the whole summer in Poland, but here we are. We waited too long to book our next Airbnbs and have had to scramble around a bit to find available places during the heart of tourist season. At least one thing that is a plus to staying in the same country, our phones work and we have cash in the right currency when we arrive at a new destination.
After a month on the outskirts of Krakow, we moved to another Airbnb for a week right next to Wawel Castle. We took some time off that week and explored the castle, went inside St. Mary’s Basilica, ate some delicious food, and found a fantastic pub, Cybermachima, right near our apartment. The pub had console and table top games you could play, as well as Foosball and some old arcade machines, all while having a inexpensive cocktail.
After our time in Krakow, we hoped a train up north to Gdansk in the Tri-City area. Finally we were traveling Europe by train and we were not disappointed. Our seats were like first class airplane seats. There was plenty of leg room, outlets, and the seats reclined so as not to invade on the seat behind’s space. An attendant constantly went up and down the isle giving out free coffee, tea and water. Plus there were no seat belt signs so we were free to walk around as long as we got out of the way of the drink attendant and his cart. (Every time he saw me he tried to give me a bottle of water too. I could have left the train with a free case of water, but we already had enough weight to carry around.)
We broke up the five hour ride with a trip to the bar car at the other end of the train. I still think one of the best parts of this trip was to be able to move around freely. The train was surprisingly smooth but there were handles all over the place in case you needed to steady yourself. People were sometimes gathered between the cars, there was man with his dog, another had a woman curled up by a door reading a magazine. One area was even a little blocked with an over-flowing luggage rack of whale sized suitcases. Good, we’re not the only ones. The bar car had a few stand up tables with padded walls to lean against. We hung out in there until a large family of all ages came in and all ordered soup. The train ride was smooth, but I wouldn’t have called it soup smooth. We finished our drinks between cars and the next thing you know we were in Gdansk.
The Tri-Cities consist of three neighboring cities in Pomerania: Gdańsk, Sopot, and Gdynia. These cities lie on the Gdansk Bay, part of the Baltic Sea, and while people flock to the beaches in summer, the bay does freeze in winter. The climate reminds me a lot of New England. We ventured up to Sopot one afternoon, stuck our feet in the water and met up with my friend Tom. Tom and I went to college together and were even roommates on a couple occasions. It had been quite a few years since we’ve seen each other and even then it was in avatar form, looting our way across Azeroth with our little guild. Sopot is a beautiful seaside resort town with a huge park that lines the beach. I can see why he has made this area his home.
The Tri-City area has an interesting history too. To very briefly sum it up, after WWI this area, with it’s large German population, was determined to be neither part of Germany or part of Poland. Poland was given rights to maintain the cities facilities and in return they had access to a major seaport. The Free City of Gdansk only existed from 1920 to 1939. Tensions between the two countries increased and eventually let up to the start of WWII with the Battle of Westerplatt, at the entrance to the Gdansk Harbor. There is a large and well done WWII museum here. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in this area.
Fun Fact: The state we are in is Pomerania, and yes, this is where Pomeranian dogs came from! Oddly, I have only seen one or two.
Our Airbnb here in Gdansk is in a great location and if I had a Polish Grandmother, this would be where she lived. There is some clutter and some strange things in the apartment, but it’s clean, comfortable and well stocked with necessities. The outside of the building could use some care and maintenance though. Our Uber driver even said, “I hope it’s better on the inside”. It is for us anyways. Probably not so much for what ever animal is stuck in the wall. At first we thought we were hearing chirps from a bird nest on the roof, coming down a vent by the hot water heater. The sound moves around though. We refer to it as the Wall Puppy, but it’s probably a rat.
I was about to inform our host about the Wall Puppy but we had another situation arise. We woke up one morning to water dripping from the recessed lighting in the kitchen. Luckily, it was over the stove and counter and not over our computers on the dining table. Our host came by immediately. She got the upstairs neighbor and they argued a bit about where the water was coming from. I didn’t need to speak Polish to figure that out with all the pointing and head shaking. It turned out that the upstairs neighbor had his hot water heater replaced the day before and the shower pipes were not reconnected correctly. He turned his water off until it could be properly fixed and our host cleaned up the kitchen. She also left me with more towels, soap, garbage bags, etc.
We understand things like this happen so it’s no big deal and it’s not our responsibility. It’s funny though because Howard & I had just been talking about owning a home again someday. Traveling has been great so far, but we are both getting tired. We should be staying longer at each place but it’s hard to commit to more than a month rental when we aren’t really sure how good the internet will be and if we’ll really have a comfortable place to sit and work. We’ve given up a lot of things to be living on the move. Could we really give up this lifestyle up to stay put again?
Like most things it all comes down to money. Pay a mortgage and utilities or pay for lodging and travel. If only we could afford to do both. Then again, do we really want to settle back in the US? It’s much easier to ignore the politics at home while over here. Sure, there are messed up politics in other countries too, but we mostly don’t understand the language and it’s not our country. Maybe we’ll find some other place in the world we absolutely love and want to stay there forever. I doubt it though, and it’s going to take a lot more traveling to see if this place even exists.